amal·​gam | \ə-ˈmal-gəm \

Definition of amalgam 

1 : a mixture of different elements an amalgam of musical forms The crowd was an amalgam of young and old.

2 : an alloy of mercury with another metal that is solid or liquid at room temperature according to the proportion of mercury present and is used especially in making tooth cements Dentists have used silver-colored mercury amalgam (mercury mixed, about 50/50, with a combination of silver, tin, copper and other metals) to fill cavities for at least 150 years.— Jennifer Huget

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Examples of amalgam in a Sentence

a church that is an amalgam of traditional and modern architectural styles

Recent Examples on the Web

And Homer's pink sedan is clearly drawn to be an amalgam of the boring family cars that occupied American driveways throughout the 80s and 90s—a design that hints at the familiar without identifying itself as any one specific vehicle. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "We Finally Know What Car Homer Simpson Drives," 12 Jan. 2017 Cancer, being a unique amalgam of self and non-self, exploits this checkpoint system, pretending to be part of the body to escape the notice of the immune system. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Cancer Breakthrough That Just Won the Nobel Prize, Explained," 1 Oct. 2018 Outside there’s a sidewalk patio – an amalgam of concrete and grass – with circular fire features that are sure to be a hit with the al fresco crowd. James Patrick Kelly, idahostatesman, "Downtown Boise’s Txikiteo bolsters the list of locally owned Basque eateries," 30 May 2018 The Department of Homeland Security, which has a budget of more than $40 billion and a staff of more than 240,000, is a sprawling amalgam created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that cobbled together 22 government agencies. Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times, "Kirstjen Nielsen Was a Target of Trump’s Immigration Ire. Now She’s His Protector.," 19 June 2018 The 66 districts with these nominees are a true amalgam of American places: urban and rural, high and low income, ethnically and racially diverse and much less so. NBC News, "In 2018, Women candidates are on track to make history," 27 May 2018 The monumental 84-by-132-inch painting draws on an amalgam of sources - Mexican, European, African, Egyptian, Greek - and has the woozy surreal quality of an opium dream. Victoria Dalkey, sacbee, "Crocker showcases diversity of Eduardo Carrillo's work, from realism to myth and fantasy," 6 July 2018 Nearly two centuries ago, Chinese workers stir-fried an amalgam of home and sold it in America. Jessica Meyers,, "P.F. Chang's comes to Shanghai, but can you really sell American Chinese food to the country that invented the wok?," 25 May 2018 General Motors itself rose from that morass, an amalgam of several companies. Rick Tetzeli, Fortune, "GM Gets Ready for a Post-Car Future," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amalgam.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of amalgam

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for amalgam

Middle English amalgame, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin amalgama

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Statistics for amalgam

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for amalgam

The first known use of amalgam was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of amalgam

: a combination or mixture of different things

: a mixture of mercury and other metals used for filling holes in teeth


amal·​gam | \ə-ˈmal-gəm \

Medical Definition of amalgam 

: an alloy of mercury with another metal that is solid or liquid at room temperature according to the proportion of mercury present and is used especially in making tooth cements

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