: a mixture often of incongruous elements
a mélange of architectural styles

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Mélange got mixed into the melting pot of English back in the 1600s. It derives from the Middle French verb mesler, which means "to mix." "Mélange" is actually one of several French contributions to the English body of words for miscellaneous mixtures. "Pastiche" (meaning "a composition made up of selections of different works," or broadly, "a disorderly mixture, hodgepodge") is borrowed from French, and "medley" and "potpourri" have roots in French, too. There's also the lesser known "gallimaufry" (meaning "hodgepodge"), which comes from the Middle French galimafree (meaning "stew").

Examples of mélange in a Sentence

a mélange of colors and shapes a mélange of architectural styles
Recent Examples on the Web The palate is indicative of a bourbon this old, unveiling deep notes of red berry, caramel, vanilla pudding, and banana bread, all buttressed by black pepper and a melange of baking spices. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 12 Nov. 2023 This electronic melange was set against the extremely picturesque San Diego waterfront, with the festival again drawing thousands of fans to its longtime base at the city’s Bayfront Park. Katie Bain, Billboard, 19 Oct. 2023 This demographic melange is one reason Jewish Angelenos in particular were shaken by the attacks. Sonja Sharp, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2023 Cobalt has become the center of a major upsurge in mining in Congo, and the rapid acceleration of cobalt extraction in the region since 2013 has brought hundreds of thousands of people into intimate contact with a powerful melange of toxic metals. Roger Peet, The New Republic, 30 Aug. 2023 The typically plant-leaning chefs of EMP make an exception to dig into the melange of meat dishes to honor the hospitality of being served a ceremonial meal; however, they are soon stupefied by the meat sweats. Julian Manning, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 Sep. 2023 In one image from a year into the experiment, a green twist tie peeks from behind an eco-thrift tag for a $0.25 miscellaneous item; from another view of the melange, a pop of primary color from a balloon fragment or wrapper. WIRED, 5 Aug. 2023 This rustic savory pie has a light, flaky crust filled with sweet summer squash and a rich melange of salty olives, Gruyère cheese, and sautéed onions. Lyda Jones Burnette, Country Living, 14 July 2023 In the heart of it all, tucked away on a tiny road, is Hôtel Villa d'Estrées, a distinct property with a melange of rooms, suites, and apartments. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 6 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mélange.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French, "act of mixing, mixture," going back to Middle French meslinges, meslanges (plural), from mesler, meler "to mix" + -ange, deverbal action noun suffix (as in Old French loange "praise," vuidange "emptying, outlet"), borrowed from Old Low Franconian *-inga-, *-unga-, going back to Germanic *-ingō, *-ungō — more at meddle, -ing entry 1

First Known Use

1653, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mélange was in 1653


Dictionary Entries Near mélange

Cite this Entry

“Mélange.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/m%C3%A9lange. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


mé·​lange mā-ˈlänzh How to pronounce mélange (audio) -ˈlänj How to pronounce mélange (audio)
: a mixture often of dissimilar elements
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