: 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").

Example Sentences

a mélange of colors and shapes a mélange of architectural styles
Recent Examples on the Web The palate is soft with a balanced notes of sweet and spice, a melange of flavors including espresso, oak, citrus and some caramel. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 23 Sep. 2022 The brand’s famed knitwear is pretty in melange, which layers nicely. Colleen Barry, ajc, 25 Sep. 2022 It’s all brilliant, in its simplicity and in its hip style melange. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 2 July 2022 Odesa — onetime Russian imperial outpost, coveted strategic seaport, a quirky multicultural melange redolent of salt air and tragic history — has always paired an artistic soul with a martial bearing. Los Angeles Times, 1 Aug. 2022 The children stretched out on the floor, and listened as a melange of booming voices — Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The Five Blind Boys of Alabama — unspooled stories of love, struggle, and spiritual reassurance in song. David Gambacorta, Longreads, 13 July 2022 Another highlight for Sass is the melange of woods, including maple, walnut, and the unidentified species covering the ceiling and trim. House Beautiful, 22 July 2022 Today’s tech office reality is a melange of all current workforce buzzphrases - great resignation, great reset, great reshuffle - with more descriptors on the horizon. Paige Francis, Forbes, 20 June 2022 A year later, Apple redesigned its emoji to feature a soft tortilla and pleasing melange of fillings. G. Daniela Galarza, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 See More

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

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 5 Dec. 2022.

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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