med·​ley | \ˈmed-lē \
plural medleys

Definition of medley 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : melee

2 : a diverse assortment or mixture especially : hodgepodge a medley of sounds a medley of desserts was arrested on a medley of charges

3 : a musical composition made up of a series of songs or short pieces a medley of show tunes



Definition of medley (Entry 2 of 2)

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Examples of medley in a Sentence


a medley of show tunes a medley of snack foods available on the buffet table

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Gaga performed a Sound of Music medley dressed in a simple gown with her hair long and flowing. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Lady Gaga Didn't Need A Star Is Born to Be Taken Seriously," 28 Sep. 2018 Lacking proper helmets, the SEAL divers taped a medley of flashlights to their improvised headgear. Hannah Beech, Richard C. Paddock And Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, "‘Still Can’t Believe It Worked’: The Story of the Thailand Cave Rescue," 12 July 2018 Kelly Clarkson covered everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Taylor Swift in a show-stopping medley of hits for her opening performance as the host of the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. Cady Lang, Time, "Kelly Clarkson Brought the House Down With This Billboard Music Awards Medley," 21 May 2018 Besides watching Beyoncé reunite with Destiny’s Child for their sweet-sounding medley on Saturday night (April 14), to see Eminem join forces with 50 Cent and Dr. Dre the following day was perhaps the festival's most pleasant surprise. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 10 Best Things We Saw at Coachella 2018," 16 Apr. 2018 Independence Day in Washington is wrought with its own medley of festivities; that makes Memorial Day and Veterans Day logical front-runners for the parade’s host holiday. Thomas Gibbons-neff, New York Times, "Trump Wants a Military Parade. But Not Everyone Is in Step.," 8 Feb. 2018 His medley of familiar hits was nowhere near those performances. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Music fans: Stop excusing these musicians' faults," 7 Feb. 2018 As if The Beach Boys performing at this year's A Capitol Fourth on PBS wasn’t enough of a treat itself, the band decided to collaborate with special guests Jimmy Buffett and John Stamos for a medley of hits last night (July 4). Rita Thompson, Billboard, "The Beach Boys Join Forces With John Stamos & Jimmy Buffett For Epic 4th of July Performance: Watch," 5 July 2018 Image The dream died near the cash bar, beside the stiff focaccia and the medley of Italian meats. Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, "Michael Grimm Falls Back to Earth. In a Ballroom on Staten Island.," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Spring Woods sends all six relays to regionals, led by the fifth-place medley boys team of Samuel Jennings, Hewry Schmidt, Jacob Jennings and Clayton Richard. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Memorial girls runner-up at 15-6A swim meet," 24 Jan. 2018 Hunter will have back the GMC third team 200 medley team of Owen Pelzer, Kevin LaGrange, Jakob Eichhorn and Aidan Flanigan. Scott Springer,, "Preview: St. Xavier highlights talented pool of Cincinnati swimmers, divers," 8 Dec. 2017 In addition, Munoz was part of the winning 200 medley team (back-23.43), and 400 free relay team third leg (45.29). Staff Report, Orange County Register, "Northwood boys and Woodbridge girls capture PCL swim championships.," 11 May 2017 Wright is a 100m back, 400 free and medley relay specialist. Randy Sachs,, "Young swimmers work to create foundation for Mansfield Timberview," 12 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'medley.' 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 medley


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for medley


Middle English medle, from Anglo-French medlee, from feminine of medlé, past participle of medler to mix — more at meddle


see medley entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near medley





medley relay



Statistics for medley

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for medley

The first known use of medley was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for medley



English Language Learners Definition of medley

: a musical piece made up of parts of other musical works

: a mixture of different people or things

sports : a race in swimming in which swimmers use a different stroke for each different part of the race


med·​ley | \ˈmed-lē \
plural medleys

Kids Definition of medley

1 : mixture sense 2, jumble a medley of tastes

2 : a musical selection made up of a series of different songs or parts of different compositions

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Comments on medley

What made you want to look up medley? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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