me·​nag·​er·​ie | \ mə-ˈnaj-rē, -ˈna-jə- How to pronounce menagerie (audio) also -ˈnazh-rē, -ˈna-zhə- \

Definition of menagerie

1a : a place where animals are kept and trained especially for exhibition
b : a collection of wild or foreign animals kept especially for exhibition
2 : a varied mixture a menagerie of comediansTV Guide A menagerie of grotesque statues stood in the garden.

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Back in the days of Middle French, ménagerie meant "the management of a household" or farm or "a place where animals are tended." By the 1670s, English speakers had adopted the word but dropped its housekeeping aspects, applying it specifically to the places where circuses and other exhibitions kept show animals. Later, the word was generalized to refer to any varied mixture, especially one that includes things that are strange or foreign to one's experience.

Examples of menagerie in a Sentence

a menagerie of rare creatures the living room is eclectically furnished with a menagerie of garage-sale finds
Recent Examples on the Web That very day, to the delight of the youthful menagerie, Bruce’s identical twin turns up in the form of his fun-loving cousin Kevin. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 21 May 2021 The New York Aquarium was nothing like the scientific aquatic museums of today, but rather a P.T. Barnum-style menagerie operated by showman W.C. Coup. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 25 Apr. 2021 The farm was initiated in 1993 when soil scientist Charles Wright and his menagerie of blue morpho butterflies settled at the resort after living further south in Punta Gorda. Ali Wunderman, Travel + Leisure, 24 Apr. 2021 And emerging superpowers are always interested in adding more client states to their menagerie. Ariel Cohen, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 Barnes grumpily moved his menagerie to the San Gabriel Valley. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 9 Mar. 2021 Their horses were part of a domestic and wild menagerie that, even now, prompts a smile. Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, 22 Jan. 2021 Oliver later became part of Helfer's menagerie at Gentle Jungle doing occasional television commercials and shows. John Maccormack,, 9 Dec. 2020 The cheerleaders of Popular, especially Mary Cherry, began a genealogy of Murphy characters who either idolize, or actually are, Gwyneth Paltrow—the foils for a menagerie of misfits who are obsessed with them. Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, 4 Jan. 2021

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

1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for menagerie

French ménagerie, from Middle French, management of a household or farm, from menage

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Time Traveler for menagerie

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The first known use of menagerie was in 1676

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Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Menagerie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for menagerie



English Language Learners Definition of menagerie

: a collection of animals kept especially to be shown to the public


me·​nag·​er·​ie | \ mə-ˈna-jə-rē How to pronounce menagerie (audio) \

Kids Definition of menagerie

: a collection of wild animals kept especially to be shown to the public


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