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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Did You Know?

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 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, "This Hotel Puts a Cocooning Butterfly in Every Room so Guests Can Release It Into the Wild," 24 Apr. 2021 And emerging superpowers are always interested in adding more client states to their menagerie. Ariel Cohen, Forbes, "China-Iran $400 Billion Accord: A Power Shift Threatens Western Energy," 5 Apr. 2021 Barnes grumpily moved his menagerie to the San Gabriel Valley. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, "What city do you live in? Don’t say Hollywood," 9 Mar. 2021 Their horses were part of a domestic and wild menagerie that, even now, prompts a smile. Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, "Fairytale $2M home outside of Minneapolis was inspired by medieval castles," 22 Jan. 2021 Oliver later became part of Helfer's menagerie at Gentle Jungle doing occasional television commercials and shows. John Maccormack,, "Oliver with a twist - Retired freak show chimp still scientific mystery," 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, "With a big Netflix deal and the power to green-light almost anything, Ryan Murphy has become the ultimate insider. And his work is suffering.," 4 Jan. 2021 An Alaska Air National Guard plane carried Grimmer, Thomas, and their menagerie the 550 miles from Kotzebue to Anchorage. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "In the midst of the Cold War, Alaska’s effort to spread Christmas cheer involved sending a small herd of reindeer to D.C.," 21 Dec. 2020 There was a man named Terry Thompson, who, unbeknownst to his neighbors and unbeknownst to the local sheriff's department, had a menagerie of over 50 exotic animals, including over 30 big cats. National Geographic, "Episode 6: The Trouble with America's Captive Tigers," 1 Dec. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of menagerie was in 1676

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Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Menagerie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 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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