Word of the Day : May 19, 2014

mélange

play
noun may-LAHNZH

Definition

: a mixture often of incongruous elements

Did You Know?

"Mélange" was added to the mixture 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

We encountered a mélange of architectural styles as we strolled through the neighborhood.

"Crisp and white as a chef’s toque, the newest artwork at the Culinary Institute of America made its debut last month as the perfect backdrop for commencement snapshots. Graduates and family members almost instinctively posed before the mural, a sculptural mélange of food-related words and objects."- From an article by David W. Dunlap in the New York Times, April 15, 2014



Test Your Memory

What word begins with "c" and completes this sentence from a former Word of the Day piece: "Ted missed the meeting again, phoning the receptionist with some __________excuse"? The answer is ...


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!