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[uh-mal-guh m] /əˈmæl gəm/
an alloy of mercury with another metal or metals.
an alloy that consists chiefly of silver mixed with mercury and variable amounts of other metals and is used as a dental filling.
a rare mineral, an alloy of silver and mercury, occurring as silver-white crystals or grains.
a mixture or combination:
His character is a strange amalgam of contradictory traits.
Origin of amalgam
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English amalgam(e) < Middle French < Medieval Latin < dialectal Arabic al the + malgham < Greek málagma softening agent, equivalent to malak- (stem of malássein to soften) + -ma noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for amalgam
  • Samurai meets spaghetti western in Takashi's mad amalgam.
  • Japan is an amalgam of ancient traditions and modernity.
  • Most of the social science fields are built on an amalgam of other fields.
  • As progressive nonprofits, an odd amalgam of green groups and labor organizations has emerged in the midwest state budget battles.
  • His amalgam of tightly written sports story and crime fiction sinks a winning basket.
  • The main problem was the city's infamous “smog” (an amalgam of “smoke” and “fog”).
  • The book, written with freelancer Siegmund, is an amalgam of the silly and the significant.
  • Like all propaganda her "rationale" is a clever amalgam of half-truths and lies.
  • The recipe is an amalgam of styles.
  • The result is a fierce amalgam of funk, noise and heavily distorted guitar.
British Dictionary definitions for amalgam


an alloy of mercury with another metal, esp with silver: dental amalgam
a rare white metallic mineral that consists of silver and mercury and occurs in deposits of silver and cinnabar
a blend or combination
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin amalgama, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for amalgam

c.1400, "blend of mercury with another metal; soft mass formed by chemical manipulation," from Old French amalgame or directly from Medieval Latin amalgama, "alloy of mercury (especially with gold or silver)," an alchemists' word, perhaps an alteration of Latin malagma "poultice, plaster," probably from Arabic al-malgham "an emollient poultice or unguent for sores (especially warm)" [Francis Johnson, "A Dictionary of Persian, Arabic, and English"], perhaps from Greek malagma "softening substance," from malassein "to soften," from malakos "soft."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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amalgam in Medicine

amalgam a·mal·gam (ə-māl'gəm)
Any of various alloys of mercury with other metals, as with tin or silver, used for filling teeth.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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amalgam in Science
  1. An alloy of mercury and another metal, especially:

  2. An alloy of mercury and silver used in dental fillings.

  3. An alloy of silver and tin used in silvering mirrors.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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