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melee1

[mey-ley, mey-ley, mel-ey] /ˈmeɪ leɪ, meɪˈleɪ, ˈmɛl eɪ/
noun
1.
a confused hand-to-hand fight or struggle among several people.
2.
confusion; turmoil; jumble:
the melee of Christmas shopping.
Also, mêlée.
Origin
1640-1650
1640-50; < French mêlée. See medley
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for mêlées

melee

/ˈmɛleɪ/
noun
1.
a noisy riotous fight or brawl
Word Origin
C17: from French mêlée. See medley
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 mêlées

melee

n.

1640s, from French mêlée, from Old French meslee "brawl, confused fight; mixture, blend" (12c.), noun use of fem. past participle of mesler "to mix, mingle" (see meddle). See also medley. Borrowed in Middle English as melle but lost and then reborrowed 17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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