Word Origin & History
O.E. meltan "become liquid" (class III strong verb; past tense mealt, pp. molten), from P.Gmc. *meltanan; fused with O.E. gemæltan (Anglian), gemyltan (W.Saxon) "make liquid," from P.Gmc. *gamaltijanan (cf. O.N. melta "to digest"), both from PIE *meld- "softness" (cf. Gk. meldein "to melt," L.
mollis "soft, mild"). Related: Melted; melting. Melting pot is from 1540s; figurative use from 1855; popularized with reference to America by play "The Melting Pot" by Israel Zangwill (1908).