Word of the DaySaturday, February 08, 2003
\MAY-lay; may-LAY\ , noun;
A fight or hand-to-hand struggle in which the combatants are mingled in one confused mass.
A confused conflict or mingling.
In another incident, two staff members required stitches from a melee that ensued from their attempts to confiscate a razor blade found in the sock of a boy who had just arrived from another facility.
-- James Garbarino, Lost Boys
The accident sparked a general melee, people smashing things just for the satisfaction of watching glass fly.
-- Dorothy Allison, Cavedweller
I was relieved when, apparently unaware of this tradition, the Harasis bedouin unceremoniously dug in, the dread orbs disappearing in a melee of hungry hands.
-- Nicholas Clapp, The Road to Ubar
Melee is from the French mêlée, from the past participle of Old French mesler, "to mix," ultimately from Latin miscere, "to mix." It is related to medley, "a jumbled assortment; a mixture."
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