Word of the Day

Saturday, February 08, 2003

melee

\MAY-lay; may-LAY\ , noun;
1.
A fight or hand-to-hand struggle in which the combatants are mingled in one confused mass.
2.
A confused conflict or mingling.
Quotes:
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
Origin:
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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