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[chans-med-lee, chahns-] /ˈtʃænsˌmɛd li, ˈtʃɑns-/
noun, Law.
a killing occurring during a sudden and unpredicted encounter.
aimless and random action.
Origin of chance-medley
First recorded in 1485-95, chance-medley is from the Anglo-French word chance medlee Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for chance-medley
Historical Examples
  • The end comes to both actions at once in the squalor of a chance-medley.

    William Shakespeare John Masefield
  • "chance-medley is not a hanging matter," said he, in a shaking voice.

    Katerfelto G. J. Whyte-Melville
  • Beware of malice prepense, of chance-medley, and of manslaughter.

    The Prairie J. Fenimore Cooper
  • While this was transacting upon the quarter-deck, a chance-medley fight was going on throughout the ship.

    Astoria Washington Irving
  • That means one of two things: either that these laws arose by chance-medley, or that some one enacted them.

    Science and Morals and Other Essays Bertram Coghill Alan Windle
  • I have not time or paper, else I could draw an inference, not very illustrative of your chance-medley system.

    Mary Wollstonecraft Elizabeth Robins Pennell
British Dictionary definitions for chance-medley


(law) a sudden quarrel in which one party kills another; unintentional but not blameless killing
Word Origin
C15: from Anglo-French chance medlee mixed chance
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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