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[med-lee] /ˈmɛd li/
noun, plural medleys.
a mixture, especially of heterogeneous elements; hodgepodge; jumble.
a piece of music combining tunes or passages from various sources:
a medley of hit songs from Broadway shows.
Archaic. mixed; mingled.
Origin of medley
1300-50; Middle English medlee (noun and adj.) < Anglo-French, noun and adj. use of feminine of past participle of medler to mix, fight; see meddle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for medley
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He left the Polish philosopher on the threshold, agitated by a medley of feelings.

  • In this medley the sense of the present tended to disappear.

    Women's Wild Oats C. Gasquoine Hartley
  • Waverley reached the castle amidst a medley of conflicting passions.

    Waverley Sir Walter Scott
  • Mrs. medley's reply was inaudible, but apparently in the affirmative.

    Love Among the Chickens P. G. Wodehouse
  • There lay the medley of his books, his only friends, his real passion.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
British Dictionary definitions for medley


a mixture of various types or elements
a musical composition consisting of various tunes arranged as a continuous whole
Also called medley relay
  1. (swimming) a race in which a different stroke is used for each length
  2. (athletics) a relay race in which each leg has a different distance
an archaic word for melee
of, being, or relating to a mixture or variety
Word Origin
C14: from Old French medlee, from medler to mix, quarrel
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 medley

c.1300, "hand-to-hand combat," from Old French medlee, variant of meslee (see meddle). Meaning "combination, mixture" is from mid-15c.; that of "musical combination consisting of diverse parts" is from 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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