[chans-med-lee, chahns-]

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chance-medley

Historical Examples of chance-medley

  • 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.


    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.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for chance-medley



law a sudden quarrel in which one party kills another; unintentional but not blameless killing

Word Origin for chance-medley

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