melee

1

or mê·lée

[mey-ley, mey-ley, mel-ey]
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noun
  1. a confused hand-to-hand fight or struggle among several people.
  2. confusion; turmoil; jumble: the melee of Christmas shopping.

Origin of melee

1
From the French word mêlée, dating back to 1640–50. See medley

melee

2
[mey-ley, mey-ley]
noun
  1. a group of diamonds, each weighing less than 0.25 carat.

Origin of melee

2
First recorded in 1910–15; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for melee

melee

mle

noun
  1. a noisy riotous fight or brawl

Word Origin for melee

C17: from French mêlée. See medley
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

Word Origin and History for melee
n.

1640s, from French mêlée, from Old French meslee "brawl, confused fight; mixture, blend" (12c.), noun use of fem. past participle of mesler "to mix, mingle" (see meddle). See also medley. Borrowed in Middle English as melle but lost and then reborrowed 17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper