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Word of the Day
Saturday, February 08, 2003

Definitions for melee

  1. confusion; turmoil; jumble: the melee of Christmas shopping.
  2. a confused hand-to-hand fight or struggle among several people.

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Citations for melee
…rifle followed rifle, from among the stumps, though it was no longer with any certain aim. The battle had now become a melee. James Fenimore Cooper, Satanstoe, 1845
The strong smell of gunpowder floated through the crowd as Pei strained to see what had happened. It seemed hopeless, since she'd been pushed far back in the mélée. Gail Tsukiyama, Women of the Silk, 1991
Origin of melee
Melee is derived from the French word mêlée. It is related to the more common word medley from the Anglo-French word medler meaning "to mix, fight."