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 (mā′lā′, mā-lā′) also mê·lée (mĕ-lā′)
1. A confused struggle or fight at close quarters. See Synonyms at brawl.
2. A confused tumultuous mingling, as of a crowd: the rush-hour melee.

[French mêlée, from Old French meslee, past participle of mesler, to mix; see meddle.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈmɛleɪ) or


a noisy riotous fight or brawl
[C17: from French mêlée. See medley]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


or mê•lée

(ˈmeɪ leɪ, meɪˈleɪ, ˈmɛl eɪ)

1. a confused hand-to-hand fight or struggle among several people.
2. a state of tumultuous confusion.
[1640–50; < French mêlée. See medley]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


 a lively contention or debate; a mixed fight between two parties; a skirmish.
Examples: mêlée of battle, 1871.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.melee - a noisy riotous fightmelee - a noisy riotous fight    
disturbance - the act of disturbing something or someone; setting something in motion
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun fight, fray, brawl, skirmish, tussle, scuffle, free-for-all (informal), fracas, set-to (informal), rumpus, broil, affray (Law), shindig (informal), donnybrook, ruction (informal), battle royal, ruckus (informal), scrimmage, stramash (Scot.), shindy (informal), bagarre (French) Scores of people were injured in the melee.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


also mêlée
A quarrel, fight, or disturbance marked by very noisy, disorderly, and often violent behavior:
Informal: fracas.
Slang: rumble.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ˈmeleɪ] N
1. (= confusion) → tumulto m
it got lost in the meléese perdió en el tumulto
there was such a melée at the booking officela gente se apiñaba delante de la taquilla
2. (= fight) → pelea f confusa, refriega f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


n (= confused struggle)Gedränge nt, → Gewühl nt; (= fighting)Handgemenge nt
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈmɛleɪ] nconfusione f, mischia
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
It was in one of these melees that Jurgis fell into his trap.
Shoot into 'em, Gawd damn their souls!" There was a melee of screeches, in which the men were ordered to do conflicting and impossible things.
Rival trapping parties Manoeuvring A desperate game Vanderburgh and the Blackfeet Deserted camp fire A dark defile An Indian ambush A fierce melee Fatal consequences Fitzpatrick and Bridger Trappers precautions Meeting with the Blackfeet More fighting Anecdote of a young Mexican and an Indian girl.
That gentleman acted as moderator, endeavoring to prevent a general melee; in the midst of the brawl, however, an expression was made use of by Lisa derogatory to his own honor.
Turning, I saw a dozen black pirates dashing toward us from the melee. We had been discovered.
The Marechal de la Meilleraie added that in case the coadjutor should appear on the field of battle it would be a pity that he should not be distinguished in the melee by wearing a red hat, as Henry IV.
The howling and snapping and barking of the new element which had been infused into the melee now seemed centered quite close behind me, and as I raised myself upon my hands and glanced around I saw what it was that had distracted the DYRYTH, as I afterward learned the thing is called, from my trail.
The leaping carnivora and the plunging horses, prevented any concerted action by the Abyssinians--it was every man for himself--and in the melee, the defenseless woman was either forgotten or ignored by her black captors.
They were warriors of the palace, mostly; but two score leaped to defend U-Thor, and with ringing steel they fought at the foot of the steps to the throne of Manator where stood O-Tar, the jeddak, with drawn sword ready to take his part in the melee.
Presently one of the knights detached himself from the melee and rode to her side with some word of command, at the same time grasping roughly at her bridle rein.
A warrior turned his eyes upward from the melee. Above him towered the gigantic bulk of the pachyderm, the little eyes flashing with the reflected light of the fires--wicked, frightful, terrifying.