One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The killing of a person accidentally in self-defense in a fight.
- ‘He, who commits chance-medley, shall fly his country for a year, till satisfaction be made to the dead person's kindred.’
- ‘In his case, on appeal, the Chief Justice for the first time ruled that the defence of chance medley that downsized murder to manslaughter could not be pleaded under British law.’
- ‘You say that James Annesley is Not Guilty of the felony and murder whereof he stands indicted, but is Guilty of chance-medley.’
- ‘In 1828, the concept of chance medley was eventually abolished.’
- ‘The murder of the constable was, if not properly accidental, at least rather in the nature of chance medley.’
Late 15th century: from Anglo-Norman French chance medlee, literally ‘mixed chance’, from chance ‘luck’ + medlee, feminine past participle of medler ‘to mix’ (based on Latin miscere).
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