Definition of melee in US English:

melee

(also mêlée)

noun

  • 1A confused fight, skirmish, or scuffle.

    ‘several people were hurt in the melee’
    • ‘Amelia ducked and rolled to the side to avoid being impaled by Breanne's rapier, the fight now a melee.’
    • ‘The fight soon degenerated into a bloody melee, each man for himself.’
    • ‘‘When people take to the battlefield it becomes a melee of killing and being killed,’ he says.’
    • ‘Another person involved in the melee was jailed for violent disorder after his trial for murder collapsed.’
    • ‘Several melees broke out on the field as the game threatened to spill over into all out violence.’
    • ‘We're asked to believe that his post-match melees leave him merely bruised, when he would most likely be eating his meals through a straw.’
    • ‘He described two fights within the extended melee outside the nightclub.’
    • ‘Curious tourists and reporters were often trapped in the melees.’
    • ‘Carlisle says his wife Linda was hit with a fist in the melee.’
    • ‘Then the fight became a full-on melee as the crowd found its nerve and joined the fray.’
    • ‘They managed to retrieve their son from the melee and, with a struggle, reached the safety of their home.’
    • ‘We see the use of lances with hooks, to unhorse an opponent, but there is little mounted archery, and too much man-to-man sword fighting in small, confused melees.’
    • ‘Both Cork goals were scored from melees in front of the posts and both were controversial.’
    • ‘When battles do occur, they usually turn into confused melees.’
    • ‘For some reason, perhaps to differentiate rugby melees from all the other tussles, the word evolved into ‘scrummage’ with a U.’
    • ‘In a melee, the combat becomes very strategic and each player can handle the combat in a different manner.’
    • ‘After the initial charge, both lines are broken, and the battle degenerates into a chaotic melee.’
    • ‘My family and I have been woken in the early hours by football chants, fights and general melees on occasions too numerous to recall.’
    • ‘People panicked and stampeded, blows rained down, people fell and hurt themselves in the melee.’
    • ‘In the melee, the iron railing leading to the park's entrance on Cipero Street broke, causing fans to fall on top of each other.’
    tumult, disturbance, rumpus, commotion, disorder
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A confused mass of people.
      ‘the melee of people that was always thronging the streets’
      • ‘Prague by day is a melee of tourists, heads cocked skyward, nodding in disbelief at yet another beautiful building.’
      • ‘With a melee of artists, dancers, musicians and bands, the crowds gathered to enjoy the sunshine and take part in the festivities.’

Origin

Mid 17th century: from French mêlée, from an Old French variant of meslee (see medley).

Pronunciation