Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A random, haphazard action or occurrence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The killing of another in self-defense upon a sudden and unpremeditated encounter. See chaud-medley.
  • n. Luck; chance; accident.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In law:
  • n. Originally, a casual affray or riot, accompanied with violence, and without deliberate or preconceived malice.
  • n. The killing of another in self-defense, upon a sudden and unpremeditated encounter.
  • n. Hence Misadventure.
  • n. A haphazard mixture; a fortuitous combination.
  • Haphazard.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an unpremeditated killing of a human being in self defense

Etymologies

Middle English chaunce medley, manslaughter, from Norman French chance medlee, mixed accident : Old French chance, accident; see chance + Old French medlee, mixed; see medley.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • But in his heart he thought, My unlucky protegee has with this luckless answer shot dead, by a kind of chance-medley, her only hope of success.

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian

  • This shows us the reason why in mixed modes any of the ideas that make the composition of the complex one being left out or changed, it is allowed to be another thing, i.e. to be of another species, as is plain in chance-medley, manslaughter, murder, parricide, &c.

    An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

  • So saying, he thrust the magic lance into some of the pigmy effigies, and belabored others with the but-end, upon which the former fell as dead upon the board, and the rest turning upon each other began, pell-mell, a chance-medley fight.

    The Alhambra

  • His past went soberly before him; he beheld it as it was, ugly and strenuous like a dream, random as chance-medley -- a scene of defeat.

    The Short-story

  • The end comes to both actions at once in the squalor of a chance-medley.

    William Shakespeare

  • I have not time or paper, else I could draw an inference, not very illustrative of your chance-medley system.

    Mary Wollstonecraft

  • It is hardly necessary to ask the latter question, for chance-medley could not lead to regular operations -- operations so regular that a court of law may act upon their evidence.

    Science and Morals and Other Essays

  • "Nature does this," and "Nature does that," forgetting entirely the fact that "Nature" is a mere personification and means either chance-medley or a Creator, according to the old dilemma.

    Science and Morals and Other Essays

  • Princetown [Princeton] University Press, 1915. page 136 mere personification and means either chance-medley or a

    Science and Morals and Other Essays

  • It seems impossible, when one surveys the orderly operations of Nature, among which are those conducted under the laws known by the name of their discoverer, Mendel -- it seems wholly impossible that these operations arose by chance-medley.

    Science and Morals and Other Essays

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.