Definitions

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

  • n. A combination of incongruous things: "In the minds of many, the real and imagined causes for Russia's defeats quickly mingled into a potpourri of terrible fears” ( W. Bruce Lincoln).
  • n. A miscellaneous anthology or collection: a potpourri of short stories and humorous verse.
  • n. A mixture of dried flower petals and spices used to scent the air.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A collection of various things; an assortment, mixed bag or motley.
  • n. An anthology of miscellaneous prose.
  • n. A medley of songs or music.
  • n. A mixture of dried fragrant plant material, often in a decorative bowl, used to scent a room.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A ragout composed of different sorts of meats, vegetables, etc., cooked together.
  • n. A jar or packet of flower leaves, perfumes, and spices, used to scent a room.
  • n. A piece of music made up of different airs strung together; a medley.
  • n. A literary production composed of parts brought together without order or bond of connection.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A dish of different kinds of meat and vegetables cooked together; a stew.
  • n. Hence A miscellaneous collection; a medley.

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

  • n. a musical composition consisting of a series of songs or other musical pieces from various sources
  • n. a collection containing a variety of sorts of things
  • n. a jar of mixed flower petals and spices used as perfume

Etymologies

French pot pourri (translation of Spanish olla podrida) : pot, pot; see potiche + pourri, past participle of pourrir, to rot (from Old French purir, from Vulgar Latin *putrīre, from Latin putrēscere; see putrid).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French pot pourri, meaning "rotten pot", itself from Spanish olla podrida, same meaning and name of a stew. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Right into the hands of what I refer to as the potpourri of global scum, Braun told

    Breaking News: CBS News

  • Wipe out with a damp paper towel, much easier than loose potpourri is to clean.

    Home Scents

  • Trivia note -- book D-292 under "potpourri" -- THE INSIDERS by Booth Mooney: Mooney wound up in Washington as an aide to LBJ and a lobbyist, but Robert E. Howard fans know him better as one of REH's youthful amateur-press associates in Texas in the '20s.

    Ace Books Image Lilbrary Update from Michael Smith

  • The French call it potpourri because that means "rotten pot."

    A New Whiff on Potpourri

  • What she didn't mention was that I'd come from Italy and I had all these bags of an herbal mixture called potpourri, which I'd got from the Pharmacia de Santa Berria

    American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America

  • What is best described as a potpourri of opportunities for artist to share their talent,

    Chattablogs

  • The covers are endlessly fascinating, especially the "potpourri" section. "potpourri" indeed, everything from William Burroughs to Frank Edwards to G. Harry Stine to endless historical potboilers and nurse novels.

    Ace Books Image Lilbrary Update from Michael Smith

  • Chatting with me in the Perelman's café, Joseph Rishel, the museum's senior curator of European painting, told me that he'd like to see a future "potpourri" exhibition in that space, drawing cross-cultural connections among diverse permanent-collection works from around the world.

    An Expansion a Quaker Could Love

  • He told officers he'd been smoking "potpourri," apparently referring to an herbal substance meant to produce feelings similar to that of marijuana.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Local News

  • The detective said Lipski admitted to smoking "potpourri" to get high before driving.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Local News

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  • I really like "what in the name of God's ass...?" How delightful.

    August 31, 2009

  • People give them to us. What are they for?

    August 30, 2009

  • What about mandles?

    August 30, 2009

  • Because we are men. We are different. We have only one word for soap. We do not own candles. We have never seen anything of any value in a craft shop. We do not own magazines fill of photographs of celebrities with all their clothes on. When we have conversations, we actually take it in turns to talk! But we have not yet reached that level of earth-shattering boredom and inhuman despair that we would have a haircut recreationally. We don't know how to get excited about... really, really boring things, like ornaments, bath oil, the countryside, vases, small churches. I mean, we do not even know what, what in the name of God's ass is the purpose of pot-pourri! Looks like breakfast, smells like your auntie!

    (Coupling, ep. 3×6)

    August 30, 2009