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From Middle English medlen, from Anglo-Norman medler, variant of Anglo-Norman and Old French mesler, meller, from Vulgar Latin *misculō, from Latin misceō (to mix).



meddle (third-person singular simple present meddles, present participle meddling, simple past and past participle meddled)

  1. To interfere in or with; to concern oneself with unduly. [from 14thc.]
    • Why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt?
    • 1689, John Locke, Two Treatises on Civil Government
      The civil lawyers [] have meddled in a matter that belongs not to them.
    • 2017 January 14, “Thailand's new king rejects the army's proposed constitution”, in The Economist[1]:
      There is much to dislike about the proposed constitution, which will keep elected governments beholden to a senate nominated by the junta and to a suite of meddling committees.
  2. (obsolete) To interest or engage oneself; to have to do (with), in a good sense.
    • 1560, Geneva Bible, Thessalonians 4:11
      Study to be quiet, and to meddle with your own business.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Barrow to this entry?)
  3. (obsolete) To mix (something) with some other substance; to commingle, combine, blend. [14th-17thc.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.i:
      he cut a locke of all their heare, / Which medling with their bloud and earth, he threw / Into the graue [].
  4. (intransitive, now US regional) To have sex. [from 14thc.]
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter v, in Le Morte Darthur, book XVII:
      But after god came to Adam and bad hym knowe his wyf flesshly as nature requyred / Soo lay Adam with his wyf vnder the same tree / and anone the tree whiche was whyte and ful grene as ony grasse and alle that came oute of hit / and in the same tyme that they medled to gyders there was Abel begoten / thus was the tree longe of grene colour
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970, partition II, section 5, member 1, subsection v:
      Take a ram's head that never meddled with an ewe, cut off at a blow, and the horns only taken away, boil it well, skin and wool together [].


Derived terms[edit]


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