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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.
    • a. 1677, Isaac Barrow, The Usefulness of Mathematical Learning Explained and Demonstrated
      The Pythagoreans who, as Aristotle says, were the first among the Greeks, that meddled with Mathematics
  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 (in Middle English):
      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
      (please add an English translation of this quote)
    • 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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