• meddle •
med-êl • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive (no objects)
Meaning: 1. Interfere with, intrude into circumstances of no concern to you, stick your nose into someone else's business. 2. Inappropriately handle something belonging to others, monkey around with: "Don't meddle with the lamp."
Notes: The preferred adjectives for today's word is meddlesome and meddling; medalous is now considered obsolete. The present participle meddling has also taken over the role of action noun, as 'her meddling in my affairs'.
In Play: The first sense of today's Good Word may be seen in this sentence: "Lacey Curtain is a do-gooder who meddles in everyone's affairs." The second sense is exemplified here: "A camel is the result of a committee meddling with the design of a horse."
Word History: Meddle was borrowed from Anglo-Norman French medler, a revision of Old French mesler "to mix, mingle, to meddle" (Modern French mêler). The hammers of time had reshaped this word from Late Latin misculare "to mix slightly", comprising miscere "to mix". Misculare is a combination of misc- "mix" + -ula "little" (diminutive suffix) + -are, an infinitive ending. It is the source of Portuguese mesclar, Spanish mezclar, and Italian mescolare, all meaning "to blend, mix, stir". Miscere is the Latin remake of PIE meik-/meig- "to mix" which, nasalized, ended up in English as mingle. English mix was borrowed from Latin mixtus "mixed", the past participle of miscere. Melee was borrowed from French mêlée "mixed", the past participle of Old French mesler "to mix".
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