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Pronunciation: ming-êl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Transitive) Blend, mix together. 2. (Intransitive + the preposition with) Move around and engage with others at a social function.

Notes: This word comes with a noun, minglement, but no adjective, so we must use the present participle mingling, which has an adverb, minglingly. Someone who mingles may be called a mingler. We also have at our disposal a rhyming compound, mingle-mangle "mishmash, confused mixture" that may be used as a noun or verb.

In Play: The verb may be used transitively this way: "She always mingled fruit in her jello, ignoring the fruit flavoring in the gelatin itself." However, this verb is used far more often intransitively with the preposition with: "The teenager's room smelled of cigarette smoke mingled with the odors of mold, sweat and dirt to the point she was unable to understand how he could spend so much time in it."

Word History: In Middle English today's word was menglen "to mix", the frequentative of Old English mengan. Old English came by this verb via Old Germanic from PIE mag- "to knead, rub, shape". This root also went into the making of English make, German machen "to make", and Russian mazat' "to anoint, apply oil, lubricate" and maslo "butter". The English word somehow picked up an N, for we see it in today's Good word, among and mongrel. Among was shortened from Old English a- "in" + gemang "throng". Mongrel comes from mong "mixture", a presumed reduction of the same Old English gemang. (Gratitude is owed Rob Towart, who has been mingling excellent Good Words like today's with ours for over a decade now.)

Dr. Goodword,

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