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Latin miscere to mix

In Latin language miscere's meaning is to mix. 

If I were to tell you that there is a very commonly used Hindi word, which looks similar, means the same and is from the same IE root as miscere, can you guess it? Try, try!

Meanwhile, let me list the English words that derive from this root. ‘Mix’ and ‘mixture’ are the first in the list, followed by the ‘miscible’ liquids like milk and water and ‘immiscible’ ones like oil and water.


‘Miscegenation’ means the mixing of genus, race, and so applies to the marriage or cohabitation of a man and a woman of different races. This term first appeared in the U.S. while the American Civil War was going on. The Republican Party, led by Abraham Lincoln, had strongly campaigned against slavery during the presidential election of 1860, and when it won, seven states of Southern America declared their secession from the Union, kick starting the Civil War.  In December 1863, a pamphlet created shock waves all through the country. It was entitled:  Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro. In it, the Republicans asserted that they supported intermarriage between the blacks and the whites, and that they wanted the denizens of  America to be of a mixed breed that was neither white nor black.  This was a shocking vision! It offended even those people who otherwise supported the end of slavery; it was totally against their mores! It was only in November 1864 that the pamphlet was proved to be a hoax. By then, it had done good damage to the Republican Party.


Before this pamphlet, the word amalgamation had been used for ethnic and racial intermixing.

Have you been able to guess the Hindi word? It is mishran. And, the remaining miscere words are:


Mishran-2: meleepell-mellmélange


Cohabitation: (n) living together.

Origin: L co-, together + habitare, to live

The other words from habitare are ‘habitat’, ‘inhabit’ and ‘rehabilitation’. A ‘habitat’ of an organism is the place where it lives. To ‘inhabit’ a

place is to live in it. See, rehabilitate.


Assert: (v) to say with a lot of force; to defend one’s rights or statements.

Denizen: (n) one who stays at or frequently visits a place.

Mores: (n) accepted moral values and customs of a society.

(adj) having a mixture of different kinds of elements.

Origin: L miscere, to mix

  • This chapter is titled ‘Miscellany’ because it contains roots denoting absolutely different and unrelated ideas.

Promiscuous: (adj) having casual sexual relations with many partners; (n) promiscuity.

Origin: L pro-, forward + miscere, to mix => ‘one who mixes enthusiastically with people of opposite sex’

  • The Mughal emperors were highly promiscuous. For example, Emperor Jahangir had a harem of 300 wives and 5000 concubines!
  • Another way of saying this: Promiscuity was a way of life for Mughal emperors.

Meddle: (v) to interfere unwantedly.

Origin: L miscere -> Fr mesler, meddler, to mix => ‘one who mixes himself in others’ affairs uninvited’

  • Kushal’s neighbours had the habit of meddling in other people’s lives. They considered it their right to know the full details about

what was happening or not happening to whom and to give their advice on even the most personal problems. She was shocked when

her landlord aunty asked her how much she earned and if she would like to consider a boy that she had looked for her. “Imagine! My

landlord is hunting boys for me!” Kushal exclaimed to her colleagues that day. “Really, I am tired of these meddlesome neighbours.”


Origin: L miscere -> Fr mesler, meddler, to mix => ‘a mixture’

  • The DJ at the dance party played a medley of hit Hindi, Punjabi and English songs.

Melee: (n) confusion created by a group of people fighting or by the simultaneous movement of a crowd.

Origin: L miscere -> Fr mesler, to mix => ‘a mixture of people’

  • An argument over parking space between two neighbours—Kuber Sharma and Alok Shrivastva—escalated into a major melee when the brothers of Sharma joined him and physically roughed up Alok. Alok then called his friends who came brandishing hockey sticks and shattered the windows of Sharma’s car. Fearing further violence, the neighbours called the police. 

Pell mell: (adv) in a confused, crowded rush.

Origin: Fr pesle mesle, pesle is written just to rhyme with mesle, a derivative of mesler, to mix


Melange: (n) a mixture.

Origin: Fr mesler, to mix

  • The musical CD was a mélange of folk music, hip hop, blues and jazz. Just like in Hindi, the word ‘milaanaa’- to mix- is a derivative of mishran, similarly, mélange and melee are derivatives of miscere.

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