An Assortment of 30 Synonyms for “Assortment,” “Mixture,” or “Variety”

By Mark Nichol - 3 minute read

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This post lists thirty words to employ as alternatives for assortment, mixture, and variety, accompanied by brief definitions.

1–2. An agglomerate or agglomeration is a jumbled collection or mass, and the first variant also serves as a noun and an adjective (and can also refer to a volcanic rock consisting of various combined fragments). Agglomeration can also refer to the action or process of massing.
3. To botch is to bungle, or make a mess of, but the word can also describe the mess itself as a noun.
4. Clutter implies a concentrated assortment that impedes effectiveness or progress.
5. A collage is an artistic composition consisting of assorted elements or materials, but by extension the word can also refer to an assortment of any kind.
6. “Crazy quilt” implies a random assemblage of parts, from the original notion of a quilt consisting of odds and ends of fabric, though quilts are generally now assembled to create a pattern.
7. A farrago is a confused assortment.
8. A grab bag was originally a prize handed out at a fair or another event and consisting of a small sack with assorted toys and/or treats. Now, the phrase refers to any random collection.
9. Jumble suggests a disordered assortment.
10. Jungle, besides its primary meaning of “a region of tropical vegetation,” by extension can refer to a confused mass as well as a complex process.
11. Litter, from the Latin word for bed, came by extension from the sense of animal bedding material or organic matter on a forest floor to refer to accumulated objects strewn about.
12. Though medley is primarily understood to mean “a series of portions of two or more songs compiled as a single composition,” its original meaning is “mix.”
13. Mélange refers to a usually incompatible assortment.
14. Cognate with manage, menagerie first applied to management of a farm and its livestock, then to a collection of or place for keeping animals for exhibition, and then, by extension, to any assortment.
15. A miscellany or miscellanea is a collection of various compositions or things.
16. A mishmash is an assortment of things literally or figuratively mashed together.
17. “Mixed bag” in similar to “grab bag” in current meaning, although the phrase more often refers to something with both positive and negative impacts.
18. Montage usually refers to a visual medley, but it can also be directly synonymous with medley in both artistic and general senses.
19. Motley originally had a sense of “multicolored” and described the variegated-pattern attire of the stock theatrical character Harlequin or a court jester, but it later came to describe a varied assortment.
20. To muddle is to make confused or unclear, and the noun refers to being mentally confused or to objects being in a state of confusion.
21. An olio is a collection or mixture.
22. A hybrid Latin/English term that literally means “gather all,” omnium-gatherum suggests a collection.
23–24. Patchwork, and “patchwork quilt,” denote a disordered collection, from the notion of a quilt made of assorted patches of fabric or something analogous to it in appearance.
25. A ragbag was originally a sack containing scraps of fabric, and by extensive the word came to refer to an assortment.
26. Rummage is primarily employed as a verb meaning “search,” but as a noun it refers both to a search through an assortment of objects or such a collection itself.
27. Similarly, to scramble is to rush or to make a difficult, energetic effort, but as a noun, the word pertains to a disordered collection that would require such activity when searching for something in it.
28. Shuffle describes the action of rearranging or moving back and forth, and a shuffle is an assortment of things messily rearranged.
29. A tumble is a careless, disordered, or sudden fall, and based on the middle sense, the word may also refer to a collection of things in disarray.
30. A welter is a chaotic assortment.

Synonyms for assortment, mixture, and variety derived from names of food dishes are discussed in this post.

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9 Responses to “An Assortment of 30 Synonyms for “Assortment,” “Mixture,” or “Variety””

  • D.A.W.

    From the Wikipedia, we get two such word in the first sentence on one article:
    “In geology, a mélange is a large-scale breccia, a mappable body of rock characterized by a lack of continuous bedding and the inclusion of fragments of rock of all sizes, contained in a fine-grained deformed matrix. The mélange typically consists of a jumble of blocks or rock of varied lithology.”
    So, mélange (melange) and “breccia”. The latter was an unknown word to me until the landings on the Moon by the Apollo Program. Lunar breccia(a) is/are made from the frequent collisions of meteoroids and asteroids with the lunar surface over billions & billions of years. Thus, the stuff is made of a mixture of lunar and meteoritic substances.
    I prefer “melange” because I am an American and I speak English, not French, and in English we do not have wacky diacritical marks. We do not need then. For example, we spell “Francois” just like this.
    The vocabulary of English is a melange, but our alphabet is not.

  • D.A.W.

    Jump to: navigation, search

    A “Wiener Melange” (German for “Viennese Blend”) is a speciality coffee drink similar to a cappuccino. The difference is sometimes assumed to be that the Melange is made with milder coffee, but the Viennese coffee company “Julius Meinl” describes a Wiener Melange as “one espresso shot served in a large coffee cup topped with steamed milk and milk foam”.
    I don’t drink coffee in any way, and so I cannot say more.

  • D.A.W.

    I have mixed some wheelbarrows full of concrete in my life, and it is hard work. That makes motor-driven concrete mixers a GREAT idea, and without them neither the Panama Canal, nor the Interstate Highways system, nor the great concrete dams of the would could have been built. (No Hoover Dam, no Grand Coulee Dam, no Three Gorges Dams – in China, none of the great dams of the TVA.)
    “Aggregate, in materials science, is an ingredient in a composite material that resists compressive stress.” In concrete, this aggregate is made of gravel, sand, and Portland cement, mixed with water. One of the great accomplishments of the Roman Empire was making concrete that will harden underwater – such as in the foundations of bridges, piers, seawalls, and dams. The original “Portland cement” came from the Isle of Portland, off the southern coast of England, but connected to the big island via a sandbar. There used to be a railroad on that sandbar for the purposes of cement mining. (There are prisons on the island, too, so it is England’s version of Alcatraz. So is the Isle of Wight, which was featured in “Patriot Games”.)

    “Construction aggregate”, material used in various kinds of construction, is made from sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, recycled crushed concrete, recycled asphalt pavement, and other such stuff. Asphalt pavement has sand and gravel in it, too.

  • D.A.W.

    “Melange” also has a meaning in music, somewhat similar to a medley.

    “Medley is primarily understood to mean ‘a series of portions of two or more songs’.” This is true, but in competitive swimming, a team in the “medley” relay has four swimmers, each of whom swims a different stroke in this order backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle – where the freestyle is usually the Australian crawl.
    There are also individual medleys for men and for women, and Michael Phelps still holds a world record that he set in China in 2008.

  • D.A.W.

    “Fruit salad” has grown to include mixtures of various sorts – some of which do not have anything to do with eating. (e.g. “Look at the fruit salad on the chest of the admiral’s jacket!”)
    Various kinds of literal fruit salads include Waldorf salad and a tropical salad that my Mother made for holiday meals: “ambrosia”.
    Mother’s ambrosia was a mixture of cut-up oranges, tangerines, bananas, apples, coconut, chopped nuts, cherries, fruit juice, and maybe grapes.
    You could put grapefruit in it, too, but I do not like grapefruit.
    Ambrosia was named for the food of the immortal Greek gods, and they ate it with “nectar”.

  • D.A.W.

    After a good deal of thought, I have concluded that a “collage” is often a collection of photographs (or parts of them) glued together, but a “montage” is a collection of (pieces of) motion pictures, spliced together. Both of these can be either practical or artistic.
    In modern art, Cezanne, Picasso, and Chagall often made paintings that had strong elements of collage work in them.
    In filmmaking, an early master of the montage was the Russian, Sergei Eisenstein. Eisenstein was very much in favor with Josef Stalin because of the great propaganda movies he could make (such as “The Battleship Potemkin”. All of the sailors on that one mutinied against the Czar, they joined the Bolsheviks, and they bombarded Imperial castles and forts. (The men of the cruiser “Aurora” did the same.)
    I have read of the director of a TV program who wanted to set some kind of record. He made a 50-minute TV episode with about 50 splices in it, so the whole TV episode was one long montage. Could it have been an episode of STAR TREK?
    D.A.W.

  • D.A.W.

    A “rummage sale”, but a kind of a search is a “scavenger hunt”.

  • D.A.W.

    In hydrology and petrology (the study of minerals and rocks), there is a melange of materials that forms on the bodies of lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans that is also called “sediment”. A melange! – sand, gravel, clay, lava, boulders, animal skeletons, ferns, tree trunks, shells, whatever. Over millions and billions of years, and under great geological pressure, and depending on what was mostly there, that sediment gets compressed into “sedimentary rock” including sandstone, limestone, coal, petrified wood, thick layers of clay, fossils, and frank breccia(s), made of almost anything that falls into the water.

  • D.A.W.

    Other possibilities:
    foul-up, Fouled-Up Beyond all Understanding (FUBU),
    claptrap, debris, garbage, junk, potluck, rubbish, sediment, trash, mangled-up mess, basket case, tropical rain forest.

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