Is there any word in the English language that can be used to describe something made by combining parts of many things?

Here are a bunch of more things as requested by some from comments.

I need an adjective. I am describing a programming language that has features from many other existing languages. The sentence I want to use it is on the lines of:

  • In short, this language is a ____ of {names of other languages}

(I know I could use this language has a combination of features from ..., but this (to me) seems to fit in better...)

PS: It would be great if I could even use the word as the name of the language (so even nouns will do), if it's catchy.. :)

  • 2
    It's my first question on this site, please be kind!
    – pradyunsg
    May 3, 2014 at 15:36
  • 2
    combination ?
    – ermanen
    May 3, 2014 at 16:50
  • 1
    There are a lot of words that means this. It would be nice if you can include a context.
    – ermanen
    May 3, 2014 at 17:56
  • 1
    Do you mean "combining many parts", or "combining parts of other things"?
    – starwed
    May 3, 2014 at 18:27
  • 1
    There are many words that could be used - what is the thing you are making, and what are the things you are making it of? May 3, 2014 at 22:16

14 Answers 14


I like composite. (Sent from a tiny keyboarded device so I haven't figured out how to add a link,but you can look it up)

  • 1
    I've proposed an edit that adds a link for Oxford Dictionaries' definition of composite. In the future, you could always just quote the definition if necessary (probably preferred anyway to prevent link rot).
    – Doc
    May 4, 2014 at 3:09
  • @Doc thanks, I haven't even figured out cut & paste yet.
    – Frank
    May 4, 2014 at 3:22
  • The person who said "Frankensteining" is perhaps on the wrong grammatical track, but saying that something is a "Frankenstein's monster" is declaring it composite and making a negative value judgement on the attempt at the same time.
    – Dov
    May 4, 2014 at 19:51

An amalgamation (or something that has been amalgamated) might be close to what you're looking for.


A conglomerate or an agglomerate is something made up of many pieces.

  • 2
    I've also heard "a conglomeration", "an aggregation", and of course "a composition" used as nouns. I'm not convinced there's a significant difference between the two forms.
    – keshlam
    May 3, 2014 at 18:56

Perhaps your programming language is eclectic in that it combines influences from different sources, cf. Eclecticism on Wikipedia. Google finds pages calling at least Perl, Ruby and Clojure eclectic programming languages.

  • This is the word that I came to post. It means exactly what the OP asks.
    – dotancohen
    May 4, 2014 at 11:03

How about aggregate? Sounds like exactly what you need.

  • 1
    aggregation implies multiple objects, but not of disparate types.
    – Dov
    May 4, 2014 at 19:50

A natural language that results from combining elements taken from two or more other languages may be a pidgin or a creole. But as far as I know, neither of these terms applies in a programming context.


How about mishmash ? I think it would be a great programming language name too. :)


I think combination or combined is still your best fit.

combination (n) a collection of things that have been combined; an assemblage of separate parts or qualities

There are two programming languages that has "combined" in their name. There is a combination of features in them.

  • CPL (Combined Programming Language)
  • BCPL (Basic Combined Programming Language)

CPL ( Combined Programming Language ) was developed with the purpose of creating a language that was capable of both high level, machine independent programming and would still allow the programmer to control the behavior of individual bits of information.

Mixed can be used also.

mixed adj. incorporating different systems or elements

There is a specific programming term:

Mixed-language programming is the process of building programs in which the source code is written in two or more languages. Although mixed-language programming presents some additional challenges, it is worthwhile because it enables you to call existing code that may be written in another language.

Mixed language is used in linguistics also:

A mixed language is a language that arises through the fusion of usually two source languages, normally in situations of thorough bilingualism (Meakins, 2013), so that it is not possible to classify the resulting language as belonging to either of the language families that were its sources.

As this is related to programming, you might be asking for "multi-paradigm" language as well:

A multi-paradigm programming language is a programming language that supports more than one programming paradigm.

As Leda designer Timothy Budd puts it: "The idea of a multiparadigm language is to provide a framework in which programmers can work in a variety of styles, freely intermixing constructs from different paradigms."

The design goal of such languages is to allow programmers to use the best tool for a job, admitting that no one paradigm solves all problems in the easiest or most efficient way.

A programming paradigm is a fundamental style of computer programming, a way of building the structure and elements of computer programs.

Capablities and styles of various programming languages are defined by their supported programming paradigms; some programming languages are designed to follow only one paradigm, while others support multiple paradigms.

Lastly, you cannot directly combine different languages because there are different calling conventions and compiler operations.

Here are more details:

  • You might be aware of some of the terms I listed here. I'm just giving a general information for everyone as well.
    – ermanen
    May 4, 2014 at 15:58

You can cobble something together from spare parts. IN UK English you can bodge something together. It is used in the same sense as cobble, ie "to slap together well enough to do the job for now.

Wikipedia says this of 'jury-rigged' (or jerry-rigged, depending on what you learned where you grew up): Jury rigging (also Jerry Rigging) refers to makeshift repairs or temporary contrivances, made with only the tools and materials that happen to be on hand. Originally a nautical term, on sailing ships a jury rig is a replacement mast and yards improvised in case of damage or loss of the original mast. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rig)

For example: We jury-rigged a fix for the broken connector, but we need to replace it immediately.

You could also Rube Goldberg a solution or present that solution as a Rube Goldberg Device (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg_machine) - an example of a Rube Goldberg Device in popular culture is the game MouseTrap.

The verb MacGuyver (from the TV show MacGyver, I'd post a link but not enough rep :D) has also been used in the same sense as Jury Rig. ie I MacGuyver'd a patch for the tire using chewing gum and a postage stamp. This is often used when the constituent parts would seem, on the face of it, to be unsuitable to the task at hand.

Hope it helps.

  • These are all verbs. The question calls for a noun. May 3, 2014 at 18:51
  • Is there any word in the English language that can be used to describe something made by combining parts of many things? Where does it ask that? It asks, if anything, for adjectives. So: cobbled, bodged, jury-rigged, and macguyver'd
    – TedEwen
    May 3, 2014 at 19:14
  • @MattЭллен Are you certain about that? The question is "Is there a word for "made by combining parts of many things." Instinctively, I would reply "assembled" rather than "assembly," don't you agree? :-)
    – Elian
    May 3, 2014 at 19:19
  • @Elian I read it as "Is there a word for something... ?" May 3, 2014 at 19:34
  • The key phrase in the question is "a word to describe". That's an adjective. In defense of my answer, practically any verb can be made into an adjective, usually by using the past tense. So, for example, the verb engrave could be used descriptively (ie as an adjective) by adding the -ed suffix. If I engrave my initials on a silver plate, the plate is now an engraved plate.
    – TedEwen
    May 3, 2014 at 21:07

Well I am sure there is a "real" word for this but the best description that I know and something we use all the time at work is the slang word, frankenstein(ing).

  • To make something from several other similiar things.

My car broke down so I had to Frankenstein a new engine from old Mustang and Corvette parts.

  • Taking bits and pieces of old projects, putting them together and making a new project.

I have a term paper due in the morning but I didn't write a whole new paper. I just frankensteined a couple of old projects together.

The word can basically be used for anything. Common usage revolves around cars, computers, phone, software, coding.

  • See, this one doesn’t have either a link or an attribution.
    – tchrist
    Jul 7, 2014 at 22:48

My favorite choice is 'chimera,' defined as "an imaginary monster compounded of incongruous parts," but frequently used metaphorically in other contexts as well.


"Smorgasbord" seems to fit the bill here. Wiki notes that "In a restaurant, the term refers to a buffet-style table laid out with many small dishes", implying a certain unity (a single table).

  • I think you mean smorgasbord (it’s a table of sandwiches, not an entire castle of them); but I disagree that the word fits. A smorgasbord is a great variety or even a cornucopia of something. If you describe English as being a smorgasbord of Anglo-Saxon, French, and various other languages, you’re saying that English has overwhelming numbers of all these languages, not that it’s made up of parts of all these languages. May 4, 2014 at 14:11

In light of your new edit, consider "melange," "mosaic," "hodgepodge," and "patchwork."


I like 'portmanteau': consisting of or combining two or more aspects or qualities. It's used for example with films that consist of several shorter films or parts of films.

  • 1
    But it's primarily used for something that continues to have two (or more) uses or meanings.
    – alexis
    May 4, 2014 at 10:56

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