I am looking for a word that describes a collection of unorganized or somewhat organized and unrelated little things. The word is similar to "toolbox", which can describe a collection of unrelated tools.

I know the following sentences are awkward, I'll try my best to explain. Little things refer to an object (not neccessarily physical, could be something like computer programs or paragraphs) that is too small/little/insignificant to occupy a place on its own.

For example, I write a software that calculates the sum of two numbers. It is not significant enough for me to have a webpage for it, however, I could put it on a page for a collection of such little programs along with a software that outputs "hello, world". The title of this page would be "My _____ of programs".

Thank you.

  • "Potpourri" is often used to describe a mixture of miscellaneous items. – Hot Licks Jan 17 '15 at 0:52
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    There's always a Borges class. – John Lawler Jan 17 '15 at 0:58
  • @JohnLawler surely this is a matter of what to name a menagerie from the 12th category only. – Jon Hanna Jan 17 '15 at 1:03
  • Well, the quotation is from the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. Actually, I was wondering what kind of mathematical structure would be useful to describe the categories and levels that Borges tosses around so cavalierly. – John Lawler Jan 17 '15 at 1:07
  • Maybe a tchotchke? A "grab bag"? "Odds and Ends"? – Elliott Frisch Jan 17 '15 at 3:32

11 Answers 11


Miscellany seems the obvious choice.

Melange, medley and hodgepodge could all have a place.

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  • Hodgepodge! That's the word that was at the tip of my tongue. All of these are good words, although hodgepodge might be the most relevant word informally. – Jonathan Spirit Jan 17 '15 at 0:45

One of my favorite words for this is farrago.

farrago a confused mixture; hodgepodge; medley


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Assortment would be a good word to fill the blank.


A miscellaneous collection of things or people:

"My assortment of programs."

Since 1791, the etymology seems to suggest the very unsorted sort you mention:


1610s, "action of assorting,"

from assort + -ment.

Sense of "group of things of the same sort" is attested from 1759;

that of "group of things whether the same sort or not" from 1791.


late 15c., "to distribute into groups,"

from Middle French assortir (15c.),

from Old French assorter "to assort, match,"

from a- "to" (see ad-) + sorte "kind" (see sort).


late 14c., "group of people, animals, etc.; kind or variety of person or animal,"

from Old French sorte "class, kind,"

from Latin sortem (nominative sors) "lot; fate, destiny; share, portion; rank, category; sex, class, oracular response, prophecy,"

from PIE root *ser- (3) "to line up"

(cognates: Latin serere "to arrange, attach, join;" see series).

The sense evolution in Vulgar Latin is from "what is allotted to one by fate," to "fortune, condition," to "rank, class, order." Later (mid-15c.) "group, class, or category of items; kind or variety of thing; pattern, design."

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Junk Drawer is a good metaphor for that, if a teeny bit pejorative.

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Detritus flotsam and jetsam

little bits and pieces of extra stuff, sometimes used to describe waste or trash, but more often tidbits of use to the owner, and mistaken for meaningless rubbish by the uninformed.

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What about "my miscellaneous collection"?

miscellaneous - "consisting of diverse things or members" MW

or "my chest of assorted programs"

assorted - "consisting of various kinds" MW

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salmagundi, grab bag (2 words), mixed bag (2 words), smorgasbord, assortment, miscellany, potpourri, variety, motley

And check any of those or others in other answers here for synonyms.

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"My eclectic mix/group/collection of programs".

Eclectic meaning composed of elements drawn from various sources.

Or instead of eclectic you could use "heterogeneous" - composed of parts of different kinds; having widely dissimilar elements or constituents.

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How about Motley? It's usually used for characters but it does cover for "assortment" at times when I want something to sound even more unexpected.

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    "Motley" is generally used as an adjective in the US. – Hot Licks Oct 19 at 0:29

I always liked the title Percy Aldridge Grainger gave his collection of folksongs from Lincolnshire: "A Lincolnshire Posy"

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  • Please explain in full how this relates to a question about "a collection of unrelated things", since folksongs from Lincolnshire are related by their nature as folksongs from Lincolnshire. – Matt E. Эллен Dec 9 '15 at 16:00

GITHERMENTS - A random assortment of unmatching things.

The internet told me this is a word. I use it and no one has ever called me on it ;)

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  • You say the internet told you. Could you give us a link? – Chenmunka Feb 15 '16 at 9:19

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