I am looking for a single word that describes: a mixture of a lot of things that ends up pretty messed up.

What would that be?

  • 3
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    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 27, 2016 at 7:19
  • Potpourri means a mixture, but the connotation is usually strongly positive. There's another better French/Cajun word for a mixture, but it's not coming to me just now.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 28, 2016 at 1:01
  • @sumelic I think that explaining what was wrong with the words I found is a very nice idea that didn't strike my mind. I'll keep it in mind from the next time. Thanks. Jun 28, 2016 at 4:36
  • Now, you're going to have to explain to me why: 1. you didn't edit your question to clarify 2. why the term amalgam fits. One of its definitions is: an alloy of mercury with another metal, especially one used for dental fillings. What is that ends up pretty messed up about an amalgam?? If anything it is perfectly blended!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 29, 2016 at 5:20

6 Answers 6


My candidate is hodge-podge.

hodgepodge ‎(countable and uncountable, plural hodgepodges)

A collection of miscellaneous things; a jumble.
His latest sculpture is a hodgepodge of kitchen clutter and scrap glued together. In fact, all his recent pieces have been similar hodgepodges.

  • 1653, Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler
    Man's life is but vain, for 'tis subject to pain, / And sorrow, and short as a bubble; / 'Tis a hodge-podge of business, and money, and care, / And care, and money, and trouble.




A concoction is a curious mixture of things, like a bunch of liquids stirred in a cup, or the elaborate and unbelievable story you make up to explain not finishing your homework.

Mix eight different liquids in a glass and you've got a concoction. Scientists create concoctions of chemicals in test tubes, and a bicycle made of junkyard scraps is a concoction too. The word’s Latin root means “cooked together,” referring to when you heat metals in order to purify them. A concoction is also a tall tale told to get out of trouble or entertain someone. If your story has ostriches, trampolines, lasers, and Abraham Lincoln, it’s probably a concoction.


Perhaps you would consider olio, which any dictionary will tell you is a hodgepodge or collection of miscellany. The word is ultimately from the Latin olla (pot), a word which the Spanish adopted for olla podrida, a spicy stew of mixed meat and vegetables. The literal Spanish for the full name means rotten pot, but neither the full name for the dish nor its shortened English cognate have a necessarily pejorative connotation.

  • A couple of times I have put something in my fridge, forgotten about it. To make a long story short, sometimes "podrida" can be a very apt qualifier. Jun 28, 2016 at 0:29


noun 1.1 A mixture of substances or factors, especially when dangerous or unpleasant

"he was killed by a cocktail of drink and drugs"
"A cocktail of substances is now burning from several storage containers, but fire authorities say the blaze is well under control."

  • I think that although cocktail fits in the mixture part very well, it's meaning (in my opinion) is generally associated with a nice mixture (nice as in which isn't messy). Don't you think? I was looking for a mixture which ends up being messy/bad/repulsive. I guess, that's my bad for lack of details in the question. Jun 28, 2016 at 4:52
  • 1
    @sidharth228 There's two ways to look at "cocktail". In my quoted examples, "cocktail" is a messy mixture and it causes problems.
    – NVZ
    Jun 28, 2016 at 4:58

Conglomeration is a good one.

a number of different things, parts or items that are grouped together; collection: a loose conglomeration of pieces.

  • Is this your own definition? If not, you need to include the name of your source (and also a link if it is online).
    – herisson
    Jun 27, 2016 at 19:21

A mélange is a mixture of often incongruous elements.

  • 2
    Hello, Jonathan. Just a heads-up. This answer was flagged as low-quality because of its length and content. Can you cite a reference (dictionary link) or some examples to support your answer?
    – user140086
    Jun 27, 2016 at 13:37

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