Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Menagerie

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is menagerie. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Menagerie is used to refer to a collection of animals kept especially to be shown to the public, as well as a place where such animals are kept. It can also refer more broadly to any varied mixture.

// The aviary featured a menagerie of exotic birds.

// The living room is eclectically furnished with a menagerie of garage sale finds.

MENAGERIE in Context

“Beatrix Potter created a delightful Peter Rabbit in her 1902 book publication, then went on to write about and draw a whole menagerie of related animal friends.” — Brenda Yenke,, 10 Mar. 2022

Did You Know?

Back in the days of Middle French, ménagerie meant “the management of a household or farm” or “a place where animals are tended.” When English speakers adopted menagerie in the 1600s, they applied it specifically to places where wild and often also foreign animals were kept and trained for exhibition, as well as to the animals so kept. This second meaning was eventually generalized to refer to any varied mixture, especially one that includes things that are strange or foreign to one’s experience.

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