1. Any of various alloys of mercury with other metals, especially:
a. An alloy of mercury and silver used in dental fillings.
b. An alloy of mercury and tin used in silvering mirrors.
2. A combination of diverse elements; a mixture: an amalgam of strength, reputation, and commitment to ethical principles.
[Middle English, from Old French amalgame, from Medieval Latin amalgama, probably ultimately from Greek malagma, soft mass.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.