mon·grel (mŏnggrəl, mŭng-)
1. An animal or plant resulting from various interbreedings, especially a dog of mixed or undetermined breed.
2. Offensive A person of mixed background or descent.
3. Something that is a mixture or combination of elements: "Purists ... object that bordeaux is a mongrel because it mixes two, three or four grape varieties" (Hugh Johnson).
1. Of mixed origin or character: "English has always been a mongrel tongue, a hybrid of arriving idioms" (Mark Abley).
2. Offensive Being a person of mixed background or descent.
3. Being a mongrel organism.
[Middle English, probably from mong, mixture, from Old English gemang; see mag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.