Writing an article; sought a synonym for ‘mélange’. Looked through Collins thesaurus; rediscovered ‘salmagundi’ and also found some words I didn’t know. Flicked through Macquarie Australian Encyclopaedic Dictionary (published 2006) to find specific definitions of aforementioned words. Couldn’t find ‘salmagundi’ – from ‘sally’ it skips to ‘salmon’ – but noticed that the entry ‘shit’ contains 44 definitions, nuances and expressions, plus ten main entries involving the word, e.g. ‘shitload’. Mused on national anthem apropos of our contribution to the language: Advance Coprolalia Fair? Could find that on history’s page only by reading between the lines.

Back to topic at hand. Knew I could trust my old (1992) Collins dictionary. Picked it up: dustjacket gone, back cover, with useful conversion tables, gone. Found ‘salmagundi’ as expected; even provided a variant spelling. Noted three main references for ‘sally’, and six words between the last reference and ‘salmon’.

Thesaurus listed ‘olio’ as another synonym for ‘mélange’. Macq. didn’t have ‘olio’ but gave 17 names by which ‘polony’ is known. However, the Macq. has it over Collins in one minor respect: its short biographies of Australian identities. For example, the artist Margaret Olley isn’t given any mention in Collins but has a respectable biopic in the Macq. Nonetheless, in my opinion ‘Collins’ comes before ‘Macquarie’ in more ways than alphabetically. Haven’t looked at the Oxford; it would likely ruin the progression.

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