Heterogeneous can be used to describe the diversity of nearly anything — populations, classrooms, collections. A heterogeneous array of immigrants passed through Ellis Island to help create the American "melting pot."

An easy way to remember the meaning of this word is that homo is the same and hetero is different. So, a homogeneous group of puppies might consist of apricot-colored poodles, while a heterogeneous group might consist of a hodgepodge of different pups ranging from dachshunds to dalmatians. Anytime you are confronted with a group whose members are not all similar to one another, you have an opportunity to trot out heterogeneous.

Definitions of heterogeneous
  1. adjective
    consisting of elements that are not of the same kind or nature
    “the population of the United States is vast and heterogeneous
    synonyms: heterogenous, hybrid
    having variety of character or form or components; or having increased variety
    assorted, miscellaneous, mixed, motley, sundry
    consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds
    including markedly dissimilar elements
    inhomogeneous, nonuniform
    not homogeneous
    unlike in nature, quality, form, or degree
    characterized by variety
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    homogeneous, homogenous
    all of the same or similar kind or nature
    not diversified
    consistent, uniform
    the same throughout in structure or composition
    of one substance or character throughout
    self-colored, self-coloured, solid
    of the same color throughout
    homogenised, homogenized
    made homogeneous
    uniform, unvarying
    always the same; showing a single form or character in all occurrences
    closely similar or comparable in kind or quality or quantity or degree
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  2. adjective
    originating outside the body
    synonyms: heterogenous
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    autogenic, autogenous
    originating within the body
    self-generated, self-produced
    originating from the self
    brought about by yourself
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