Something miscellaneous is made up of an odd bunch of things — things you might not expect to go together. A breakfast bar, a DVD, and a credit card bill are miscellaneous items that may be in your backpack.

The word miscellaneous comes from the Latin word miscere, meaning “to mix.” You might have heard the expression “a mixed bag,” which applies when you don’t quite know what you’re going to get. That’s true of a bag of miscellaneous objects, too. You might pull out socks and a stick of butter — two things that don’t seem to go together. Similarly, miscellaneous can describe something with many variations, like a person who expresses herself in many different ways.

Definitions of miscellaneous

adj having many aspects

“a miscellaneous crowd”
many-sided, multifaceted, multifarious
characterized by variety

adj consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds

miscellaneous accessories”
assorted, mixed, motley, sundry
heterogeneous, heterogenous
consisting of elements that are not of the same kind or nature

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.