merge vs. mingle

kane159

Member
Czech
Hi,
I hesitate between the words merge and mingle.

If I wanted to express that somebody has become lost in the crowd and can't be found, should I say : He's merged into the crowd or he's mingled with the crowd?
Are these two interchangeable?

Thank you in advance!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    If you are using "crowd", then it's more common to use "mingle". I was surprised, however, to find very few examples for either one in COCA*: "merge with the crowd" only had one example. "Mingle with the crowd" only had eight examples. I don't trust Google searches very much, but "mingle with the crowd" is far more popular there.


    *Corpus of Contemporary American English
     

    kane159

    Member
    Czech
    Thank you for your reply.
    Is there any common word for expressing this? Perhaps a word that's used in a casual conversation? Thank you again!
     
    Although "mingle" is more common with reference to people, if I wanted to say that the person had disappeared in the crowd, I would choose "merge."

    We say that people mingle with or in a crowd, meaning that they are mixed in with the crowd. It also has the particular meaning in a party setting of going about and chatting with different people instead of hanging around the same people (or the same wall or table:)) all night. Even with all this mingling, the person remains separate, an individual component of the larger crowd, part of it but still distinguishable within it.

    On the other hand, if the person has become lost in or has disappeared into the crowd, merge seems more appropriate. It implies that the person is, metaphorically speaking, no longer a separate individual but has merged into an amorphous whole. We also use the phrase "blend in with [the crowd]" to mean the same thing.

    I can't think of a single word for this phenomenon, but "blend in with the crowd" and "got lost in the crowd" are very common expressions.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Oops. I forgot that Kane wanted to say that the person "has become lost in the crowd". I agree with Edgy, then. "Blend in" or "got lost in the crowd" are much better.

    Sorry, Kane. I was so focused on "merge" and "mingle" that I forgot what you were trying to say. I don't think "merge" or "mingle" do a good job at expressing being lost. You should use one of Edgy's suggestions.
     
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