Melting pot

Photo of author


Melting pot is an idiom that is generally considered an American term. We will examine the meaning of the idiom melting pot, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

A melting pot is a place where people from diverse backgrounds assimilate into a new, strong culture. The idea is that people in a melting pot will influence others to adopt the best of their cultures; in turn, a new culture is created influenced by vibrant, origin cultures. America has long been considered a melting pot because of its settlement by many waves of immigrants from all over the world. Americans generally consider this influx of new ideas and energy to be invigorating to the American culture, though today, most immigrants are encouraged to assimilate yet retain a tie with their origin cultures. The expression melting pot to mean a pot in which all things melt together has been in use since the 1500s; however, the figurative meaning of melting pot has been in use the latter 1800s. The idiom melting pot became very popular after a play of the same name was produced by English playwright Israel Zangwill in 1908.


Barcelona is a melting pot of heritage and cutting edge technology, as much as a melting pot of Catalans and every nationality in the world. (AV Magazine)

Season four of Fargo leans into the grim irony of America’s melting pot, telling a sprawling story of those who take the heat but aren’t welcome to share the feast. (Vanity Fair)

For centuries, the United States has been commonly referred to as a melting pot of cultures, and the census now allows people of various races to be counted and to share in the allocation of resources based in part on the decennial national population survey. (The Journal Review)