I was trying to figure out the best word to explain the result of making two things, substances or materials one.

I found several words: merger, fusion, mixture, interflow, alligation, and embodiment.

However, I can't precisely understand which to apply when.

I guess there isn't a unique word to use in any context.

If so, then if join two things so that they make one, what word should I use? I know "union" could work, but then they are still rendered as two in one and that's not what I want. You can't separate thenlm afterwards!

If you join two substances together then "a mix" can do, but then how different is it from "mixture"?

If you join two material then "fusion" could perhaps be the best word, right? I mean we add gold into lead for instance, we get a fusion of the two, right?

What's the difference between those words?

  • It depends on the things and on the nature of the unity. Hydrogen and oxygen? Beer and lemonade? Oil and vinegar? Copper and tin? You should consult several good dictionaries before asking a question like this, and describe what remains unclear in your mind afterwards. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 23 '17 at 20:59

The correct word to describe two things being combined changes based on context. For example, we would call two metals combined into one an Alloy.

Merger is used most often to describe two companies joining into one. It is jargon from the world of business, and seems odd in any other context.

Fusion is associated with Nuclear Fusion, and is used to make things sound exciting and futuristic. (For instance, there is a popular disposable razor called the "Fusion". Nobody can explain why.) People who want to make a combination of ideas seem powerful and innovative might use fusion to communicate that. When a restaurant serves food that combines two regional cooking styles, it is called "fusion cuisine".

Mixture is the most mundane and common of the words you suggested. When you are following a recipe to make a cake, you will be asked to mix flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder, then to pour the mixture into the pan. When an artist combines elements of two songs to make a new song, it is called a "re-mix" (but never a mixture).

Interflow is not familiar; It sounds like jargon from a technical profession, perhaps plumbing or metalworking. You should try to avoid jargon unless you are speaking to someone who uses the term.

Alligation is an unusual term which seems to derive from mathematics. A native speaker would assume you meant the legal term Allegation, which means something that is disputed. For example, I might make the Allegation that your thesaurus is producing words a native English speaker would never use.

Embodiment is a common and well-understood word, but it doesn't normally mean a combination of multiple things. An embodiment is something that represents an idea made into physical form. You might say that someone is the embodiment of good taste, or that a building is the embodiment of gothic architecture. An abstract concept that exists in a physical body, is an embodiment of that concept.


Some of these words are very rare:

  • Alligation - I had to look this one up, it is marked as obselete - Don't use it.
  • Embodiment - means something that typifies an abstract quality, nothing to do with mixtures. - not the right word here.
  • Interflow - again I don't know what this means, perhaps if it were in context I would understand it, I suspect it may be a technical word from Earth Science or similar, again - avoid.

The word you use depends on what you are joining/mixing and how you are joining them. So, for example, if you join two businesses together you form a "merger". On the other hand, if you mix metals you get an "alloy" (The alloy of Gold and Lead is useless, as it is so brittle that it crumbles between the fingers, however, lead and tin form a useful alloy called solder.)

As you note, there are many of these words, "Fusion" is often used of music, and of cooking styles. Salt or sugar will form a "solution" in water, whereas carbon and oxygen form a compound. Layering several audio tracks results in a "mix". And so on. It seems that there is no general rule, so you have to learn the meaning of each word as you need it. Fortunately, most of these words are rather uncommon and you can learn them lazily when you need them, and use "mixture" as a generic.

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