"Devastated Indian bands then faced the daunting task of literally reinventing themselves without benefit of accumulated wisdom or kin networks. The decimation and forced migration of native peoples sometimes scrambled them together in wholly new ways. The Catawba nation of the southern piedmont region, for example, was formed from splintered remnants of several different groups uprooted by the shock of the Europeans’ arrival." From the American Pageant by Thomas A. Bailey

According to Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary:

Jumble: to cause (things) to be mixed together in a way that is not neat or orderly
Scramble: to put (parts of something) in the wrong order

I understand here "scramble"means tribes, which were not supposed to be together, were together because of external circumstances.

Would "jumble" be better than "scramble" here? Please comment.

  • Scramble also can figuratively imply mixing things together like a scrambled eggs! – Cardinal May 22 at 13:00
  • Could you please elaborate on it ? How does it fit the context? – luxury20041985 May 22 at 21:16

Personally, I would use mixed or jumbled in this context. As the dictionary definition you have given states: scramble implies the wrong order. This implies that the objects (or in this case people) you're referring to would need a specific order in the first place.

  • I do think people have a specific order before they mix. That perhaps explains why "scramble" is better? – luxury20041985 May 22 at 21:44
  • From the context I would say they were segregated or grouped rather than ordered though. I may have misunderstood the paragraph. Don't get me wrong, I think scrambled does work, it just doesn't quite sound like the best word in the context when I read the sentence out loud. – Bee May 23 at 9:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.