Melee (/ˈml/ or /ˈmɛl/, French: mêlée [mɛle]; the French spelling is also quite frequent in English writing) generally refers to disorganized close combat in battles fought at abnormally close range with little central control once it starts.

The French term was first used in English in c. 1640 (a re-borrowing of a lost Middle English melle, but the Old French borrowing survives in medley and meddle).

In military aviation, a melee has been described as "[a]n air battle in which several aircraft, both friend and foe, are confusingly intermingled".

Lord Nelson described his tactics for the Battle of Trafalgar as inducing a "pell mell battle" focused on engagements between individual ships where the superior morale and skill of the Royal Navy would prevail.