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A melee weapon is a weapon used in hand-to-hand combat such as a bladed weapon or a blunt weapon. Melee weapons contrast with ranged weapons.
The term is a neologism, arising in the 1980s from the incipient use of "melee" in gaming.
"Melee" refers to the close combat between units and comes from the French word mêlée ("to mix").
There are two basic divisions: edged weapons, of which examples include swords, spears, axes, knives, and shovels; and blunt weapons, such as clubs, hammers, staffs, maces, and flails.
- Michele Byam (2010-11-30). Arms and Armor, Discover the story of weapons and armor-from Stone Age axes to the battledress of samurai warriors. New York: Dorling Kindersley.