Melee weapon

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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" as a term in military tactics refers to the close combat between units ("close" as in closer than optimal for the involved units' weapons, not necessarily hand-to-hand combat); it was originally borrowed from French mêlée in the context of Early Modern warfare.

There are two basic divisions: edged weapons, of which examples include swords, spears, axes and knives; and blunt weapons, such as clubs, hammers, staffs, maces, and flails.

See also[edit]


  • 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.