Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

mess

play
noun \ˈmes\

Simple Definition of mess

  • : a very dirty or untidy state or condition

  • : something or someone that looks very dirty or untidy

  • : a situation that is very complicated or difficult to deal with

Full Definition of mess

  1. 1 :  a quantity of food: a archaic :  food set on a table at one time b :  a prepared dish of soft food; also :  a mixture of ingredients cooked or eaten together c :  enough food of a specified kind for a dish or a meal <picked a mess of peas for dinner>

  2. 2 a :  a group of persons who regularly take their meals together; also :  a meal so taken b :  a place where meals are regularly served to a group :  mess hall

  3. 3 a :  a disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant state or condition <your room is in a mess> b :  one that is disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant usually because of blundering, laxity, or misconduct <[the movie] is a mess, as sloppy in concept as it is in execution — Judith Crist>

  4. 4 :  a large quantity or number

Examples of mess

  1. He was a mess after gardening all day.

  2. My hair is a mess.

  3. Well, that's another fine mess you've gotten me into!

  4. How do we get ourselves into these messes?

  5. The school system is a mess.

  6. Things were a real mess for a while after she retired.

  7. My life is a complete mess.

  8. She was a real mess for a while after her divorce.

  9. He was a mess during his daughter's wedding ceremony.



Origin of mess

Middle English mes, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin missus course at a meal, from missus, past participle of mittere to put, from Latin, to send — more at smite


First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with mess


2

mess

verb

Definition of mess

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to provide with meals at a mess

  3. 2 a :  to make dirty or untidy :  disarrange —often used with up <don't mess up your room> b :  to mix up :  bungle —often used with up <really messed up my life>

  4. 3 :  to interfere with —often used with up <magnetic storms that mess up communications — Time>

  5. 4 :  to rough up :  manhandle —often used with up <mess him up good so he won't cheat us again>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. 1 :  to take meals with a mess

  8. 2 :  to make a mess

  9. 3 a :  putter, trifle <children like to mess around with paints> b :  to handle or play with something especially carelessly <don't mess with my camera> —often used with around c :  to take an active interest in something or someone <messing around with new video techniques>; also :  interfere, meddle <messing in other people's affairs> <you'd better not mess with me>

  10. 4 :  to become confused or make an error —usually used with up



Examples of mess

  1. <please don't mess with me while I'm trying to concentrate>



14th Century

First Known Use of mess

14th century




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up mess? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 14, 2016

to hug and kiss another person

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

100 pounds 2.2 pounds 16.96 pounds 196.5 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ