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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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

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 in a sentence

  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 and Etymology 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




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 in a sentence

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

14th Century

First Known Use of mess

14th century

MESS Defined for Kids



noun \ˈmes\

Definition of mess for Students

  1. 1 :  a dirty or untidy state <They left things in a mess.>

  2. 2 :  something in a dirty or untidy state <Your hair is a mess.>

  3. 3 :  a difficult situation <How do you get into these messes?>

  4. 4 :  a group of people (as military personnel) who regularly eat together

  5. 5 :  a place (as in the military) where meals are served




Definition of mess for Students



  1. 1 :  to make dirty or untidy <They messed the place up.>

  2. 2 :  to make mistakes in or mix up <She messed up the speech.>

  3. 3 :  to become confused or make an error <I messed up the first time.>

  4. 4 :  to use or do in an aimless way <I messed around on the computer all afternoon.>

  5. 5 :  to handle in a careless way <Stop messing with my camera.>

  6. 6 :  to deal with in a way that may cause anger or trouble <Don't mess with them.>

Seen and Heard

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different from the usual or normal

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