mass

1 of 5

noun (1)

1
capitalized : the liturgy of the Eucharist (see eucharist sense 1) especially in accordance with the traditional Latin rite (see rite sense 1)
2
often capitalized : a celebration of the Eucharist (see eucharist sense 1)
Sunday masses held at three different hours
3
: a musical setting for the ordinary of the Mass
Bach's Mass in B Minor

mass

2 of 5

noun (2)

1
a
: a quantity or aggregate of matter usually of considerable size
b(1)
(2)
: massive quality or effect
(3)
: the main part or body
the great mass of the continent is buried under an ice capWalter Sullivan
(4)
: aggregate, whole
men in the mass
c
: the property of a body that is a measure of its inertia and that is commonly taken as a measure of the amount of material it contains and causes it to have weight in a gravitational field
2
: a large quantity, amount, or number
a mass of material
3
a
: a large body of persons in a group
a mass of spectators
b
: the great body of the people as contrasted with the elite
often used in plural
the underprivileged and disadvantaged massesC. A. Buss

mass

3 of 5

verb

massed; massing; masses

transitive verb

: to form or collect into a mass

intransitive verb

: to assemble in a mass
three thousand students had massed in the plazaA. E. Neville

mass

4 of 5

adjective

1
a
: of or relating to the mass of the people
mass market
also : being one of or at one with the mass : average
mass man
b
: participated in by or affecting a large number of individuals
mass destruction
c
: having a large-scale character
mass plantings of tulips
2
: viewed as a whole : total
the mass effect of a design

Mass

5 of 5

abbreviation

Choose the Right Synonym for mass

bulk, mass, volume mean the aggregate that forms a body or unit.

bulk implies an aggregate that is impressively large, heavy, or numerous.

the darkened bulk of the skyscrapers

mass suggests an aggregate made by piling together things of the same kind.

a mass of boulders

volume applies to an aggregate without shape or outline and capable of flowing or fluctuating.

a tremendous volume of water

Examples of mass in a Sentence

Verb A large crowd of demonstrators massed outside the courthouse. Clouds were massing on the horizon. The generals massed their troops. Adjective Television is a mass medium.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Trending topics were whatever users were talking most about: the latest iPhone, Pi Day, or more pressing subjects like mass shootings and protests. Kylie Robison, Fortune, 12 Apr. 2024 For owners of AR-15s, the weapon of choice for many recent mass shootings, the probability plummeted by over 20 percentage points. Gabrielle Lamarr Lemee, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2024 Of course, that's the anniversary of this mass shooting. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2024 The shockwaves from a mass shooting at a popular Doral bar last weekend are still reverberating as families, city officials and police grapple with the aftermath. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 10 Apr. 2024 The hostage families have become a political force in Israel, staging mass protests to demand more be done to free their relatives. Alex Marquardt, CNN, 10 Apr. 2024 The more traditional, non-generative AI could fuel mass challenges to thousands of voters’ eligibility, risking wrongful purges from voter rolls and burdening election offices. Mekela Panditharatne, TIME, 10 Apr. 2024 Effects of climate change worsening in every part of the US, report says Walter Piper, the lead author of the study and a biology professor at Chapman University, said that loon chick mass is an indication of how healthy, well-fed and likely chicks are to survive. Gaby Vinick, ABC News, 10 Apr. 2024 Madonna paused her Miami concert on April 9 to honor the 49 victims of the 2016 mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. Thania Garcia, Variety, 10 Apr. 2024
Verb
Where cars and crowds of people once massed, only tendrils of smoke rise from smoldering piles of trash, sending a bitter taste into the air. Caitlin Stephen Hu, CNN, 18 Mar. 2024 This crisis has had ripple effects on Iraqi Kurdish society and is one of the contributing factors to mass emigration and the 2021-22 migrant crisis on Belarus’s border. Melik Kaylan, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 Attacks and arson have also displaced thousands of people who have massed into dozens of displacement camps across the city. Jennifer Hansler, CNN, 20 Mar. 2024 But Russia’s ability to mass produce its drones on an industrial scale is also a pressing problem. Yurii Shyvala, New York Times, 12 Mar. 2024 March to War In March 2021, the Russian military started massing troops along the border with Ukraine. Michael Schwirtz, New York Times, 25 Feb. 2024 On return journeys, their boats were first full of food and medicine — then later, with explosives and Ukrainian soldiers, who secretly massed on the Dnieper’s western shores. Washington Post, 5 Feb. 2024 In Berlin two weeks ago, farmers in their tractors from across Germany massed in the city center near the Brandenburg Gate, blocking access to parliament. William Booth, Washington Post, 29 Jan. 2024 Israel has tens of thousands of troops massed outside Gaza, waiting for orders to invade the territory, where some 200 Israelis seized in the Hamas raid are being held hostage. Eric Nagourney, New York Times, 24 Oct. 2023
Adjective
If ocean temperatures don’t return to normal, bleaching can lead to mass coral death, threatening the species and food chains that rely on them with collapse. Rebecca Wright, CNN, 15 Apr. 2024 The president pursued the rulemaking route after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down his original plan for mass student loan forgiveness, which used a law that gives the president special authority during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Alia Wong, USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2024 But force is mass times acceleration, and the MV Dali weighed at least 220 million pounds—more than 50,000 cars. Brian Klaas, The Atlantic, 10 Apr. 2024 Despite the scrutiny and mass public interest surrounding them, Camilla, 76, and Charles, 75, continue to prove the depth of their connection on the throne today. Zoey Lyttle, Peoplemag, 9 Apr. 2024 Orenburg’s regional prosecutor cautioned citizens against taking part in mass meetings. Reuters, NBC News, 9 Apr. 2024 Days after the killings, McDonald made the unprecedented decision to criminally charge the parents for a mass school shooting committed by their child. Kim Bellware, Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2024 Most of the groups, referred to locally as bandits, are behind an epidemic of mass kidnap-for-ransom attacks that have proliferated across Africa's most populous country, rising during one of the toughest economic periods in decades. Emmanuel Akinwotu, NPR, 9 Apr. 2024 The mass emergence that comes when these two broods dig up from beneath the ground will be a far cry from the annual occurrences, David Althoff, a professor at Syracuse University's Department of Biology, told ABC News. Andy Fies, ABC News, 7 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mass.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English mæsse, modification of Vulgar Latin *messa, literally, dismissal at the end of a religious service, from Late Latin missa, from Latin, feminine of missus, past participle of mittere to send

Noun (2)

Middle English masse, from Anglo-French, from Latin massa, from Greek maza; akin to Greek massein to knead — more at mingle

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Adjective

1733, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of mass was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near mass

Cite this Entry

“Mass.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mass. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

mass

1 of 4 noun
1
capitalized : a series of prayers and ceremonies forming the eucharistic service especially of the Roman Catholic Church
2
often capitalized : a celebration of the Eucharist
3
: a musical setting for parts of the Mass

mass

2 of 4 noun
1
a
: a quantity of matter or the form of matter that holds or clings together in one body
a mass of metal
b
: large size : bulk
c
: the principal part : main body
2
: the quantity of matter in a body
weight is the force on a mass due to gravity
3
: a large amount or number
4
plural : the common people

mass

3 of 4 verb
: to form or collect into a mass

mass

4 of 4 adjective
1
: of, relating to, or designed for the mass of the people
mass market
2
: participated in by or affecting a large number of individuals
mass demonstrations
Etymology

Noun

Old English mæsse "religious service," from Latin missa, literally "dismissal at the end of a religious service," derived from earlier missus, past participle of mittere "to send"

Noun

Middle English masse "a large body or quantity of material," from early French masse (same meaning), from Latin massa (same meaning), from Greek maza "mass"

Medical Definition

mass

noun
1
: the property of a body that is a measure of its inertia, that is commonly taken as a measure of the amount of material it contains, that causes it to have weight in a gravitational field, and that along with length and time constitutes one of the fundamental quantities on which all physical measurements are based
2
: a homogeneous pasty mixture compounded for making pills, lozenges, and plasters
blue mass

Legal Definition

mass

1 of 2 noun
: an aggregation of usually similar things (as assets in a succession) considered as a whole

mass

2 of 2 adjective
: participated in by or affecting a large number of individuals
mass insurance underwriting
mass tort litigation

More from Merriam-Webster on mass

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