1

mess

play
noun \ ˈmes \

Definition of mess

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 a :a group of persons who regularly take their meals together
  • every officer with a unit … is obliged to belong to a mess
  • —S. G. Maurice
; also :a meal so taken
b :a place where meals are regularly served to a group :mess hall
  • The soldiers marched to the mess for breakfast.
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 :a large quantity or number
  • They're in a mess of trouble.

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.

Recent Examples of mess from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mess.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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


2

mess

verb

Definition of mess

transitive verb
1 :to provide with meals at a mess
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
3 :to interfere with often used with up
  • magnetic storms that mess up communications
  • Time
4 :to rough up :manhandle often used with up
  • mess him up good so he won't cheat us again
intransitive verb
1 :to take meals with a mess
2 :to make a mess
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
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

Recent Examples of mess from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mess.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of mess

see 1mess



MESS Defined for English Language Learners

mess

play
noun

Definition of mess for English Language Learners

  • : 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


MESS Defined for Kids

1

mess

play
noun \ ˈmes \

Definition of mess for Students

1 :a dirty or untidy state
  • They left things in a mess.
2 :something in a dirty or untidy state
  • Your hair is a mess.
3 :a difficult situation
  • How do you get into these messes?
4 :a group of people (as military personnel) who regularly eat together
5 :a place (as in the military) where meals are served

2

mess

verb

Definition of mess for Students

messed; messing
1 :to make dirty or untidy
  • They messed the place up.
2 :to make mistakes in or mix up
  • She messed up the speech.
3 :to become confused or make an error
  • I messed up the first time.
4 :to use or do in an aimless way
  • I messed around on the computer all afternoon.
5 :to handle in a careless way
  • Stop messing with my camera.
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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