\ ˈme-sē How to pronounce messy (audio) \
messier; messiest

Definition of messy

1 : marked by confusion, disorder, or dirt : untidy a messy room
2 : lacking neatness or precision : careless, slovenly messy thinking
3 : extremely unpleasant or trying messy lawsuits a messy divorce

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Other Words from messy

messily \ ˈme-​sə-​lē How to pronounce messily (audio) \ adverb
messiness \ ˈme-​sē-​nəs How to pronounce messiness (audio) \ noun

Examples of messy in a Sentence

Painting a room can be messy work. Some kinds of glue are messier than others. a delicious but messy sandwich
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Recent Examples on the Web Some people had planted flower beds, but many back yards were messy, strewn with spare building materials and old cars. Larissa Macfarquhar, The New Yorker, "How Prosperity Transformed the Falklands," 29 June 2020 After Florida started allowing no-fault absentee voting following the messy 2000 election, Republicans embraced mail-in voting and organized around it in order to win elections. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Republican nightmare: Trump vote-by-mail demonizing driving down GOP participation," 26 June 2020 Lots, especially: whom to blame for MLB’s messy negotiations. Susan Slusser,, "A’s Plus: Back to work? What does it all mean?," 24 June 2020 Cas will help guide her clients through both to turn their messy houses into comfortable, livable places. Katey Clifford, al, "’Hot Mess House’ series premiere | How to watch, live stream, TV channel, time," 24 June 2020 Simply tie up your hair with a decorative scrunchie and your messy ponytail is instantly elevated. Andrea Jordan, Better Homes & Gardens, "Yes, You Can Wear Hair Accessories at Any Age—Here's How," 23 June 2020 Irons and Aspen reported violations and cleaned up messy camps along the river. Author: Roger Kaye, Anchorage Daily News, "In new documentary, ‘rewilding’ a home painstakingly crafted in the Alaska Bush," 22 June 2020 The experience has traditionally been full of hassle with thousands of colors, confusing product lines, messy sampling, and a cumbersome customer journey that requires back-and-forth trips to the store. Rachel King, Fortune, "The founder of paint supply startup Clare on how to use your brand as a social platform," 19 June 2020 Ridley enters into this messy arena with the intent of organizing the intellectual clutter. Jon Gertner, Washington Post, "An exploration of ‘How Innovation Works’," 18 June 2020

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

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First Known Use of messy

1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for messy

Time Traveler

The first known use of messy was in 1627

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Statistics for messy

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Messy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for messy


How to pronounce messy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of messy

: not clean or tidy
: carelessly made or done : not careful or precise
: causing or involving a mess : likely to make something dirty or sticky


\ ˈme-sē How to pronounce messy (audio) \
messier; messiest

Kids Definition of messy

1 : not clean or tidy a messy room
2 : causing or making a mess a messy art project
3 : not careful or precise messy writing

Other Words from messy

messiness \ ˈme-​sē-​nəs \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on messy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for messy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with messy

Spanish Central: Translation of messy

Nglish: Translation of messy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of messy for Arabic Speakers

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