a. A cluttered, untidy, usually dirty place or condition: The kitchen was a mess.
b. Something that is disorderly or dirty, as a accumulation or heap: Who left the mess on the kitchen floor?
a. A confused, troubling, or embarrassing condition or situation: With divorce and bankruptcy proceedings pending, his personal life was in a mess.
b. One that is in such a condition: They made a mess of their marriage. Her boyfriend is a real mess.
a. An amount of food, as for a meal, course, or dish: cooked up a mess of fish.
b. A serving of soft, semiliquid food: a mess of porridge.
a. A group of people, usually soldiers or sailors, who regularly eat meals together.
b. Food or a meal served to such a group: took mess with the enlistees.
c. A mess hall.
verbmessed, mess·ing, mess·es
To make disorderly or dirty: The wind has messed your hair. The puppy messed the floor.
Phrasal Verbs: mess around (or about)
- To cause or make a mess.
- To intrude; interfere: messing in the neighbors' affairs.
- To take a meal in a military mess.
To pass time aimlessly or frivolously.To associate casually or playfully: liked to mess around with pals on days off.
To be sexually unfaithful. mess up
To botch; bungle: messed up the entire project.
To make a mistake, especially from nervousness or confusion: messed up and dropped the ball. Slang
To beat up; manhandle: got messed up in a brawl.
To cause to be confused or troubled: The divorce really messed him up. mess with
To use or handle something carelessly; fiddle: messed with the remote until he broke it.
To fight or get into conflict with: I wouldn't mess with him—he knows judo.
To tease or play a joke on: Don't let that remark bother you—she's just messing with you.
Origin of mess
Middle English mes course of a meal, food, group of people eating together from
Old French from
Late Latin missus from
Latin past participle of mittere to place
- A quantity of food set on a table at one time; provision of food for a person or party for one meal; also, the food given to an animal at one time.
- A mess of pottage.
- A number of persons who eat together, and for whom food is prepared in common; especially, persons in the military or naval service who eat at the same table.
- the wardroom mess
- A set of four (from the old practice of dividing companies into sets of four at dinner).
- (US) The milk given by a cow at one milking.
(third-person singular simple present messes, present participle messing, simple past and past participle messed)
- (intransitive) To take meals with a mess.
- (intransitive) To belong to a mess.
- (intransitive) To eat (with others).
- I mess with the wardroom officers.
- To supply with a mess.
Middle English mes, Old French mets, Late Latin missum, from mittere (“to put, place") (e.g. on the table), Latin mittere (“to send"). See mission, and compare Mass (“religious service").
- A disagreeable mixture or confusion of things; hence, a situation resulting from blundering or from misunderstanding; a disorder.
- He made a mess of it.
- My bedroom is such a mess, I need to tidy up.
- (colloquial) A large quantity or number.
- My boss dumped a whole mess of projects on my desk today.
- She brought back a mess of fish to fix for supper.
- (euphemistic) Excrement.
- There was dog mess all along the street.
- Parked under a tree, my car was soon covered in birds' mess.
Perhaps a corruption of Middle English mesh (“for mash"), compare muss.