Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A disorderly or dirty accumulation, heap, or jumble: left a mess in the yard.
  • n. A cluttered, untidy, usually dirty condition: The kitchen was a mess.
  • n. A confused, troubling, or embarrassing condition; a muddle: With divorce and bankruptcy proceedings pending, his personal life was in a mess.
  • n. One that is in such a condition: clothes that were a mess after painting the ceiling; made a mess of their marriage.
  • n. An amount of food, as for a meal, course, or dish: cooked up a mess of fish.
  • n. A serving of soft, semiliquid food: a mess of porridge.
  • n. A group of people, usually soldiers or sailors, who regularly eat meals together.
  • n. Food or a meal served to such a group: took mess with the enlistees.
  • n. A mess hall.
  • transitive v. To make disorderly or soiled; clutter or foul: a puppy that still messes the floor.
  • transitive v. To botch; bungle.
  • intransitive v. To cause or make a mess.
  • intransitive v. To use or handle something carelessly; fiddle: messed with the blender until he broke it.
  • intransitive v. To intrude; interfere: messing in the neighbors' affairs.
  • intransitive v. To take a meal in a military mess.
  • mess around Informal To pass time in aimless puttering.
  • mess around Informal To associate casually or playfully: liked to mess around with pals on days off.
  • mess around Informal Informal To be sexually unfaithful.
  • mess up Informal To make a mistake, especially from nervousness or confusion: messed up and dropped the ball.
  • mess up Slang To beat up; manhandle: got messed up in a brawl.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Mass; church service.
  • n. 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 a beast at one time.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A set of four; — from the old practice of dividing companies into sets of four at dinner.
  • n. The milk given by a cow at one milking.
  • v. To take meals with a mess.
  • v. To belong to a mess.
  • v. To eat (with others).
  • v. To supply with a mess.
  • n. A disagreeable mixture or confusion of things; hence, a situation resulting from blundering or from misunderstanding; a disorder.
  • n. A large quantity or number.
  • n. excrement

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Mass; church service.
  • n. 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 a beast at one time.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A set of four; -- from the old practice of dividing companies into sets of four at dinner.
  • n. The milk given by a cow at one milking.
  • n. A disagreeable mixture or confusion of things; hence, a situation resulting from blundering or from misunderstanding.
  • intransitive v. To take meals with a mess; to belong to a mess; to eat (with others).
  • transitive v. To supply with a mess.
  • transitive v. To make a mess{5} of; to disorder or muddle; to muss; to jumble; to disturb; to mess up.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To share a mess; eat in company with others or as a member of a mess; take a meal with any other person: as, I will mess with you to-day.
  • To supply with a mess: as, to mess cattle.
  • To sort in messes for the table, as meat.
  • To make a mess of; disorder, soil, or dirty.
  • To muddle; throw into confusion: as, he messes the whole business.
  • Mass. See by the mass, under mass.
  • n. A supply or provision of anything to be eaten at one meal; a quantity of food sufficient for one or more persons for a single occasion: as, a mess of peas for dinner; a mess of oats for a horse.
  • n. In fishing, the amount or number of fish taken; the take or haul of fish.
  • n. A number of persons who eat together at the same table; especially, a group of officers or men in the army or navy who regularly take their meals in company.
  • n. A set of four; any group of four persons or things: originally as a convenient subdivision of a numerous company at dinner, a practice still maintained in the London inns of court.
  • n. A disorderly mixture or jumble of things; a state of dirt and disorder: as, the house was in a mess.
  • n. A situation of confusion, disorder, or embarrassment; a muddle: as, to get one's self into a mess.
  • n. An obsolete form of mass
  • n. An obsolete form of mace.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. soft semiliquid food
  • n. a state of confusion and disorderliness
  • v. eat in a mess hall
  • n. (often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent
  • n. informal terms for a difficult situation
  • n. a meal eaten in a mess hall by service personnel
  • v. make a mess of or create disorder in
  • n. a (large) military dining room where service personnel eat or relax

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps a corruption of Middle English mesh ("for mash"), compare muss.

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.