Pronunciation Noun


  1. A disagreeable mixture or confusion of things; hence, a situation resulting from blundering or from misunderstanding; disorder.
    He made a mess of it.
    My bedroom is such a mess; I need to tidy up.
  2. (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.
  3. (euphemistic) Excrement.
    There was dog mess all along the street.
    Parked under a tree, my car was soon covered in birds' mess.
  4. (figuratively) A person in a state of (especially emotional) turmoil or disarray; an emotional wreck.
    Between the pain and the depression, I'm a mess.
    He's been a mess and a half ever since you excommunicated him.
Synonyms Translations Verb

mess (messes, present participle messing; past and past participle messed)

  1. (transitive, often used with up) To make untidy or dirty.
    1. To make soiled by defecating.
  2. (transitive, often used with up) To throw into disorder or to ruin.
    • It wasn't right either to be messing another man's sleep.
  3. (intransitive) To interfere.
    This doesn't concern you. Don't mess.
  4. (used with "with") screw around with, to bother, to be annoying with
    Stop messing with me!

mess (plural messes)

  1. (obsolete) Mass; a church service.
  2. (archaic) 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. 1645, John Milton, “L'Allegro”, in Poems of Mr. John Milton, […] , London: Printed by Ruth Raworth for Humphrey Moſely,  […], published 1645, OCLC 606951673 ↗:
      At their savoury dinner set / Of herbs and other country messes.
  3. A number of persons who eat together, and for whom food is prepared in common, especially military personnel who eat at the same table.
    the wardroom mess
    • 1610, William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, IV. iv. 11:
      But that our feasts / In every mess have folly, and the feeders / Digest it with accustom,
  4. A building or room in which mess is eaten.
  5. A set of four (from the old practice of dividing companies into sets of four at dinner).
  6. (US) The milk given by a cow at one milking.

mess (messes, present participle messing; past and past participle messed)

  1. (intransitive) To take meals with a mess.
  2. (intransitive) To belong to a mess.
  3. (intransitive) To eat (with others).
    • 1836, George Simpson & al., HBC Standing Rules and Regulations, §18:
      Resolved 18. That no Guide or Interpreter whether at the Factory Depot or Inland be permitted to mess with Commissioned Gentlemen or Clerks in charge of Posts; but while at the Depot they will be allowed per Week 4 days ordinary rations...
    I mess with the wardroom officers.
  4. (transitive) To supply with a mess.

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