Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: mes 'food', from Late Latin missus 'course at a meal', from Latin mittere 'to send'


1 noun
mess1 S2


[singular, uncountable] if there is a mess somewhere or a place is a mess, things there are dirty or not neatly arranged:
What a mess!
Sorry - the place is a bit of a mess.
When I got home, the house was a complete mess.
in a mess British English
The burglars left the house in an awful mess.
You can make cookies if you promise not to make a mess in the kitchen.
clear/clean up the mess
Whoever is responsible for this mess can clear it up immediately!
She hates mess.


[singular, uncountable] a situation in which there are a lot of problems and difficulties, especially as a result of mistakes or carelessness:
My life's such a mess.
in a mess
The economy is in a terrible mess.
You got us into this mess, Terry. You can get us out of it.
All she could do was pray that, somehow, she might be able to sort out the mess she had got herself into.

make a mess of (doing) something

to do something badly:
I feel I've made a real mess of my marriage.
Many people make a mess of handling money.


be a mess

informal if someone is a mess, they look dirty and untidy, or are in a bad emotional state

a mess of something

American English informal a lot of something:
a mess of fresh fish


[countable]PMDF a room in which members of the army, navy etc eat and drink together:
We had lunch in the officers' mess.

waste substance

[uncountable and countable] British English informal solid waste from an animal:
The dog's made a mess on the carpet.

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