Sense: 1-2,5-6
Date: 1300-1400
Language: French
Origin: masse, from Latin massa, from Greek maza
Sense: 3-4
Date: 800-900
Language: Vulgar Latin
Origin: missa 'sending away at the end of a religious service', from Latin mittere 'to send'


1 noun
mass1 W2

large amount

a) [countable]HP a large amount of a substance which does not have a definite or regular shape:
The food had congealed into a sticky mass.
mass of
a high mass of rock
b) [countable usually singular] a large amount or quantity of something
mass of
a huge mass of data

masses of something

British English informal a large amount of something, or a lot of people or things:
Masses of books covered every surface in the room.


[singular] a large crowd
mass of
There was a mass of people around the club entrance.
The road was blocked by a solid mass of protesters.

the masses

all the ordinary people in society who do not have power or influence:
The trains provided cheap travel for the masses.

the mass of people/the population/workers etc

most of the people in a group or society [= the majority]:
The war is strongly supported by the mass of the population.

church ceremony

also Mass
a) [uncountable and countable] the main ceremony in some Christian churches, especially the Roman Catholic Church, which celebrates the last meal that Jesus Christ ate:
What time do you go to mass?
morning/evening/midnight etc Mass
Will I see you at morning Mass?
say/celebrate Mass (=perform this ceremony as a priest)
High Mass
b) [countable] a piece of music written to be performed at the ceremony of mass:
Mozart's Mass in C minor


[uncountable] technicalHP the amount of material in something:
The sun makes up 99.9% of the mass of our solar system.

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