Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

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'

mass

1 noun
     
Related topics: Physics
mass1 W2
1

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
c)

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.
2

crowd

[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.
3

the masses

all the ordinary people in society who do not have power or influence:
The trains provided cheap travel for the masses.
4

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.
5

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
6

science

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

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary