I. noun Etymology: Middle English mes, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin missus course at a meal, from missus, past participle of mittere to put, from Latin, to send — more at smite Date: 14th century 1. a quantity of food: a. archaic food set on a table at one time b. a prepared dish of soft food; also a mixture of ingredients cooked or eaten together c. enough food of a specified kind for a dish or a meal <
picked a mess of peas for dinner
2. a. a group of persons who regularly take their meals together; also a meal so taken b. a place where meals are regularly served to a group ; mess hall 3. a. a disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant state or condition <
your room is in a mess
b. one that is disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant usually because of blundering, laxity, or misconduct <
[the movie] is a mess, as sloppy in concept as it is in execution — Judith Crist
made a mess of his life
4. a large quantity or number <
a mess of problems
II. verb Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. to provide with meals at a mess 2. a. to make dirty or untidy ; disarrange — often used with up <
don't mess up your room
b. to mix up ; bungle — often used with up <
really messed up my life
3. to interfere with — often used with up <
magnetic storms that mess up communications — Time
4. to rough up ; manhandle — often used with up <
mess him up good so he won't cheat us again
intransitive verb 1. to take meals with a mess 2. to make a mess 3. a. putter, trifle <
children like to mess around with paints
b. to handle or play with something especially carelessly <
don't mess with my camera
— often used with around c. to take an active interest in something or someone <
messing around with new video techniques
; also interfere, meddle <
messing in other people's affairs
you'd better not mess with me
4. to become confused or make an error — usually used with up <
got another chance and messed up again

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Mess — (m[e^]s), n. [OE. mes, OF. mets, LL. missum, p. p. of mittere to put, place (e. g., on the table), L. mittere to send. See {Mission}, and cf. {Mass} religious service.] 1. A quantity of food set on a table at one time; provision of food for a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mess — Mess, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Messed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Messing}.] To take meals with a mess; to belong to a mess; to eat (with others); as, I mess with the wardroom officers. Marryat. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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