- n. & v.
1 a dirty or untidy state of things (the room is a mess).
2 a state of confusion, embarrassment, or trouble.
3 something causing a mess, e.g. spilt liquid etc.
4 a domestic animal's excreta.
5 a a company of persons who take meals together, esp. in the armed forces. b a place where such meals or recreation take place communally. c a meal taken there.
6 derog. a disagreeable concoction or medley.
7 a liquid or mixed food for hounds etc.
8 a portion of liquid or pulpy food.
1 tr. (often foll. by up) a make a mess of; dirty. b muddle; make into a state of confusion.
2 intr. (foll. by with) interfere with.
3 intr. take one's meals.
4 intr. colloq. defecate.
Phrases and idioms:
make a mess of bungle (an undertaking). mess about (or around)
1 act desultorily.
2 colloq. make things awkward for; cause arbitrary inconvenience to (a person). mess-hall a military dining area. mess-jacket a short close-fitting coat worn at the mess. mess kit a soldier's cooking and eating utensils. mess of pottage a material comfort etc. for which something higher is sacrificed (Gen. 25:29-34). mess tin a small container as part of a mess kit.
Etymology: ME f. OF mes portion of food f. LL missus course at dinner, past part. of mittere send
Useful english dictionary. 2012.