What does mess mean?

Definitions for mess

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word mess.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. mess, messiness, muss, mussinessnoun

    a state of confusion and disorderliness

    "the house was a mess"; "she smoothed the mussiness of the bed"

  2. fix, hole, jam, mess, muddle, pickle, kettle of fishnoun

    informal terms for a difficult situation

    "he got into a terrible fix"; "he made a muddle of his marriage"

  3. messnoun

    soft semiliquid food

    "a mess of porridge"

  4. messnoun

    a meal eaten in a mess hall by service personnel

  5. mess, mess hallnoun

    a (large) military dining room where service personnel eat or relax

  6. batch, deal, flock, good deal, great deal, hatful, heap, lot, mass, mess, mickle, mint, mountain, muckle, passel, peck, pile, plenty, pot, quite a little, raft, sight, slew, spate, stack, tidy sum, wadverb

    (often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent

    "a batch of letters"; "a deal of trouble"; "a lot of money"; "he made a mint on the stock market"; "see the rest of the winners in our huge passel of photos"; "it must have cost plenty"; "a slew of journalists"; "a wad of money"

  7. messverb

    eat in a mess hall

  8. mess, mess upverb

    make a mess of or create disorder in

    "He messed up his room"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Messnoun

    A dish; a quantity of food sent to table together.

    Etymology: mes, old French; messo, Italian; missus, Latin; mes, Gothick; mese , Saxon, a dish.

    The bounteous huswife, nature, on each bush
    Lays her full mess before you. William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens.

    Now your traveller,
    He and his toothpick at my worship’s mess. William Shakespeare.

    I had as lief you should tell me of a mess of porridge. William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor.

    Herbs, and other country messes,
    Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses. John Milton.

    Had either of the crimes been cooked to their palates, they might have changed messes. Decay of Piety.

    From him he next receives it thick or thin,
    As pure a mess almost as it came in. Alexander Pope.

  2. To Messverb

    To eat; to feed.


  1. MESS

    Multi Emulator Super System (MESS) is an emulator for various consoles and computer systems, based on the MAME core. It used to be a standalone program (which has since been discontinued), but is now integrated into MAME (which is actively developed). MESS emulates portable and console gaming systems, computer platforms, and calculators. The project strives for accuracy and portability and therefore is not always the fastest emulator for any one particular system. Its accuracy makes it also useful for homebrew game development.As of April 2015 MESS supported 994 unique systems with 2,106 total system variations. However, not all of the systems in MESS are functional; some are marked as non-working or are in development. MESS was first released in 1998 and has been under constant development since. MAME and MESS were once separate applications, but were later developed and released together from a single source repository. MAMEDEV member David Haywood maintained and distributed UME (Universal Machine Emulator) which combined much of the functionality of MAME and MESS in a single application. On May 27, 2015, MESS was formally integrated with MAME and became a part of MAME.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Messnoun

    mass; church service

  2. Messnoun

    a quantity of food set on a table at one time; provision of food for a person or party for one meal; as, a mess of pottage; also, the food given to a beast at one time

  3. Messnoun

    a number of persons who eat together, and for whom food is prepared in common; especially, persons in the military or naval service who eat at the same table; as, the wardroom mess

  4. Messnoun

    a set of four; -- from the old practice of dividing companies into sets of four at dinner

  5. Messnoun

    the milk given by a cow at one milking

  6. Messnoun

    a disagreeable mixture or confusion of things; hence, a situation resulting from blundering or from misunderstanding; as, he made a mess of it

  7. Messverb

    to take meals with a mess; to belong to a mess; to eat (with others); as, I mess with the wardroom officers

  8. Messverb

    to supply with a mess

  9. Etymology: [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. Mess

    A mess is the place where military personnel socialise, eat, and live. In some societies this military usage has extended to other disciplined services eateries such as civilian fire fighting and police forces. The root of mess is the Old French mes, "portion of food", drawn from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send" and "to put", the original sense being "a course of a meal put on the table". This sense of mess, which appeared in English in the 13th century, was often used for cooked or liquid dishes in particular, as in the "mess of pottage". By the 15th century, a group of people who ate together was also called a mess, and it is this sense that persists in the "mess halls" of the modern military.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Mess

    mes, n. a mixture disagreeable to the sight or taste: a medley: disorder: confusion.—v.t. to make a mess of: to muddle.—adj. Mess′y, confused, untidy. [A form of mash.]

  2. Mess

    mes, n. a dish or quantity of food served up at one time: a number of persons who take their meals together at the same table, esp. in the army and navy: the take of fish at one time.—v.t. to supply with a mess.—v.i. to eat of a mess: to eat at a common table. [O. Fr. mes (Fr. mets), a dish—L. mittĕre, missum, to send, in Low L. to place.]

  3. Mess

    mes, n.=mass.—Mess John, a domestic chaplain.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. mess

    Any company of the officers or crew of a ship, who eat, drink, and associate together. (See NUMBER.) Also, the state of a ship in a sudden squall, when everything is let go and flying, and nothing hauled in.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. mess

    The law is silent with regard to messes in the army. Executive regulations have been made on the subject, but without law it is impossible to put messes on a proper footing. In England, an allowance is granted by the sovereign in aid of the expense of officers’ messes; and every officer on appointment to a corps subscribes one month’s pay to the mess-fund. All the officers of the corps mess together. (See Guard Mess.) In France, the several grades mess separately; lieutenants and sub-lieutenants forming two tables, captains another, and field-officers of different grades generally eating separately also. Generals and colonels of the French service receive an allowance for table expenses, not sufficient to keep open house, but enough to enable them to entertain guests. In the British navy there are generally three messes, namely, the ward-room mess, the gun-room mess, and the engineers’ mess; in the U. S. navy there are two: the ward-room and steerage messes. Enlisted soldiers and seamen, in the army and navy respectively, mess together in tables comprising a certain number, according to squads or rating; but this has no reference to the technical meaning of messing as applied to officers, and is merely for the purpose of economy of fuel and labor in the cooking of their rations.

Suggested Resources

  1. MESS

    What does MESS stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the MESS acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'mess' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1869

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'mess' in Nouns Frequency: #1805

How to pronounce mess?

How to say mess in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of mess in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of mess in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of mess in a Sentence

  1. Longtime Democratic operative Katie McGinty:

    We need partners in Washington to help solve problems, not make them worse, unfortunately, Sen. Pat Toomey has become part of that Washington mess and has left middle class families out and behind.

  2. Sarah Koenig:

    Adnan's case was a mess -- is a mess. That's pretty much where we were when we stopped reporting in 2014, baltimore City Police have told the prosecutor's office they're gon na put someone back on the case. Someone will try to talk to the two suspects Becky [ Feldman, chief of the state's attorney's office sentencing review unit ] identified in the motion. I have zero predictions about what could come of that. But I do know that the chances of the state ever trying to prosecute Adnan Syed again are remote at best.

  3. Jung Hur:

    I was trying to keep on being present, thats the key to play good today. ... If you think about the future, mess up everything. Its really hard to do it, but thats my goal for the whole year.

  4. Sarah Palin:

    Alaskans know I'm the last one who'll ever retreat. Instead, I'm going to reload, with optimism that Alaskans learn from this voting system mistake and correct it in the next election, let's work even harder to send an America First conservative to Washington in November. It's the only way to clean up the mess that President Joe Biden in 2020 and the radical Democrats have made of things.

  5. Graeme McDowell:

    But the schedule, it's a mess next summer, let's be honest, the PGA Tour has had to make some tough decisions. Hopefully, we'll be back to normal the following year. So it's only a one-year deal. Where will I be ? I'll probably be in France...

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for mess

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