Pronunciation: (mes), [key]
1. a dirty, untidy, or disordered condition: The room was in a mess.
2. a person or thing that is dirty, untidy, or disordered.
3. a state of embarrassing confusion: My affairs are in a mess.
4. an unpleasant or difficult situation: She got into a mess driving without a license.
5. a dirty or untidy mass, litter, or jumble: a mess of papers.
6. a group regularly taking their meals together.
7. the meal so taken.
8. See mess hall.
9. Naval. messroom.
10. a quantity of food sufficient for a dish or a single occasion: to pick a mess of sweet corn for dinner.
11. a sloppy or unappetizing preparation of food.
12. a dish or quantity of soft or liquid food: to cook up a nice mess of pottage.
13. a person whose life or affairs are in a state of confusion, esp. a person with a confused or disorganized moral or psychological outlook.

1. to make dirty or untidy (often fol. by up): Don't mess the room.
2. to make a mess or muddle of (affairs, responsibilities, etc.) (often fol. by up): They messed the deal.
3. to supply with meals, as military personnel.
4. to treat roughly; beat up (usually followed by up): The gang messed him up.

1. to eat in company, esp. as a member of a mess.
2. to make a dirty or untidy mess.
3. mess around or about,
a. busy oneself without purpose or plan; work aimlessly or halfheartedly; putter.
b. waste time; loaf.
c. meddle or interfere.
d. involve or associate oneself, esp. for immoral or unethical purposes: His wife accused him of messing around with gamblers.
e. trifle sexually; philander.
4. mess in or with, to intervene officiously; meddle: You'll get no thanks for messing in the affairs of others.
5. mess up,
a. to make dirty, untidy, or disordered.
b. to make muddled, confused, etc.; make a mess of; spoil; botch.
c. to perform poorly; bungle: She messed up on the final exam.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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