From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmessmess1 /mes/ ●●● S2 noun 1 dirty/untidy [singular, uncountable]DIRTYUNTIDY if there is a mess somewhere or a place is a mess, things there are dirty or not neatly arranged What a mess! Sorry – the place is a bit of a mess. When I got home, the house was a complete mess.in a mess British English The burglars left the house in an awful mess. You can make cookies if you promise not to make a mess in the kitchen.clear/clean up the mess Whoever is responsible for this mess can clear it up immediately! She hates mess.2 problems/difficulties [singular, uncountable]PROBLEM a situation in which there are a lot of problems and difficulties, especially as a result of mistakes or carelessness My life’s such a mess.in a mess The economy is in a terrible mess. You got us into this mess, Terry. You can get us out of it. All she could do was pray that, somehow, she might be able to sort out the mess she had got herself into.3 → make a mess of (doing) something4 → be a mess5 → a mess of something6 army/navy [countable]PMDF a room in which members of the army, navy etc eat and drink together We had lunch in the officers’ mess.7 waste substance [countable, uncountable] British English informalHBHHBA solid waste from an animal The dog’s made a mess on the carpet.
Examples from the Corpusmess• The welfare system in this country is a mess.• Her swollen lips burned and she knew she must look a mess.• He looked a mess, his face covered in bruises and dried blood.• If the dog makes a mess, you clean it up!• My hair's a mess.• We love having our grandchildren visit, but they always leave such a mess for us to clean up.• The inside of the hall was a mess of rubble and charred beams.• Dave's life was a mess.• The girls were being taken in at night after we left and what a mess we got in the morning!• There were cups and ashtrays everywhere - what a mess!• California's political map is a chaotic mess of overlapping cities, counties and school districts.• Looking at the economic mess this country is in demonstrates clearly that we need some guidelines and we need them fast.• There is still a way out of this economic mess, if Mr Gorbachev can summon up the courage to take it.• Part of the mess were 2 dead medics who were sleeping on cots in the building.• We spent the morning tidying up the mess after the party.• Eric! Get in here and clean up this mess!• The house is a total mess.clear/clean up the mess• Regulators are busily clearing up the mess.• This keeps him happy until it is time to go to the nursery by which time she has cleared up the mess.• The jubilant crowd joined them in the apartment for a celebration and to help clean up the mess.• But they are merely marginal figures that mostly clean up the mess.• Mr Marland wants action to clean up the mess once and for all.• We need an election and a Labour Government to clear up the mess.• Just write and go back later to clean up the mess.• He then commanded one of his daughters-in-law to clean up the mess.sort out ... mess• How did they sort out the mess?• Now banks and councils have to sort out the mess.• They are the ones who, at present, have to sort out the mess after the degree ceremonies have been long forgotten.• In the end President Mitterrand chose his friend Pierre Berge, head of a fashion house, to sort out the mess.• Its Transitional Assistance Group was utterly inadequate to sort out the mess.• Fortunately, the head keeper arrived before Father, and he managed to sort out the mess.• Now lawyers for all sides are trying to sort out the mess.the officers’ mess• Back at the Barracks Maxim had to wait until after midnight before he had the officers' mess video machine to himself.• He watches them at dinner in the officers' mess and he thinks he knows why they look so satisfied with themselves.• Behrend who entertained us in the Officers' Mess for an evening meal and breakfast.made a mess• The shell hit the roof of the building and made a mess of the inside of the building.• The Conservatives introduced the poll tax and made a mess of implementing it.• She may have made a mess of her life; she may have faced problems beyond your comprehension.• An explosion would have made a mess of them, and matchsticks of that tub.• He made a mess of things in the park, but it's the first time he's got it wrong.• She made a mess of her life.• It may be that Gary McAllister simply made a mess of his penalty kick.• My last chance and I've made a mess of it.messmess2 ●●○ S3 verb 1 [transitive] to make something look untidy or dirty He scratched his head and messed his hair even more.2 [intransitive, transitive] British English if an animal or person messes something, they use the wrong place as a toilet He was so drunk that he messed the bed.3 → no messing4 [intransitive]PMDF to have meals in a room where members of the army, navy etc eat together → mess around → mess around with somebody/something → mess up → mess with somebody/something→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusmess• Above all, why were these chaps messing around with helium-filled contraptions, in an age of routine rocketry?• We were like each other; she knew what she wanted and she didn't mess around.• So even when he'd got the drop on them they could still count on messing him around somehow.• The team improves, and the weaselly son gets too profit-minded and temporarily messes things up by selling Ed.• At first they think the builders have messed up the drains.• There remains the danger that the national farming crisis might mess up the Six Nations fixtures.• Hey, man, are you messing with my Phyllis?• The lowest levels of activities are not messed with.Origin mess1 (1200-1300) Old French mes “food”, from Late Latin missus “course at a meal”, from Latin mittere “to send”