mess Definition

  • 1a dirty or untidy state of things or of a place
  • 2a situation or state of affairs that is confused or full of difficulties
  • 3a group of people, especially soldiers, who regularly eat meals together

Using mess: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "mess" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The kitchen was in a mess after the party.

  • Example

    The company's finances were in a mess.

  • Example

    The new manager had to clean up the mess left by his predecessor.

  • Example

    The soldiers gathered in the mess hall for breakfast.

mess Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for mess

Antonyms for mess

Idioms Using mess

  • a person or thing that is a mess in an entertaining or endearing way


    She showed up to the party wearing mismatched shoes and a tutu - she was a hot mess!

  • to do something badly or incorrectly, resulting in a mess


    He made a mess of the presentation by forgetting his notes and stumbling over his words.

  • to waste time or fool around instead of doing something productive


    Stop messing around and finish your homework!

Phrases with mess

  • to create disorder or confusion


    He made a mess of the project by not following the instructions.

  • to fix or resolve a difficult or chaotic situation


    The government needs to clean up the mess caused by the recent scandal.

  • to bother or annoy someone


    Don't mess with her, she's in a bad mood today.

Origins of mess

from Old French 'mes', meaning 'portion of food'


Summary: mess in Brief

The term 'mess' [mes] refers to a state of disorder or confusion, as well as a group of people who eat together. Examples include 'The kitchen was in a mess after the party.' and 'The soldiers gathered in the mess hall for breakfast.' Phrases like 'make a mess' and idioms like 'a hot mess' denote entertaining or endearing disorder, while 'clean up the mess' and 'make a mess of something' imply the need to fix or resolve a difficult situation.

How do native speakers use this expression?