Pronunciation: (mes),[key] —n. 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.
—v.t. 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.
—v.i. 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. Informal.to busy oneself without purpose or plan; work aimlessly or halfheartedly; putter.
b. Informal.to waste time; loaf.
c. Informal.to meddle or interfere.
d. Informal.to involve or associate oneself, esp. for immoral or unethical purposes: His wife accused him of messing around with gamblers. e. Slang.to 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.