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  Dictionary Definition of mess

1. a dirty or untidy condition: the room was in a mess.
2. a state of embarrassing confusion: his affairs are in a mess.
3. an unpleasant or difficult situation: to get into a mess.
4. a dirty or untidy mass, litter, or jumble: a mess of papers.
5. excrement, especially of an animal.
6. a place where service personnel, etc., eat together.
7. a place used by officers and senior NCOs for eating, recreation, and entertaining.
8. Navy. the living quarters of the crew.
9. a group regularly taking meals together.
10. the meal so taken.
11. a sloppy or unappetising preparation of food.
12. a dish or quantity of soft or liquid food.
13. Colloquial a person whose life is confused or without coherent purpose, often due to psychological difficulties.
-- verb (t)
14. Also, mess up. to make dirty or untidy: mess up a room.
15. to make a mess of, or muddle (affairs, etc.).
-- verb (i)
16. to eat in company, especially as a member of a mess.
17. to make a dirty or untidy mess.
-- phrase
18. mess around ; mess about, Colloquial a. to busy oneself in a untidy or confused way. b. to waste time. c. to play the fool.
19. mess around with, to associate, especially for immoral or illegal purposes.
20. mess in, Colloquial to meddle officiously: to mess in politics.
21. mess someone around ; mess someone about, Colloquial to cause inconvenience to (a person).
22. mess with, Colloquial to associate with; have dealings with: don't mess with him, he's trouble.
[ME mes, OF: lit., put (on the table), from L missum, pp. neut., sent, put]