[ mas ]
See synonyms for mass on
  1. a body of coherent matter, usually of indefinite shape and often of considerable size: a mass of dough.

  2. Medicine/Medical, Pathology. an abnormal lump in the body, often in the form of a cyst or tumor: The mass they removed was alarmingly large, but the great news is that it was benign.

  1. a collection of incoherent particles, parts, or objects regarded as forming one body: a mass of sand.

  2. aggregate; whole (usually preceded by in the): People, in the mass, mean well.

  3. a considerable assemblage, number, or quantity: a mass of errors; a mass of troops.

  4. bulk, size, expanse, or massiveness: towers of great mass and strength.

  5. Fine Arts.

    • Painting. an expanse of color or tone that defines form or shape in general outline rather than in detail.

    • a shape or three-dimensional volume that has or gives the illusion of having weight, density, and bulk.

  6. the main body, bulk, or greater part of anything: the great mass of American films.

  7. Physics. the quantity of matter as determined from its weight or from Newton's second law of motion. Abbreviation: m: Compare weight (def. 2), relativistic mass, rest mass.

  8. Pharmacology. a preparation of thick, pasty consistency, from which pills are made.

  9. the masses, the ordinary or common people as a whole; the working classes or the lower social classes.

    • pertaining to, involving, or affecting a large number of people: mass unemployment; mass migrations.

    • affecting a number of people, but more than two and typically a large number: mass murder;a mass shooting.

  1. participated in or performed by a large number of people, especially together in a group: mass demonstrations; mass suicide.

  1. pertaining to, involving, or characteristic of the mass of the people: the mass mind; a movie designed to appeal to a mass audience.

  2. reaching or designed to reach a large number of people: television, newspapers, and other means of mass communication.

  3. done on a large scale or in large quantities: mass destruction.

verb (used without object)
  1. to come together in or form a mass or masses: The clouds are massing in the west.

verb (used with object)
  1. to gather into or dispose in a mass or masses; assemble: The houses are massed in blocks.

Origin of mass

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English masse, from Latin massa “mass,” from Greek mâza “barley cake,” akin to mássein “to knead”

synonym study For mass

6. See size1.

Other words for mass

Opposites for mass

Other words from mass

  • mass·ed·ly [mas-id-lee, mast-lee], /ˈmæs ɪd li, ˈmæst li/, adverb
  • un·massed, adjective

Words that may be confused with mass

Words Nearby mass

Other definitions for Mass (2 of 3)

[ mas ]

  1. the celebration of the Eucharist.: Compare High Mass, Low Mass.

  2. (sometimes lowercase) a musical setting of certain parts of this service, as the Kyrie eleison, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei.

Origin of Mass

First recorded before 900; Middle English masse, Old English mæsse, from Vulgar Latin messa (unrecorded), from Late Latin missa, feminine of Latin missus “sent,” past participle of mittere “to send, dismiss”; perhaps extracted from a phrase in the service containing a feminine subject and missa est “(it) is sent”

Other definitions for Mass. (3 of 3)


  1. Massachusetts. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mass in a sentence

  • Charred beams and blackened walls showed stark and gaunt in the glow of a smoldering mass of wreckage.

    The Red Year | Louis Tracy
  • But hitherto, before these new ideas began to spread in our community, the mass of men and women definitely settled down.

    The Salvaging Of Civilisation | H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
  • The Turks were no longer in mass but extended in several lines, less than a pace between each man.

  • Thus among the huge mass of accumulated commodities the simplest wants would go unsatisfied.

  • Edward Winslow died; one of the first settlers of Plymouth colony, mass., and afterwards its governor.

British Dictionary definitions for mass (1 of 3)


/ (mæs) /

  1. a large coherent body of matter without a definite shape

  2. a collection of the component parts of something

  1. a large amount or number, such as a great body of people

  2. the main part or majority: the mass of the people voted against the government's policy

  3. in the mass in the main; collectively

  4. the size of a body; bulk

  5. physics a physical quantity expressing the amount of matter in a body. It is a measure of a body's resistance to changes in velocity (inertial mass) and also of the force experienced in a gravitational field (gravitational mass): according to the theory of relativity, inertial and gravitational masses are equal: See also inertial mass, gravitational mass

  6. (in painting, drawing, etc) an area of unified colour, shade, or intensity, usually denoting a solid form or plane

  7. pharmacol a pastelike composition of drugs from which pills are made

  8. mining an irregular deposit of ore not occurring in veins

  1. done or occurring on a large scale: mass hysteria; mass radiography

  2. consisting of a mass or large number, esp of people: a mass meeting

  1. to form (people or things) or (of people or things) to join together into a mass: the crowd massed outside the embassy

Origin of mass

C14: from Old French masse, from Latin massa that which forms a lump, from Greek maza barley cake; perhaps related to Greek massein to knead

Derived forms of mass

  • massed, adjective
  • massedly (ˈmæsɪdlɪ, ˈmæstlɪ), adverb

British Dictionary definitions for Mass (2 of 3)


/ (mæs, mɑːs) /

  1. (in the Roman Catholic Church and certain Protestant Churches) the celebration of the Eucharist: See also High Mass, Low Mass

  2. a musical setting of those parts of the Eucharistic service sung by choir or congregation

Origin of Mass

Old English mæsse, from Church Latin missa, ultimately from Latin mittere to send away; perhaps derived from the concluding dismissal in the Roman Mass, Ite, missa est, Go, it is the dismissal

British Dictionary definitions for Mass. (3 of 3)


abbreviation for
  1. Massachusetts

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for mass


[ măs ]

  1. A measure of the amount of matter contained in or constituting a physical body. In classical mechanics, the mass of an object is related to the force required to accelerate it and hence is related to its inertia, and is essential to Newton's laws of motion. Objects that have mass interact with each other through the force of gravity. In Special Relativity, the observed mass of an object is dependent on its velocity with respect to the observer, with higher velocity entailing higher observed mass. Mass is measured in many different units; in most scientific applications, the SI unit of kilogram is used. See Note at weight. See also rest energy General Relativity.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for mass (1 of 3)


In physics, the property of matter that measures its resistance to acceleration. Roughly, the mass of an object is a measure of the number of atoms in it. The basic unit of measurement for mass is the kilogram. (See Newton's laws of motion; compare weight.)


In music, a musical setting for the texts used in the Christian Church at the celebration of the Mass, or sacrament of Communion. Most Masses have been written for use in the Roman Catholic Church.

Notes for Mass

Many composers have written Masses; among them are Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Josef Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Leonard Bernstein, and Duke Ellington.

The common name in the Roman Catholic Church, and among some members of the Anglican Communion, for the sacrament of Communion.

Notes for Mass

In the Middle Ages in England, mass meant a religious feast day in honor of a specific person; thus, “Christ's Mass,” or Christmas, is the feast day of Christ; and Michaelmas is the feast day of the angel Michael.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.