Origin of mass

1350–1400; Middle English masse < Latin massa mass < Greek mâza barley cake, akin to mássein to knead
Related formsmass·ed·ly [mas-id-lee, mast-lee] /ˈmæs ɪd li, ˈmæst li/, adverbun·massed, adjective
Can be confusedmassed mast

Synonym study

5. See size1.

Mass

[mas]

noun

the celebration of the Eucharist.Compare High Mass, Low Mass.
(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

before 900; Middle English masse, Old English mæsse < Vulgar Latin *messa, Late Latin missa, formally feminine of Latin missus, past participle of mittere to send, dismiss; perhaps extracted from a phrase in the service with missa est and a feminine subject

Mass.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for mass

Contemporary Examples of mass

Historical Examples of mass

  • We missed our morning mass, it will do us no harm to hear Nones in the Minster.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • The mass was an ornate one, though not more so than they were accustomed to at Beaulieu.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • In the nearer ranks we may discern the variety of ingredients that compose the mass.

    Biographical Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Gone is the mass of the mountains, the stoniness of rocks, the hard solidity of iron.

  • I thought he was going to give that mass of flowers to me, but he did not.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter


British Dictionary definitions for mass

mass

noun

a large coherent body of matter without a definite shape
a collection of the component parts of something
a large amount or number, such as a great body of people
the main part or majoritythe mass of the people voted against the government's policy
in the mass in the main; collectively
the size of a body; bulk
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 equalSee also inertial mass, gravitational mass
(in painting, drawing, etc) an area of unified colour, shade, or intensity, usually denoting a solid form or plane
pharmacol a pastelike composition of drugs from which pills are made
mining an irregular deposit of ore not occurring in veins

adjective

done or occurring on a large scalemass hysteria; mass radiography
consisting of a mass or large number, esp of peoplea mass meeting

verb

to form (people or things) or (of people or things) to join together into a massthe crowd massed outside the embassy
See also masses, mass in
Derived Formsmassed, adjectivemassedly (ˈmæsɪdlɪ, ˈmæstlɪ), adverb

Word Origin for 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

Mass

noun

(in the Roman Catholic Church and certain Protestant Churches) the celebration of the EucharistSee also High Mass, Low Mass
a musical setting of those parts of the Eucharistic service sung by choir or congregation

Word Origin for 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

Mass.

abbreviation for

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

Word Origin and History for mass
n.1

"lump, quantity, size," late 14c., from Old French masse "lump, heap, pile; crowd, large amount; ingot, bar" (11c.), and directly from Latin massa "kneaded dough, lump, that which adheres together like dough," probably from Greek maza "barley cake, lump, mass, ball," related to massein "to knead," from PIE root *mag- "to knead" (cf. Lithuanian minkyti "to knead," see macerate). Sense extended in English 1580s to "a large quantity, amount, or number." Strict sense in physics is from 1704.

As an adjective from 1733, first attested in mass meeting in American English. mass culture is from 1916 in sociology (earlier in biology); mass hysteria is from 1914; mass media is from 1923; mass movement is from 1897; mass production is from 1920; mass grave is from 1918; mass murder from 1880.

n.2

"Eucharistic service," Old English mæsse, from Vulgar Latin *messa "eucharistic service," literally "dismissal," from Late Latin missa "dismissal," fem. past participle of mittere "to let go, send" (see mission); probably so called from the concluding words of the service, Ite, missa est, "Go, (the prayer) has been sent," or "Go, it is the dismissal."

v.

"to gather in a mass" (intransitive), 1560s, from mass (n.1) or from French masser. Transitive sense by c.1600. Related: Massed; massing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mass in Medicine

mass

[măs]

n.

A unified body of matter with no specific shape.
A grouping of individual parts or elements that compose a unified body of unspecified size or quantity.
The physical volume or bulk of a solid body.
The measure of the quantity of matter that a body or an object contains. The mass of the body is not dependent on gravity and therefore is different from but proportional to its weight.
A thick, pasty pharmacological mixture containing drugs from which pills are formed.
One of the seven fundamental SI units, the kilogram.
massa
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

mass in Science

mass

[măs]

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.

mass in Culture

Mass

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

Note

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.

Mass

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.

Note

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

mass

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.)

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.