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See more synonyms for messy on Thesaurus.com
adjective, mess·i·er, mess·i·est.
  1. characterized by a dirty, untidy, or disordered condition: a messy room.
  2. causing a mess: a messy recipe; messy work.
  3. embarrassing, difficult, or unpleasant: a messy political situation.
  4. characterized by moral or psychological confusion.
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Origin of messy

First recorded in 1835–45; mess + -y1
Related formsmess·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for messiness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But in spite of the messiness, it was the best food he had eaten in days.

    The Time Traders

    Andre Norton

  • The messiness of the place merely made the madness of the whole program seem worse.

    The Fourth R

    George Oliver Smith

British Dictionary definitions for messiness


adjective messier or messiest
  1. dirty, confused, or untidy
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Derived Formsmessily, adverbmessiness, noun
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 messiness



1843, "untidy," from mess (n.) + -y (2). Figurative use ("unethical") by 1924. Related: Messily; messiness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper