verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- Informal.to busy oneself without purpose or plan; work aimlessly or halfheartedly; putter.
- Informal.to waste time; loaf.
- Informal.to meddle or interfere.
- Informal.to involve or associate oneself, especially for immoral or unethical purposes: His wife accused him of messing around with gamblers.
- Slang.to trifle sexually; philander.
- to make dirty, untidy, or disordered.
- to make muddled, confused, etc.; make a mess of; spoil; botch.
- to perform poorly; bungle: She messed up on the final exam.
Origin of mess
Synonyms for mess
Antonyms for mess
Related Words for messingdisturb, complicate, discombobulate, befuddle, perturb, clutter, derange, fluster, loiter, botch, flub, confuse, muddle, spoil, bungle, sully, debase, pollute, tarnish, smear
Examples from the Web for messing
Contemporary Examples of messing
Lets rap about new feminism, hip-hop and infidelity," she begins, "You got a good girl / Why she messing with a bad guy?Elevator Music Beyoncé Doesn’t Want to Hear: Jay Z’s ‘Mistress’ Drops ‘Sorry Mrs. Carter’
August 8, 2014
[Laughs] I had one moment where I had to mix it up with a guy who was messing around with a friend of mine at the bar.Mark Ruffalo Blasts Iraq’s GOP Warmongers, Talks ‘Begin Again’ and ‘Avengers’
June 30, 2014
He believed that life could only be understood by messing about in it in high and low fashion.Poet and Rake, Lord Byron Was Also an Interventionist With Brains and Savvy
February 16, 2014
By discussing her mammary travails so openly, Jolie runs the risk of messing with the fantasy.Angelina’s Bold Boob Move
May 14, 2013
Together, we can make Washington take a break from messing w/ the Internet.Rep. Darrell Issa Turns to Reddit for Internet Moratorium Bill
November 28, 2012
Historical Examples of messing
Chips was there the whole afternoon on his knees, messing with putty and red-lead.Chance
Now, what did ye come on board here for, messing into my affairs?
But it was not according to Mayo's calculation, messing with steamboat men.
Fires are concealed as much as possible and the messing is done by reliefs.
Additional instructions may be given for messing, feeding, watering, etc.
Word Origin for mess
c.1300, "food for one meal, pottage," from Old French mes "portion of food, course at dinner," from Late Latin missus "course at dinner," literally "a placing, a putting (on a table, etc.)," from past participle of mittere "to put, place," in classical Latin "to send, let go" (see mission).
Meaning "communal eating place" (especially a military one) is first attested 1530s, from earlier sense of "company of persons eating together" (early 15c.), originally a group of four. Sense of "mixed food," especially for animals, (1738) led to contemptuous use for "jumble, mixed mass" (1828) and figurative sense of "state of confusion" (1834), as well as "condition of untidiness" (1851). General use for "a quantity" of anything is attested by 1830. Meaning "excrement" (of animals) is from 1903.
late 14c., "serve up in portions," from mess (n.). Meaning "take one's meals" is from 1701; that of "make a mess" is from 1853. Related: Messed; messing. To mess with "interfere, get involved" is from 1903; mess up "make a mistake, get in trouble" is from 1933 (earlier" make a mess of," 1909), both originally American English colloquial.
In addition to the idioms beginning with mess
- mess around
- mess up
- mess with
- get into trouble (a mess)
- make a hash (mess) of