mess ( messes plural & 3rd person present) ( messing present participle) ( messed past tense & past participle )
1 n-sing If you say that something is amess or in amess, you think that it is in an untidy state.
also no det
The house is a mess..., Linda can't stand mess.
2 n-var If you say that a situation is amess, you mean that it is full of trouble or problems. You can also say that something is in amess.
I've made such a mess of my life., ...the many reasons why the economy is in such a mess...
3 n-var Amess is something liquid or sticky that has been accidentally dropped on something.
I'll clear up the mess later.
4 n-count The mess at a military base or military barracks is the building in which members of the armed forces can eat or relax.
...a party at the officers' mess... mess around
in BRIT, also use mess about
1 phrasal verb If you mess around or mess about, you spend time doing things without any particular purpose or without achieving anything.
We were just messing around playing with paint... V P
Boys and girls will enjoy messing about with any kind of machine. V P with n
2 phrasal verb If you say that someone is messing around with or messing about with something, you mean that they are interfering with it in a harmful way.
I'd like to know who's been messing about with the pram. V P with n
3 phrasal verb If someone is messing around or messing about, they are behaving in a joking or silly way.
I thought she was messing about. V P
4 phrasal verb If you mess someone around or mess them about, you treat them badly, for example by not being honest with them, or by continually changing plans which affect them.
I think they've been messed around far too much. V n P mess up
1 phrasal verb If you mess something up or if you mess up, you cause something to fail or be spoiled.
INFORMAL When politicians mess things up, it is the people who pay the price... V n P
He had messed up one career... V P n (not pron)
If I messed up, I would probably be fired. V P
2 phrasal verb If you mess up a place or a thing, you make it untidy or dirty.
INFORMAL I hope they haven't messed up your video tapes. V P n (not pron), Also V n P
3 phrasal verb If something messes someone up, it causes them to be very confused or worried, or to have psychological problems.
INFORMAL That really messed them up, especially the boys. V n P, Also V P n (not pron) mess with phrasal verb If you tell someone not to mess with a person or thing, you are warning them not to get involved with that person or thing.
You are messing with people's religion and they don't like that... V P n
Do you know who you're messing with<endash>do you know who I am? V P n