|1.||a state of confusion or untidiness, esp if dirty or unpleasant: the house was in a mess|
|2.||a chaotic or troublesome state of affairs; muddle: his life was a mess|
|3.||informal a dirty or untidy person or thing|
|4.||archaic a portion of food, esp soft or semiliquid food|
|5.||a place where service personnel eat or take recreation: an officers' mess|
|6.||a group of people, usually servicemen, who eat together|
|7.||the meal so taken|
|8.||mess of pottage a material gain involving the sacrifice of a higher value|
|—vb (often foll by up) (often foll by with)|
|9.||to muddle or dirty|
|10.||(intr) to make a mess|
|11.||to interfere; meddle|
|[C13: from Old French mes dish of food, from Late Latin missus course (at table), from Latin mittere to send forth, set out]|
a portion of food given to a guest (Gen. 43:34; 2 Sam. 11:8).
In addition to the idioms beginning with mess, also see get into trouble (a mess); make a hash (mess) of.