mess (noun, verb) past tense: messed LISTEN
If something is a mess, or in a mess, it means that it is dirty or untidy.
- Our house is in a mess at the moment.
- I’m wearing a hat today because my hair’s a mess.
If you mess something up, it means that you make it dirty or untidy. And if you make a mess, it has the same meaning.
- Don’t mess up the floor – I just cleaned it!
- She always makes a mess when she cooks.
If you mess something up, it can also mean that you do something badly.
- I totally messed up my driving test.
If something is messy, it means that it is dirty or untidy. For example, “My daughter’s room is very messy.”
In pop culture
Do you know the movie Mary Poppins? It’s about a magical nanny who helps children and their families. In this video from the movie, Mary Poppins wants the children to tidy their room, because it’s in a mess. She tells them that tidying can be fun if they make it a game. She uses her magic to tidy things, and the children try to do it too. Why can’t the boy use her magic?
There are other meanings of mess.