Definition of mess verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    mess

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//mes//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//mes//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they mess
    BrE BrE//mes//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//mes//
     
    he / she / it messes
    BrE BrE//ˈmesɪz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmesɪz//
     
    past simple messed
    BrE BrE//mest//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//mest//
     
    past participle messed
    BrE BrE//mest//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//mest//
     
    -ing form messing
    BrE BrE//ˈmesɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmesɪŋ//
     
     
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    make untidy
  1. 1[transitive] mess something (informal, especially North American English) to make something dirty or untidy Careful—you're messing my hair.
  2. of an animal
  3. 2[intransitive] to empty its bowels somewhere that it should not
  4. Word Origin Middle English: from Old French mes ‘portion of food’, from late Latin missum ‘something put on the table’, past participle of mittere ‘send, put’. The original sense was ‘a serving of (semi-liquid) food’, later ‘liquid food for an animal’; this gave rise (early 19th cent.) to the senses ‘unappetizing concoction’ and ‘predicament’, on which senses 1, 3 and 4 are based. In late Middle English the term also denoted any of the small groups into which the company at a banquet was divided (who were served from the same dishes); hence, ‘a group who regularly eat together’ (recorded in military use from the mid 16th cent.).Idioms (informal) used to say that something has been done easily We finished in time, no messing.
    not mess around(British English also not mess about)
     
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    (informal) to do something quickly, efficiently or in the right way When they decide to have a party they don't mess around.
    Phrasal Verbsmess somebody aboutmess aroundmess around with somebodymess around with somethingmess upmess somebodyupmess somethingupmess with somebody
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: mess