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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce messy (audio)

Dictionary definition of messy

Disorganized, untidy, or disorderly in appearance or condition.
"The kitchen was a messy disaster after the cooking experiment."

Detailed meaning of messy

It suggests a lack of neatness, cleanliness, or systematic arrangement. When used to describe a physical space, "messy" indicates clutter, scattered items, or a general state of disarray. It can refer to a room, desk, or any area that is filled with objects or lacks proper organization. "Messy" can also describe actions, behaviors, or situations that lack clarity, structure, or efficiency. It implies a lack of precision, attention to detail, or adherence to established standards. Additionally, "messy" can be used metaphorically to describe emotional or interpersonal situations that are complicated, confusing, or in a state of turmoil. Overall, "messy" conveys a sense of disorder, chaos, or uncleanliness, both in the physical and metaphorical sense.

Example sentences containing messy

1. The child's room was always messy, with toys strewn across the floor.
2. The painter's studio was filled with messy paint splatters and brushes.
3. She apologized for her messy handwriting on the note.
4. The construction site was messy, with piles of debris and tools scattered around.
5. The rainy weather made the streets outside a messy mix of mud and puddles.
6. He attempted to fix the plumbing issue but ended up making an even messier situation.

History and etymology of messy

The adjective 'messy' has its origins in the Middle English word 'messe,' which meant 'food' or 'dish of food.' Over time, the term evolved to describe a situation where food had been spilled or scattered, leading to disorder and untidiness. This transition from describing a state related to food to a broader sense of disorganization and untidiness reflects the evolution of language and the expansion of meanings over centuries. By the late 19th century, 'messy' came to be used to describe anything that is disorganized, untidy, or disorderly in appearance or condition, extending its scope beyond food-related messes to encompass a wide range of situations and contexts. The etymology of 'messy' thus retains a trace of its culinary origins while conveying the modern sense of disarray and untidiness.

Quiz: Find the meaning of messy

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Further usage examples of messy

1. The art project involved messy materials like glue, glitter, and paint.
2. The toddler enjoyed finger painting but left a messy trail of colors everywhere.
3. The picnic was fun but resulted in a messy aftermath with food scraps and paper plates.
4. The tangled cords behind the computer desk made for a messy and confusing setup.
5. The hurried packing resulted in a messy suitcase with clothes and items haphazardly stuffed inside.
6. Her desk always looks so messy with papers scattered everywhere.
7. Cooking with kids can be fun, but it often results in a messy kitchen.
8. After the art project, the room was a colorful, messy masterpiece.
9. His handwriting is so messy that it's challenging to read.
10. The garage is a messy space filled with tools and equipment.
11. Rainy days make the yard outside look particularly messy.
12. The party left behind a messy trail of confetti and balloons.
13. Moving into a new house can make everything feel temporarily messy.
14. She tried to clean up the messy aftermath of the party.
15. The construction site was a noisy, messy hive of activity.
16. The kids' playroom is always a messy but creative space.
17. His hair was messy, as if he had just woken up.
18. The computer's desktop was cluttered and messy.
19. The attic was a dark, messy place filled with forgotten treasures.
20. The toddler's attempts at painting resulted in a very messy canvas.
21. The workshop was a messy space filled with tools and projects.
22. The picnic table was covered in a messy array of food and drinks.
23. Her attempts at gardening often left the yard looking messy.
24. The teenager's room was the epitome of a messy space.
25. Despite the messy process, baking cookies with her was always enjoyable.



disordered, neat, tidy, organized


High School 18, TOEFL 9, Arrangement and Order

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