messes up; messed up; messing up
1 : to make a mistake : to do something incorrectly
About halfway into the recipe, I realized that I had messed up, and I had to start over.
— often followed by on
She’s afraid she’ll mess up on the test.
I messed up on my first attempt.
2 a mess (something) up or mess up (something) : to make mistakes when you are doing or making (something)
2 b mess (something) up or mess up (something) : to make (something) dirty or untidy : to make a mess of (something)
Don’t mess up my room
The wind messed up her hair. = Her hair got messed up in the wind.
2 c mess (something) up or mess up (something) : to damage or ruin (something)
She's really messed up her life
His life has been messed up by his drug addiction.
to damage or change (something) so that it does not work properly
I don't know what I did, but I somehow messed up the computer.
My watch has been messed up [=has not worked properly] ever since I dropped it in the sink.
The mountains messed up the cell phone signal.
3 a mess (someone) up or mess up (someone) US : to beat and injure (someone)
He got messed up [=roughed up, beaten up] by a gang of bullies.
They messed him up pretty badly.
3 b mess (someone) up or mess up (someone) : to make (someone) very upset and unhappy
Breaking up with her boyfriend has really messed her up.
She’s been pretty messed up ever since she broke up with her boyfriend.