November 19, 2019
Learner's Word of the Day
mess up /ˈmɛsˈʌp/ verb
mess up
/ˈmɛsˈʌp/
verb

messes up; messed up; messing up

“I’m in trouble. I was trying to park the car, and I really messed up.”
“I’m in trouble. I was trying to park the car, and I really messed up.”
Learner's definition of MESS UP

Status: informal

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.

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