Definition of make a mess of in US English:

make a mess of


  • 1Ruin or spoil (something)

    ‘he ends up making a mess of the story’
    • ‘Contracting and placement agencies have this nice habit of taking the perfect resume that you spent hours on and totally making a mess of it.’
    • ‘The outfits doing the censoring are re-working the movies however they see fit, which the directors claim can make a mess of their work.’
    • ‘She dismisses him as the kind of person who makes a mess of everything.’
    • ‘I sighed and took a seat next to my baby brother who was eating cheerios with his hands, making a mess of the highchair.’
    • ‘This is one sketch of an idea for the cover of a book about twin sisters, one of whom develops a bad attitude that makes a mess of her life.’
    • ‘I made several pots of coffee, and worked on frying up 2lbs of bacon and making a mess of the eggs.’
    • ‘He's made a mess of his chance to lead the country.’
    • ‘A pig made a mess of his vegetable garden.’
    • ‘In her attempt to pick the glass up, she flipped her plate over, making a mess of food and wine all over the table.’
    • ‘The rain made a mess of our paleontological pursuits.’
    1. 1.1 Do (something) very badly or ineptly.
      ‘leaders made a mess of dealing with the aftermath’
      • ‘I grabbed for my camera and made a mess of switching it on.’
      • ‘She made a mess of quitting, and it destroyed her credibility.’
      • ‘Manufacturers are making a mess of implementing the system.’
      • ‘He made a mess of flipping the burgers on his grill.’
      • ‘He made a mess of explaining who would end up paying more tax to fund his promises.’
      • ‘For a long time, the government made a mess of trying to protect science.’
      • ‘The international community repeatedly made a mess of handling the many demands that were made for "humanitarian intervention".’
      • ‘No-one missed the fact that he had made a mess of buttoning on his braces.’
      • ‘The leaders who made a mess of dealing with the aftermath.’
      • ‘She taught him the national anthem so he would not make the same mistake as his predecessor, who famously made a mess of mouthing the words.’