Main definitions of mass in English

: mass1Mass2

mass1

noun

  • 1A coherent, typically large body of matter with no definite shape.

    ‘a mass of curly hair’
    ‘from here the trees were a dark mass’
    • ‘The townspeople moved as quickly as they could to get back to their homes, and the main street was just a mass of dark forms running and fleeing.’
    • ‘Everything was swirling together into a mass of blackness, shot through with bolts of red, green and gold.’
    • ‘A mass of striking silhouettes in shades of reds, yellows and whites can give the effect of a living, growing sculpture.’
    • ‘The storm spun a mass of dark clouds across the sky.’
    • ‘Saffron saw a mass of shapes growing near in the fore viewport.’
    • ‘The bats, in what looked like a solid mass of bodies, were releasing their toe-hold and dropping into flight.’
    • ‘Venus is covered in a mass of clouds which are thought to be a couple of miles thick and made up of sulphuric acid.’
    • ‘As soon as I was able to see again, I noticed the silver car making its way up the driveway, trailing a mass of dust behind it.’
    • ‘He looked forward, and saw a mass of dark shadows moving in the same direction he was, only slower, and the shadows were all armed.’
    • ‘Words blurred together into a mass of sound, as Izzy looked at the woman beside her, slumped over pain and tiredness being etched into her very being.’
    • ‘At the opposite end of what passed for the main street of the village, a group of the attackers had gathered, a mass of dark shapes and forms.’
    • ‘The sky was a dome of darkness over their heads, the stars blotted out by a mass of thick, dark clouds.’
    • ‘Suddenly a figure formed and it was like a floating mass, air shaped like a body.’
    • ‘She looked ridiculous with a mass of dark red hair jutting out in awkward directions.’
    • ‘It was some sort of creature made from what can only be described as pure darkness, its body a mass of swirling shadow.’
    pile, heap, stack, clump, cloud, bunch, bundle, lump
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Any of the main portions in a painting or drawing that each have some unity in color, lighting, or some other quality.
      ‘the masterly distribution of masses’
      • ‘The solid background of the Byzantine mosaic forms the most obvious colour mass, against which the figures in a scene are set.’
      • ‘His golden glows and ghostly, bluish lights articulate masses more elemental than any particular subject in nature.’
      • ‘That delicacy tempers the dynamic of the mass of reddest orange, which tapers rapidly from the lower left corner on a trajectory to the upper right.’
      • ‘The looming mass might be a storm, nightfall or pollution; in any case, the effect is undeniably foreboding.’
      • ‘Her textured masses never seem to be simply formalist constructions, even when viewers don't know her history.’
  • 2A large number of people or objects crowded together.

    ‘a mass of cyclists’
    • ‘A mass of doctors and nurses come swarming into the room.’
    • ‘From where I was seated, it looked like a mass of writhing bodies, drinks sloshing around as people carelessly pushed through the crowd.’
    • ‘Mia spoke as she moved past the mass of people that crowded the streets of the market square.’
    • ‘The prisoners hurried to the gate in a mass of thin bodies.’
    • ‘The canteen was getting more and more cramped by the second and I found myself having to bump and nudge my way through the mass of students crowded in front of the exit.’
    • ‘He grabbed two wires and then pressed them together, sending a mass of sparks all over the engine.’
    • ‘I turn back to the mass of people crowding around me.’
    • ‘The train station was crowded with the usual mass of commuters going to work along with a horde of kids going to school.’
    • ‘A mass of runners swarmed the roads for one of the towns' biggest yearly events.’
    • ‘The small pane of glass was filled with a mass of dark, dangerous shadows, every last one of them clamouring to get inside.’
    • ‘His thoughts were interrupted by a mass of soldiers and at least two carriages driving past.’
    • ‘We push through a mass of bodies, eyes locked forwards, until the front is within sight.’
    • ‘The next thing was the mass of people that crowded between him and that door, and the way they all seemed to move together like waves.’
    • ‘A mass of anti-war protesters packed the streets of London last Saturday.’
    • ‘Beneath the swirling gray clouds a mass of sharply-peaked rooftops jutted up like a range of mountains.’
    • ‘From this elevated angle, the crowd looked like a mass of glowing angels doing some sort of celestial dance.’
    • ‘When he was fully in the door, a mass of people came flooding out of the doorways in the small entrance hall.’
    • ‘The troops are a mass of people who have joined the army behind this operation.’
    • ‘She remembered the days when people would crowd around the doors and bustle off in a mass of closely-packed bodies.’
    • ‘Is your garden a mass of plants growing cottage style, all close together with fabulous scents, colors and textures?’
    large number, abundance, profusion, multitude, group, crowd, mob, rabble, horde, barrage, throng, huddle, host, troop, army, herd, flock, drove, swarm, pack, press, crush, mountain, flood
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A large amount of material.
      ‘a mass of conflicting evidence’
      • ‘I agree that the reason is expressed very briefly, when compared with the mass of material which the respondents placed before him.’
      • ‘Doing the best I can from the mass of material and figures now accumulated I must now arrive at figures for each of the insurance years.’
      • ‘My object, dear friend, in making this small selection from a great mass of material, has been twofold.’
      • ‘The fresh mass of the clipped material was then recorded.’
      • ‘Our facility for this mass of material is our own search engine instantly available, and you can print whatever you wish to retain.’
      • ‘These are presented for the first time in this volume, and while the mass of material is unwieldy, it is also fascinating.’
      • ‘The point is that they are few and far between, and effectively swamped by the vast mass of deceptive material.’
      • ‘Facing these two challenges head on, he has done a first rate job of sifting through a huge mass of material and making sense of it.’
      • ‘I do not propose even to summarise let alone to attempt to analyse this vast mass of material.’
      • ‘An astounding mass of material is already available on computer screens.’
      • ‘On those occasions when they did so, they saw what seemed to be a barbarous mass of material lacking all grammatical order.’
      • ‘It is not only encyclopaedias, dictionaries, and libraries that create the illusion of a semblance of order from a mass of chaotic and random materials.’
      • ‘When I have the time to look into this mass of material properly, I'll feature it here in summary.’
      • ‘The editor has a mass of material from which the text is now extracted.’
      • ‘First, he feared that the mass of material which had accumulated during the patient's lifetime would be so great that the treatment might go on indefinitely.’
      • ‘Sue now provides this, making use of a mass of hitherto unused material.’
      • ‘But behind that impressive mass of material lay a plan that was deeply flawed.’
      • ‘He did so with an ability, clarity and, given the mass of material, brevity for which we both thank and commend him.’
      • ‘If not already scared away by the price, most undergraduates will be confused and overwhelmed by the mass of material and the lack of background information.’
      • ‘Critical investigation has brought to light a voluminous mass of material on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama.’
    2. 2.2massesinformal A large quantity or amount of something.
      ‘we get masses of homework’
      • ‘A high workload and masses of paperwork have been blamed for scores of dentists going private over the last decade.’
      • ‘Bloggers generate masses of unedited web content each day about life, politics and everything.’
      • ‘From the galleries masses of holly and ivy hung majestically while around the altar the theme of this Holy Night was carried through in the red and green.’
      • ‘I was a target for masses of charities because of the publicity surrounding my single, and I think I may have been over-generous.’
      • ‘Wonderful scenery, plenty of walks and masses of peace and quiet.’
      • ‘As I travel to Woolwich to work, I notice masses of litter.’
      • ‘Certainly the book is generating acres of newsprint and there are masses of links on the web.’
      • ‘It has masses of room for five adults, a cavernous load capacity, and a refreshingly airy, well-equipped interior.’
      • ‘Our nurses will join families in hymn singing or prayer at the bedside, or make masses of toasted sandwiches for relatives who would rather not leave.’
      • ‘‘It's a kind of childcare which we know masses of people have been using, but they don't get any help for it,’ she said.’
      • ‘I've done masses and masses and masses of washing.’
      • ‘He made masses and masses of commercials, well into the 1970s, which I didn't realise.’
      • ‘The book company, however, is focusing on accelerating its refurbishment programme, rather than opening masses of new stores.’
      • ‘He said it was clear that the people needed information which engaged their interest rather than masses of general data.’
      • ‘The site offers the viewer masses of information on the Westport of today but it also deals with queries visitors have about any aspect of life in the area in the past.’
      • ‘The survey was set up to record masses of quantitative data, as well as qualitative data in the form of written comments.’
      • ‘Significant numbers of farmers have quit the business and those remaining have been weighed down by masses of new legislation and paper work.’
      • ‘The idea is not to make masses of money but to experience what it is like to run a successful business.’
      • ‘I mean, there are not masses and masses of students of history, but the few that we do get are extremely bright.’
      • ‘I needed there to be a narrative I could extract from the masses and masses of paper, even if it was an invented narrative.’
  • 3the massesThe majority of.

    ‘the great mass of the population had little interest in the project’
    • ‘The scale of the protest exposed the rift between the government and the mass of the population and underscored the leader's domestic political isolation.’
    • ‘While shooting was hated by the mass of the rural population, and the Game Laws universally flouted, they took a benign and active interest in the hunt.’
    • ‘This cannot be reconciled with democracy and prosperity for the mass of the population.’
    • ‘But although the Assembly had been regarded with high expectations in 1917, once it had been dispersed the mass of the population had abandoned it as an ideal.’
    • ‘He rules on behalf of an international financial oligarchy, whose political interests are diametrically opposed to that of the mass of the population.’
    • ‘The flagrant flaunting of wealth amidst the dire poverty of the mass of the population is helping fuel social and political opposition.’
    • ‘In the ebb and flow of the election results one thing remains constant, however: the increasing gulf between all official parties and the mass of the population.’
    • ‘Therefore, we oppose the establishment parties, which have increasingly distanced themselves from the mass of the population.’
    • ‘An unbridgeable gulf has opened up between the traditional parties and the mass of the population.’
    • ‘The urbanization of the mass of the population and the decline of rural areas not surprisingly had profound social consequences for all classes of the population.’
    • ‘The impact on the mass of the population has been especially severe.’
    • ‘There is considerable disparity of wealth between a small elite and the mass of the population.’
    • ‘The true function of war was to ‘subordinate the mass of the population to exploitation at the hands of the dominant class.’’
    • ‘Several students asked about the character of a socialist society and how it would be possible to involve the mass of the population in economic planning.’
    • ‘This inevitably gives rise to a hostility to the democratic rights of the mass of the population, which are seen as obstacles to the accumulation of even more wealth and power.’
    • ‘Many student activists continued to advocate an electoral boycott, a campaign which has fallen on deaf ears among the mass of the population.’
    • ‘Your vagueness, however, is understandable given the present state of affairs for the mass of the population.’
    • ‘All this has produced explosive social contradictions, including a vast chasm between the wealthy elites and the mass of the population.’
    • ‘For the mass of the population they were not only salesmen but bringers of news, street entertainers, quacks, and sorcerers.’
    • ‘Even now the mass of the population is alienated from these institutions and the political elite that inhabits them.’
    majority, larger number, larger part, greater number, greater part, best part, better part, major part, most, bulk, main body, preponderance, almost all, lion's share
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1the masses The ordinary people.
      • ‘Your immense popularity with the masses helped ensure your power.’
      • ‘The gulf between the ruling elite and the masses became obscene.’
      • ‘The danger of nationalism is that it is often used as a lever for power, both by the elites in search of authority and the masses in search of community.’
      • ‘And the masses also defy all caste and communal barriers on such crucial junctions and vote to restore social and national health.’
      • ‘But the multimillionaire actor remained hugely popular among the masses and widely respected in showbiz circle.’
      • ‘They have instead been the connecting thread and the medium of communication for the masses.’
      • ‘Books are a source of information that is considered by some to be an outdated way to communicate with the masses.’
      • ‘Power has been, at best, exercised by a class against the masses.’
      • ‘You can talk to radicals in Europe and they'll tell you that their agenda is very popular with the masses when, in fact, it's not.’
      • ‘He was in the crowd and he celebrated with the masses.’
      • ‘The revolutionaries have failed so far to mobilize and unite the masses and pious middle classes of most countries.’
      • ‘They consider themselves as part of the masses, the subjugated working class, but they wouldn't use those words.’
      • ‘One way the Boys have appealed to the masses is by interpreting popular songs and giving them their own twist.’
      • ‘Something important is being brought to light here about the difference between the political classes and the masses.’
      • ‘The public mood - of both the elite and the masses - changed in a most radical way.’
      • ‘Since the game is popular among the masses, it attracts sponsors by the dozen.’
      • ‘The move has horrified the nation's literati in a country where serious literature is a serious business and popular with the masses.’
      • ‘Over the weeks, I've detected a stark difference in the quality of the news delivered to the elite and to the masses.’
      • ‘It has a strong content, which will be liked by both the classes and the masses.’
      • ‘In a totalitarian regime or even an oligarchy we have a ruler, or a group of elites ruling over the masses.’
      the common people, the populace, the public, the people, the multitude, the rank and file, the crowd, the commonalty, the commonality, the third estate, the plebeians
      View synonyms
  • 4Physics
    The quantity of matter which a body contains, as measured by its acceleration under a given force or by the force exerted on it by a gravitational field.

    • ‘Every object with mass exerts a gravitational force.’
    • ‘The problem is that gravitons carry mass and energy, which are the source of the gravitational field in the first place.’
    • ‘An object with mass creates a gravitational field around itself.’
    • ‘Passive gravitational mass is a measure of the strength of an object's interaction with the gravitational field.’
    • ‘In fact, the inertial mass of any object exactly equals the gravitational mass of the object.’
    1. 4.1 (in general use) weight.
      • ‘This device measures the atomic weight, or mass, as well as the prevalence of various atoms or molecules, and it scans the components one at a time.’
      • ‘If a space ship could reduce its size and mass, much less fuel would be needed to travel the vast distances between star systems.’
      • ‘To calculate the moles of nitrogen in each sample, core segment dry mass was multiplied by its nitrogen percentage and divided by nitrogen's atomic weight.’
      • ‘He also noted that the force attracting two objects increased or decreased in a ratio of their combined sizes or mass.’
      • ‘We calculated percentage fat mass by dividing fat mass by total weight.’
      weight, size, magnitude, bulk, dimensions, capacity, density, extent, scope, greatness, bigness, hugeness, amount, matter
      View synonyms

adjective

  • attributive Relating to, done by, or affecting large numbers of people or things.

    ‘the movie has mass appeal’
    ‘a mass exodus of refugees’
    • ‘Uncertain as to where to go or what to do, they eventually become part of the mass exodus of refugees fleeing for their very lives.’
    • ‘What I found is that there is youth radio, and there is entertaining radio, also known as commercial, corporate, or mass appeal radio.’
    • ‘Seeing only the degradation of their culture reflected in the mass media has a profound impact on Native youth.’
    • ‘Carnivores, species at the top of the food chain, are in danger of a mass extinction that would affect all species within their ecosystems.’
    • ‘Those involved in the mass murder on Tuesday must be held accountable for their actions.’
    • ‘There will be no mass exodus or mass influx in the near future.’
    • ‘You need a careful balance between trying to get more money in and ensuring the sport has mass appeal.’
    • ‘When was the last time photography attracted quite so much thoughtful coverage in the mass media?’
    • ‘Coalition officials investigated 70 and confirm 40 as mass graves.’
    • ‘She termed this century as the ‘age of design,’ and said she hopes image consulting will gain mass appeal in the future.’
    • ‘Nearly forty people were in hospital today and a further 50 are believed to be affected by a mass outbreak of food poisoning.’
    • ‘The real story is quite different from the one presented so far in the mass media.’
    • ‘Road builders and motorist groups want more asphalt, environmentalists want more mass transit.’
    • ‘Here conventionality is a contributing factor to the novel's success; these are universal themes with mass appeal.’
    • ‘Other units carried out mass killings on a similar, if not greater, scale.’
    • ‘Problems arise, however, when mass violence is involved.’
    • ‘Moreover, if the government is subsidizing something that consumers do not really want, one would think that the subsidy would lack mass appeal.’
    • ‘In 1998 and again this year mass coral bleaching affected more than 50% of the Great Barrier Reef.’
    • ‘I suspect it's true to a huge and growing degree in the mass market as well.’
    • ‘What is certain is that mass media left unique war records for the present age to interpret.’
    wholesale, universal, widespread, general, large-scale, extensive, pandemic
    View synonyms

verb

  • Assemble or cause to assemble into a mass or as one body.

    with object ‘both countries began massing troops in the region’
    no object ‘clouds massed heavily on the horizon’
    • ‘Faces massed at windows and parapets all around the courtyard as the small convoy drew to a halt.’
    • ‘During this performance the assembled pipers and drummers will play together in one massed pipe band.’
    • ‘In many areas mine warfare is replacing massed armies facing each other across vast plains.’
    • ‘They announce they're massing troops, seemingly unaware that this just makes for one rich target as opposed to many.’
    • ‘It had been almost two years since he had first joined the Rebel troops massing to overthrow the monarchy.’
    • ‘We were running short of time, and ominous clouds were massing in the sky, but we couldn't resist stepping inside the old church.’
    • ‘They gained experience in massing men and equipment in decisive sectors.’
    • ‘In both cases, you have a mobile army massing and maneuvering against static defensive positions.’
    • ‘Still, hordes of rivals are massing at the gate.’
    • ‘I've never had groupies massing outside my house before.’
    • ‘He could already hear people massing on the other side; he knew he didn't have much time to come up with a plan.’
    • ‘Troops were massed outside the safe haven to retake the zone on his signal.’
    • ‘White bass heavy with eggs are massing in the currents of the Pineywoods rivers and tributaries.’
    • ‘Scuba diving in the afternoon, we noticed the cloud massing like a thunderous frown over the island and the water began to churn around us.’
    • ‘By the time we reached Basingstoke, we were already massed together for our own safety.’
    • ‘The countries have massed about one million troops at their frontier.’
    • ‘In these buildings stores were massed, porters collected and equipment unpacked and tested.’
    • ‘A thousand kilometers to the west, their armies were massing at the frontier.’
    • ‘Dark clouds had massed overhead, intermittent flashes of lightning jumping between them.’
    • ‘Today the city is illuminated softly from behind grey clouds wafted inland from the Irish Sea and massing menacingly to the north.’
    accumulate, assemble, amass, collect, gather, gather together, draw together, join together
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Phrases

  • be a mass of

    • Be completely covered with.

      ‘his face was a mass of bruises’
      • ‘The young woman's face was a mass of terrible scars and sores.’
      • ‘Her back was a mass of open wounds.’
      • ‘For the longest time, the cover appeared to be a mass of abstract marks, then suddenly it came clear and two schooners at sea appeared out of the scratches.’
      • ‘They had kept him in jail for three nights and had beaten him so that his face was a mass of bruises.’
      • ‘Her hair is torn out, her face is a mass of bruises and her neck is almost as thick as that of a horse.’
      • ‘His shoulders, back, chest, and upper arms were a mass of bruises, some of them accompanied by bleeding scrapes and cuts.’
      • ‘It didn't help his composure any that her face and body were a mass of bruises, and her left arm was in a sling more for pain relief than support.’
      • ‘His head still throbbed and his entire body was a mass of scratches and bruises, but inside, he felt remarkably well.’
      • ‘He was a mass of bruises and crusted blood, but he was breathing.’
      • ‘His face was a mass of cuts and bruises and he looked as though he had been badly beaten.’
  • in the mass

    • As a whole.

      ‘her genuine affection for humanity in the mass’
      • ‘There had to be minds to perceive ideas, and since only a small minority of our ideas were the products of our own fancy, they had in the mass to have some external cause.’
      • ‘Democracies work well, and my hypothesis is that this is because people in the mass have a different kind of intelligence at work.’
      • ‘Contemporary Americans, in the mass, seem to have lost sight of, and connection with, the past.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French masse, from Latin massa, from Greek maza ‘barley cake’; perhaps related to massein ‘knead’.

Pronunciation

mass

/mas//mæs/

Main definitions of mass in English

: mass1Mass2

Mass2

noun

  • 1The Christian Eucharist or Holy Communion, especially in the Roman Catholic Church.

    ‘we went to Mass’
    ‘the Latin Mass’
    • ‘There were very large congregations at all the Masses in the Church of the Holy Family over the Christmas season.’
    • ‘He celebrated his first Mass in the church where he was baptised and confirmed.’
    • ‘All Christmas Services and Masses were well attended again this year at all three churches in the parish.’
    • ‘In the Cluster there are 10 churches, 19 Masses celebrated at weekends and only seven priests.’
    • ‘On last weekend they sold Christmas decorations and wreaths outside the church after Masses.’
    • ‘Ideal Christmas gifts will be on sale next weekend at all Masses in the Church of the Immaculate Conception.’
    • ‘The daily Mass during the Christmas period in the parish Church will be at 11 am.’
    • ‘Is it any wonder that we now have to lock up churches after morning Masses, even in the quiet rural countryside.’
    • ‘His picture cannot be displayed publicly in any church or oratory and Masses cannot be offered in his honour.’
    • ‘The Masses and other ceremonies in the Church of the Most Holy Rosary this Christmas had full congregations.’
    • ‘Preparations for First Holy Communion began at all Masses in the parish church last Sunday week.’
    • ‘The blessing will take as usual after the Sunday morning Masses in both Churches.’
    • ‘At her request, there were no flowers at her funeral Mass.’
    • ‘The debate over the reform of the rite of the Mass following the Second Vatican Council goes on and on.’
    • ‘As Summer time commenced recently all evening Masses in the Church of Saint Michael and Saint Mary will be held at 8 p.m. for the duration of Summer time.’
    eucharist, holy communion, communion, the lord's supper
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A celebration of the Eucharist.
      ‘there was a Mass and the whole family was supposed to go’
      eucharist, holy communion, communion, the lord's supper
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A musical setting of parts of the liturgy used in the Mass.
      • ‘The concert ended with a Mass by Bellini in which the organist, choir and soloists gave a magnificent performance.’
      • ‘They also played an excerpt from his Mass in C minor, with its haunting Kyrie.’
      • ‘One especially powerful instance occurs in the Credo movement of the Mass for Four Voices.’
      • ‘It has been said that the bulk of Mozart's sacred music - he composed nearly 20 Masses alone - was written mostly to please paymasters.’
      • ‘The main work was the beautiful setting in G Minor of The Mass by Vaughan Williams.’

Origin

Old English mæsse, from ecclesiastical Latin missa ‘dismissal, prayer at the conclusion of a liturgy, liturgy, mass’, from Latin miss- ‘dismissed’, from mittere ‘send, dismiss’.

Pronunciation

Mass

/mæs//mas/