Definition of mess up in US English:

mess up

phrasal verb

  • Mishandle a situation.

    ‘he singled out the health care fiasco as an example of how the government has messed up’
    • ‘If by any chance you land up messing up you need not get perturbed.’
    • ‘It's an extremely messed up situation when one innocent man has to die to protect others.’
    • ‘I had other police agencies say, Look, we don't like to talk about brother cops messing up.’
    • ‘If it all begins with humans messing up, and causing an imperfect world it all ends with Jesus sorting it out, and causing a perfect one!’
    • ‘It messes up your health, screws up your lungs and eats you away inside.’
    • ‘It just messes up an already messed up situation.’
    • ‘Plane by plane, city by city, the weather is really messing up the works when it comes to airline travel today.’
    • ‘Simply because were constantly messing up the board and starting over again.’
    • ‘Which is ridiculous, we won that war in every way possible, its the after-war we're messing up.’
    • ‘Unfortunately policy makers hardly learn from the backlash of their own messing up with complicated social issues.’
    mismanage, mishandle, misdirect, misgovern, misconduct, bungle, botch, fluff, fumble, mess up, mar, spoil, ruin, wreck
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