Definition of messy in US English:

messy

adjective

  • 1Untidy or dirty.

    ‘his messy hair’
    • ‘The last one to exit was a young boy with wildly messy dirty blond hair.’
    • ‘Zach looks just like my dad, he's got these big brown eyes, and messy black hair that is all over the place.’
    • ‘All she wanted was Tommie with his stupid, messy purple hair and dirty shoes and goofy smile.’
    • ‘He has the same almond eyes, the same thin face, the same messy dirty blonde hair, everything.’
    • ‘A short plump pirate with an eye patch over his right eye, messy hair and a tangled beard.’
    • ‘He had messy dirty blonde hair, too, but his eyes were chocolate brown instead of dark green.’
    • ‘It's still alive in the messy hair and dirty jeans of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.’
    • ‘His usual perfectly spiked dirty blonde hair was messy and it exaggerated his sharp features.’
    • ‘She was met face to face with a guy who had thick messy dirty blonde hair and blue eyes that sparkled with laughter.’
    • ‘Rushing to get dress and to pack her things Rebecca race out the door with messy hair and untidy clothing.’
    • ‘Her wavy brown hair was messy, tangled, and pulled into a sloppy ponytail at the nape of her neck.’
    • ‘Because my hair got messy during changing, I used her full-length mirror to pat it back in place.’
    • ‘His hair was very messy and dirty, since he only got to bathe about once a fortnight and he never got to brush it.’
    • ‘He's tall, has olive skin, a beautiful physique and messy brown hair.’
    • ‘His blonde hair, normally messy but in a totally fake way, was tousled in the true sense of the word.’
    • ‘He was basically wild anyway, with his tangled and messy dark brown hair and those eyes.’
    • ‘As for her dirty top and messy hair, there would not be anything inconspicuous about that.’
    • ‘They have been getting messy with paints and glue to help raise funds and bring happiness to children through the Make a Wish Foundation.’
    • ‘The game began to descend into a scrappy affair with play the balls getting messy and players getting confrontational.’
    • ‘Her dark hair was tousled and messy and her eyes were red and puffy.’
    dirty, filthy, grubby, soiled, grimy, begrimed
    disorderly, disordered, muddled, in a muddle, chaotic, confused, disorganized, in disarray, in turmoil, disarranged
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Generating or involving mess or untidiness.
      ‘stripping wallpaper can be a messy job’
      • ‘Do a slightly messy job to prove you didn't buy salmon fillets at the fish shop on the way home.’
      • ‘I am tackling a fairly big, unrewarding and messy job this weekend: moving the compost bin in my garden down to my allotment.’
      • ‘If you're a messy eater, try to place your bag outside the arc of spray emanating from your plate.’
      • ‘This above all was a messy and time consuming task that would have been done nearer the source of iron and away from the town.’
      • ‘Consider yourself lucky that you don't have to slay a dragon, a rather messy sort of job.’
      • ‘By definition, it's a messy job for the sorters, and anything in a plastic bag goes straight to landfill.’
      • ‘Coal and wood fires smell wonderful but are messy and time-consuming.’
      • ‘However, due to the pain in her shoulder and the sheer quantity of the blood, she had made a rather messy job of it.’
      • ‘Digging in the pit was a job set aside for slaves since it was obviously a messy job.’
      • ‘Moreover, a rodent capture still leaves behind the messy job of killing the creature and burying the evidence.’
      • ‘It's a messy job but the sight of a brown delicious kernel makes it all worthwhile.’
      • ‘It is quite simply the most boring job on earth - but at least it isn't messy like on the kill floor.’
      • ‘They had to keep the ink wells filled - a messy job for those who didn't have a very steady hand.’
      • ‘It saves you messing about putting other materials on the hooklength which can be messy and time consuming.’
      • ‘Now why did he get the hot bath and shampoo from Amanda when I got the messy job?’
      • ‘They did pay me for the washing powder, but it was a messy job in the winter when the fields were muddy!’
      • ‘They were good, but frying them was always so messy and time consuming that the wonton phase was a short one.’
      • ‘It was a sticky and messy job, thanks to the humid weather and three long days of not taking a bath.’
  • 2(of a situation) confused and difficult to deal with.

    ‘a messy divorce’
    • ‘Indeed, we are going to have to retrain US diplomats to deal with messy states.’
    • ‘The protestations lead to arguments and the situation got a bit messy.’
    • ‘It is messy and confusing and contradictory to look at the world situation.’
    • ‘The Queen (by virtue of a messy divorce case nearly 500 years ago) is indeed the head of the church.’
    • ‘It could also have said that break-up would have been messy, unworkable and difficult to get through the courts.’
    • ‘Since then it's all become very messy and increasingly nasty too.’
    • ‘Anyway, I wasn't sad to see the end of this, but it wasn't a messy divorce.’
    • ‘Otherwise, the situation could easily become much more messy and contentious.’
    • ‘It was a pity he would have her blood on his hands - if someone tried to connect her untimely death to him, it would be a messy situation indeed.’
    • ‘He wanted to avoid a messy divorce and to carry on affairs with mistresses.’
    • ‘Occasionally it will throw up a great line but the change will take it away to messy confusion.’
    • ‘He established his unique company five years ago to deal with the aftermath of messy death.’
    • ‘However, this technique is imprecise and can be messy and difficult to accomplish.’
    • ‘It's a messy situation that needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis, but I think it was right not to automatically inform the parent.’
    • ‘Those of you who have messy case interiors will benefit from the neatness round cables provide.’
    • ‘I am not surprised that we are dealing with this bill in such a messy way.’
    • ‘They will accept freedom under whatever messy circumstances history offers.’
    • ‘If I made a mistake, picked the wrong guy or ended up in a messy situation, then I dealt with it.’
    • ‘A source said the time: The situation is really messy with Pearl and Gavin refusing to talk.’
    • ‘These are messy and difficult questions, and we can expect to wrestle with them for years to come.’
    chaotic, convoluted, complex, intricate, tangled, tortuous, confused, confusing, difficult
    View synonyms

Pronunciation

messy

/ˈmɛsi//ˈmesē/