Definition of muss in US English:



[with object]North American
  • Make (someone's hair or clothes) untidy or messy.

    ‘she sat down carefully so she wouldn't muss her clothes’
    • ‘‘Awww you're so sweet Robert’ Macy commented warmly, mussing my hair.’
    • ‘Liam smiled and invited himself inside, mussing his nephew's hair as he passed.’
    • ‘‘You guys are weird,’ Kimberley said, mussing Clay's already-tousled hair and walking out.’
    • ‘He was perfectly calm, but then he took his other hand and mussed her hair.’
    • ‘There was a knock on the door, Tony mussed his hair with one hand and looked into the mirror quickly.’
    • ‘I lifted him up and sat him on my lap, mussing his hair a little.’
    • ‘She loved fussing over him, mussing his hair and trying to force him to take home food.’
    • ‘And all without landing a punch, or mussing his suit.’
    • ‘He just stands in my kitchen, mussing his hair, picking at a photo of us on my fridge.’
    • ‘The brown-haired boy mussed his hair in exasperation, growling in his frustration.’
    • ‘Her hair was mussed and falling over her eyes, her clothes wrinkled and disheveled.’
    • ‘Warren nodded and ran a hand through his tousled hair, mussing it up even further.’
    • ‘She didn't care that the dirt was spoiling her dress or that a high wind was beginning and mussing her hair.’
    • ‘He mussed Alan's blonde hair and Alan felt a touch of warmth and a bit of guilt.’
    • ‘She settled for simply mussing his hair and calling him John-boy.’
    • ‘Hero opened her mouth to reply, but he silenced her by mussing her hair.’
    • ‘‘Oh, that's okay,’ Wendy said, mussing Erin's hair affectionately.’
    • ‘She mussed his hair as she walked behind him, and he swung his arms at her, trying to catch her so he could do the same.’
    • ‘You can almost feel the energy blowing off the screen, mussing your hair and plastering a big smile onto your face.’
    • ‘I ran my fingers through my hair, mussing it up a little.’
    ruffle, tousle, dishevel, rumple, mess up, make a mess of, disarrange, make untidy, tumble, put out of place, disorder
    View synonyms


North American
  • usually in singular A state of disorder.

    • ‘No muss, no fuss - just tons of free advertising!’
    • ‘The slide comes off, forward, with no muss or fuss.’
    • ‘No muss, no fuss, and no swearing at my sewing machine while I try to figure out what I'm doing, and then cursing at my complete inability to sew a straight line.’
    • ‘So, there's muss and fuss to be dealt with in this activity.’
    • ‘Convenience is their strong suit and in general they are fine when time is an issue and you want a quick fire without all the muss and fuss of natural firewood.’


Mid 19th century (also as a noun in the sense ‘disturbance or row’): apparently a variant of mess.