Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR MESSING UP

I'm hoping we will get our work done before they get poking their noses into it and messing up all the trails.

I expect the lake is flooding the whole place and messing up everything from our cellar to the chickenhouse.

I have jumbled memories of messing up on the ledge, and then half swamping just below it, on my former run.

I'd say Masters is playing safe keeping him from messing up the running gear while we're discharging.

WORD ORIGIN

c.1300, "food for one meal, pottage," from Old French mes "portion of food, course at dinner," from Late Latin missus "course at dinner," literally "a placing, a putting (on a table, etc.)," from past participle of mittere "to put, place," in classical Latin "to send, let go" (see mission).

Meaning "communal eating place" (especially a military one) is first attested 1530s, from earlier sense of "company of persons eating together" (early 15c.), originally a group of four. Sense of "mixed food," especially for animals, (1738) led to contemptuous use for "jumble, mixed mass" (1828) and figurative sense of "state of confusion" (1834), as well as "condition of untidiness" (1851). General use for "a quantity" of anything is attested by 1830. Meaning "excrement" (of animals) is from 1903.