Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MESS, v. Also Sc. forms meese, meace (Sc. 1829 R. Chambers Songs II. 352), meess; meesh (see P.L.D. § 67). Sc. v. usages:

1. To measure out portions, as in serving food, or in measuring out an ingredient when cooking (ne.Sc. 1962, meese). Obs. in Eng. except dial. Sc. 1827  W. Motherwell Minstrelsy 387:
And mak you thick as any daigh, And when the pan was brimful Would mess you up in scuttle dishes.
Abd. 1832  W. Scott Poems 26:
She fills the bassie, gi'es the ribs a clap, Brings ben the meal an' messes't i' the cap.
Abd. 1929 1 :
Here, lassie, get the men's caups an' meesh the sowens.
Bnff. 1953  Banffshire Jnl. (27 Oct.):
Fin the pottitch wis made an' meest she wid fess ben mine on a fancy widden tray.
Abd. 1955  W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick ii.:
She drew this chair in front of the fire, took the “spurtle” in her right hand and proceeded to “meess” the meal into the boiling water through between the fingers of her left hand, stirring with the “spurtle” all the while backwards and forwards.

2. To partake of food in company. In phr. mess and mell, see Mell, v.1, 4.

[For the long vowel forms cf. similar lengthening before ss in O.Sc. preese, to press, and Eng. cease, lease, etc.]

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"Mess v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2019 <>



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