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mess someone up
Sl. to rough someone up; to beat someone up. The robbers threatened to mess Bob up if he didn't cooperate. John messed up Bill a little, but no real harm was done.
mess something up
to make something disorderly; to create disorder in something; to throw someone's plans awry. You really messed this place up! Who messed up my bed?
to make an error; to do something wrong; to flub up. I hope I don't mess up on the quiz. You really messed up and now you're in big trouble!
mess somebody upalso mess up somebody
to cause someone emotional problems I don't want to mess her up any more than she already is, I decided to leave her alone. He's so messed up. Having just one parent has been known to mess up a kid.
mess something upalso mess up something
1. to do something badly or make mistakes I really messed up my chemistry exam. We had a chance to win the game, but we messed it up.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form mess up on something: I messed up on my driving test.
2. to break, damage, or spoil something She worries that X-rays could mess up her laptop's hard drive. I messed up my ankle playing touch football. Most of kids at the party were well behaved, but there's always a few who mess things up.
1. Create disorder in; muddle or ruin. For example, On rainy days the children really mess up the house, or He had a way of messing up his own business. [c. 1900]
2. Make a mistake, especially from nervousness or confusion, as in He messed up and took the wrong dossier to the meeting, or Jill swore she would never mess up again. [Colloquial; early 1900s]
3. Beat up, manhandle, as in Joe got messed up in a barroom brawl. [Slang; early 1900s]
1. To make a mistake, especially from nervousness or confusion: The runner scored because I messed up and dropped the ball.
2. To spoil something by making mistakes: I really messed up that chemistry test. That problem was difficult—I think I messed it up.
3. To cause someone or something to blunder or fail: I tried to pass the ball to the other player, but the loud shouting from the fans messed me up.
4. Slang To beat someone up; handle roughly: The bullies really messed up a couple of kids in a fight after school. If I told anyone what they did, they'd mess me up.
5. To cause something to be messy, tangled, or in disarray; muss something up: The kids messed up my hair, so I had to comb it all over again.
6. To injure, damage, or negatively interfere with something: Sitting in that uncomfortable chair really messed up my back. I messed my knee up when I fell down on the ice. Don't take those drugs; they will really mess you up.
in. to make an error; to do something wrong; to flub (up). I hope I don’t mess up on the quiz.