Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.
muck something up
to ruin something. I should never have trusted Jim with the repair work. He was bound to muck it up. I asked her to take over for me while I was gone, and she really mucked it up. She mucked up the whole deal.
muck something upalso muck up something
to make a situation more confusing or difficult Our leaders have demonstrated their great talent for mucking things up. Don't muck up our lives just because he was misbehaving.Related vocabulary: muddy the waters
Bungle, damage, make a mess of, as in Don't let him write the review; he's sure to muck it up. This idiom alludes to the verb muck in the sense of "spread manure on." [Early 1900s] For a synonym, see foul up.
1. To make something dirty or contaminated, especially with mud, grime, or a similar substance: Don't step in that puddle; you'll muck up your shoes. The gears in the car's transmission were all mucked up.
2. To make some liquid unclear or unusable by stirring up elements settled on the bottom: Unfortunately, all the dredging in the river has mucked up the water so much that we can't go swimming. The rains mucked the water up, making it difficult for scuba divers to see.
3. To make something unusable by disrupting what should remain undisturbed: I tried to incorporate these ideas into my paper at the last minute, but all they did was to muck it up. The editor stopped the author from mucking up the book with needless revisions.