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- (military) A warm meal, usually cooked in a large pot, often similar to a stew or porridge; service of such a heated meal to soldiers.
- 1836 April 29, Frederick Marryat, “Snarleyyow, or the Dog Fiend”, in Arkansas Advocate, volume vii, number 4, Little Rock, AR, page 1:
- "Smallbones," said the lieutenant, after trying the hot mess before him, and finding that he was still in danger of burning his mouth, "bring me the red-herring."
- 1852 January 1, F. L. McClintock, “Lieutenant McClintock to Mr. Fegn, Secretary of the Arctic Committee”, in Morning Post, number 24355, London, page 3:
- 1 lb. pemican; ¼ lb. pork; ¾ lb. biscuit; ¼ lb flour or bread dust, to mix with pemican into a hot mess;
- 1919, James Thayer Addison, The Story of the First Gas Regiment, page 150:
- I heard several of the enlisted men make the statement that Company C had provided hot mess for fully a thousand men of other units during the second day of the recent drive in and around Cheppy and Charpentry.
- 1974, Langdon Sully, No Tears for the General: The Life of Alfred Sully, 1821-1879, page 119:
- He provided for a hot mess and he got the men up off the floor with improvised bunks.
- (informal, chiefly US) A situation or object in a state of extreme disarray.
- 1919 November 13, “The Periscope”, in Camden Post-Telegram, number 8134, Camden, NJ, page 5:
- The politician's in a hot mess since the women got the vote -- his wife threatened not to vote for his candidate unless he wipes the dishes.
- 2019 December 6, Timothy Egan, “America the Hot Mess”, in The New York Times, ISSN 0362-4331:
- We’re a hot mess, this bad-tempered country of ours. More than 40 percent of Republicans are slouching toward full-blown autocracy, favorably disposed, in one poll, toward a presidency unfettered by constitutional checks and balances.
- (informal, chiefly US) A disheveled or unbalanced person, particularly one who is nevertheless, or therefore, attractive.
- 2003, Karyn Bosnak, Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back, page 271:
- My hair had two months of roots exposed. My brows were overgrown. I was a hot mess. And I was fat.
- 2005, Desiree Day, Crazy Love, page 72:
- "Girl, you're a hot mess, but we're cool," she assured her, but her next words were a warning. "But you really need to stop blurting out the first thing that comes to your mind..."
- 2009, Cobra Starship, Hot Mess (song on the album Hot Mess):
- Well, you're a hot mess and I'm falling for you, and I'm like hot damn, let me make you my boo, […] You're a hot mess, I'm loving it, hell yes!
person, thing, or situation in a state of disarray