hot mess

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

hot (warm) + mess (meal; soldiers who eat together).

Noun[edit]

hot mess (countable and uncountable, plural hot messes)

  1. (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.
    • 1856, Frederick Marryat, Snarleyyow, or the Dog Fiend[1], page 10:
      "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."
    • 1919, James Thayer Addison, The Story of the First Gas Regiment[2], 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[3], page 119:
      He provided for a hot mess and he got the men up off the floor with improvised bunks.
    • 1980, William Manchester, Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War[4], page 260:
      The men there would have settled for a Coleman stove and a hot-mess line, but the greatest contribution to their spirits, plus or minus, was mail call.

Etymology 2[edit]

hot (uncomfortable) (sense 1) or hot (attractive) (sense 2) + mess (disarray).

Noun[edit]

hot mess (plural hot messes)

  1. (slang, idiomatic, chiefly US) A situation or object in a state of extreme disarray.
  2. (slang, idiomatic, 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[5], 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[6], 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!
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