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make a mess

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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
make1 /meɪk/USA pronunciation   v.,  made/meɪd/USA pronunciation  mak•ing, n. 
  1. to bring into existence by combining material;
    produce: [+ object]to make a dress.[+ object + object]I'll make the kids some breakfast.
  2. to cause to exist or happen;
    produce:[+ object]Why is he always making trouble?
  3. to cause to be or become;
    transform: [+ object + adjective]This news will make her happy.[+ adjective + (that) clause]He tried to make sure that everything was OK.[+ object + into + object]The talent agent says he made her into a star.[+ object + object]The evidence makes you the chief suspect.
  4. to become;
    develop into:[not: be + ~-ing;  ~ + object]Someday you'll make a good lawyer.
  5. to be adequate or suitable for:[not: be + ~-ing;  ~ + object]This table will make a good lectern.
  6. to appoint;
    name:[+ object + object]made her chairwoman.
  7. to force or cause (someone to do something);
    compel:[+ object + root form of verb]The pain made her cry out.
  8. to put in the proper condition or state;
    prepare:[+ object]to make a bed.
  9. to earn for oneself:[+ object]to make a good salary.
  10. to write;
    compose:[+ object]to make a will.
  11. to agree upon;
    arrange:[+ object]to make a deal.
  12. to establish;
    enact:[+ object]to make laws.
  13. to form in the mind:[+ object]to make a decision.
  14. to estimate;
    figure:[+ object + at + object]I make the value at $1,000.
  15. to put together;
    form:[+ object]to make a matched set.
  16. to amount to;
    total:[+ object;  not: be + ~-ing]Two plus two makes four.
  17. to provide:[+ object;  not: be + ~-ing]That book makes good reading.
  18. to be enough so as to become:[not: be + ~-ing;  ~ + object]One story does not make a writer.
  19. to assure the success or fame of:[+ object;  not: be + ~-ing]Her last book really made her reputation as a scholar.
  20. to reach;
    attain:[+ object]made admiral just before he retired from the Navy.
  21. to arrive in time for;
    catch:[+ object]I just made the plane.
  22. Informal Terms to attain a position in or on:[+ object]The novel made the bestseller list.
  23. to receive notice in or on:[+ object]The murder made the evening news.
  24. Slang Terms[+ object]to have sexual intercourse with.
  25. to score:[+ object]She made 40 points.
  26. make away with, [+ away + with + object] to carry off;
    steal:The thieves made away with all the money.
  27. make for, [+ for + object]
    • to move toward:We made for shelter when we saw the clouds.
    • [not: be + ~-ing] to bring about or keep going:A calm manner in a police officer makes for fewer arguments.
  28. make of, [+ of + object]
    • to judge the truth or nature of:What do you make of that remark?
  29. make off, [no object] to run away:The thieves made off before the police arrived.
  30. make off with, [+ off + with + object] to carry away;
    steal:The robbers made off with a million dollars in cash.
  31. make out: 
    • to write out or complete, as a bill or check: [+ out + object]I made out the check.[+ object + out]I made it out and sealed it in the envelope.
    • to understand;
      figure out the meaning of;
      fathom: [+ out + object]I can't make out this last equation.[+ object + out]I can't make this out.
    • to see clearly enough so as to be able to read: [+ out + object]I can't make out his handwriting.[+ object + out]I can't make it out.
    • to suggest or pretend (to be, or that something is the case): [+ object + out + to + verb]He made me out to be a liar.[+ out + that clause]He makes out that he is a successful businessman.
    • [no object] to manage;
      succeed:How are you making out in school?
    • Slang Terms[no object]to engage in kissing and caressing:making out in the back seat.
  32. make over: 
    • to remodel* fix, change, or alter: [+ over + object]The carpenters made over the room as a gym.[+ object + over]The beautician made her face over.
  33. Printingmake up: 
    • [+ up + object;  usually: not: be + ~-ing] to form;
      constitute:Immigrants make up a large part of our school's population.
    • to prepare by putting together;
      compile: [+ up + object]Make up a list of what you'll need.[+ object + up]Make a list up and send it to me.
    • to invent (a story or tale);
      concoct: [+ up + object]She made up that whole story.[+ object + up]She made that whole story up.
    • [+ up + for + object] to repay;
      compensate:Perhaps $50 will make up for your trouble.
    • [+ up + object;  not: be ~-ing] to complete:The two couples made up a foursome at golf.
    • to put in order;
      arrange: [+ up + object]She made up the bed.[+ object + up]Make the bed up before you watch TV.
    • to settle;
      decide: [+ up + object]Make up your mind.[+ object + up]You'll have to make your mind up soon.
    • to (cause to) become friends again;
      to (cause to) be reconciled: [no object]finally made up after years of quarreling.[+ up + object]They made up their argument.
    • to dress in costume and makeup: [+ up + object]She made up the children and sent them onstage.[+ object + up]She made herself up and dashed onstage.
    • Educationto provide enough so that (something ) is no longer lacking: [+ up + object]The college will make up the difference between your loan and your tuition.[+ object + up]In such cases the college will make it up.

n. [countable]
  1. the style in which something is made;
  2. brand:a foreign make of car.
  1. Idioms, Informal Termsmake as if or as though, [+ clause][Informal.]pretend:He made as if nothing bothered him.
  2. Idiomsmake believe, imagine: [no object]Kids like to make believe.[+ (that) clause]She made believe (that) he had won the lottery.
  3. Idiomsmake do, [no object] to manage with whatever is available:If those are the only tools we have, we'll just have to make do with them.
  4. Idiomsmake good: 
    • Idioms[no object] to succeed:These graduates will make good.
    • Idioms[+ on + object] to compensate for:Will he make good on the purchases?
    • IdiomsAlso,  make good on. [+ object] to fulfill, as a promise:Is he someone who will make good on his promises?
  5. make it: 
    • Informal Termsto achieve success:He really seems to have made it: big house, good job, beautiful family.
    • to arrive on time:I just made it to that meeting!
  6. Idiomsmake light of, [+ object] to treat as unimportant or insignificant.
  7. Idiomsmake like, [+ object][Informal.]to pretend to be or to be like:Stop making like a clown!
  8. make love, to have sexual relations (with): [no object]How often couples make love is their own business.[+ to + object]He wanted to make love to her right then and there.
  9. Idiomsmake much of, [+ object] to treat as important:The press tried to make much of his past.
  10. Idiomsmake short work of, [+ object] to finish or dispose of quickly:You made short work of that apple pie.
  11. Idioms, Informal Termson the make: 
    • Idiomsin pursuit of gain:a young executive on the make.
    • Slang Termsin search of sexual activity:He was constantly on the make at singles bars.

mak•er, n. [countable]

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
make1  (māk),USA pronunciation v.,  made, mak•ing, n. 
  1. to bring into existence by shaping or changing material, combining parts, etc.:to make a dress;to make a channel;to make a work of art.
  2. to produce;
    cause to exist or happen;
    bring about:to make trouble; to make war.
  3. to cause to be or become;
    render:to make someone happy.
  4. to appoint or name:The President made her his special envoy.
  5. to put in the proper condition or state, as for use;
    prepare:to make a bed; to make dinner.
  6. to bring into a certain form:to make bricks out of clay.
  7. to convert from one state, condition, category, etc., to another:to make a virtue of one's vices.
  8. to cause, induce, or compel:to make a horse jump a barrier.
  9. to give rise to;
    occasion:It's not worth making a fuss over such a trifle.
  10. to produce, earn, or win for oneself:to make a good salary; to make one's fortune in oil.
  11. to write or compose:to make a short poem for the occasion.
  12. to draw up, as a legal document;
    draft:to make a will.
  13. to do;
    effect:to make a bargain.
  14. to establish or enact;
    put into existence:to make laws.
  15. to become by development;
    prove to be:You'll make a good lawyer.
  16. to form in the mind, as a judgment or estimate:to make a decision.
  17. to judge or interpret, as to the truth, nature, meaning, etc. (often fol. by of ):What do you make of it?
  18. to estimate;
    reckon:to make the distance at ten miles.
  19. to bring together separate parts so as to produce a whole;
    form:to make a matched set.
  20. to amount to;
    bring up the total to:Two plus two makes four. That makes an even dozen.
  21. to serve as:to make good reading.
  22. to be sufficient to constitute:One story does not make a writer.
  23. to be adequate or suitable for:This wool will make a warm sweater.
  24. to assure the success or fortune of:a deal that could make or break him; Seeing her made my day.
  25. to deliver, utter, or put forth:to make a stirring speech.
  26. to go or travel at a particular speed:to make 60 miles an hour.
  27. to arrive at or reach;
    attain:The ship made port on Friday. Do you think he'll make 80?
  28. to arrive in time for:to make the first show.
  29. to arrive in time to be a passenger on (a plane, boat, bus, train, etc.):If you hurry, you can make the next flight.
  30. Informal Termsto gain or acquire a position within:He made the big time.
  31. to receive mention or appear in or on:The robbery made the front page.
  32. to gain recognition or honor by winning a place or being chosen for inclusion in or on:The novel made the bestseller list. He made the all-American team three years in a row.
  33. Slang Termsto have sexual intercourse with.
  34. Games[Cards.]
    • to name (the trump).
    • to take a trick with (a card).
    • [Bridge.]to fulfill or achieve (a contract or bid).
    • to shuffle (the cards).
  35. to earn, as a score:The team made 40 points in the first half.
  36. Slang Terms(esp. in police and underworld use)
    • to recognize or identify:Any cop in town will make you as soon as you walk down the street.
    • to charge or cause to be charged with a crime:The police expect to make a couple of suspects soon.
  37. Electricityto close (an electric circuit).
  38. Dialect Terms[South Midland and Southern U.S.]to plant and cultivate or produce (a crop):He makes some of the best corn in the country.

  1. to cause oneself, or something understood, to be as specified:to make sure.
  2. to show oneself to be or seem in action or behavior (usually fol. by an adjective):to make merry.
  3. to be made, as specified:This fabric makes up into beautiful drapes.
  4. to move or proceed in a particular direction:They made after the thief.
  5. Nauticalto rise, as the tide or water in a ship.
  6. Dialect Terms[South Midland and Southern U.S.](of a crop) to grow, develop, or mature:It looks like the corn's going to make pretty good this year.
  7. Idiomsmake a play for, to try to get:He made a play for his brother's girlfriend. They made a play for control of the company's stock.
  8. Idioms, Informal Termsmake as if or  as though, [Informal.]to act as if;
    pretend:We will make as if to leave, then come back and surprise him.
  9. Idiomsmake away with: 
    • to steal:The clerk made away with the cash and checks.
    • to destroy;
      kill:He made away with his enemies.
    • to get rid of.
    • to consume, drink, or eat completely:The boys made away with the contents of the refrigerator.
  10. Idiomsmake believe, to pretend;
    imagine:The little girl dressed in a sheet and made believe she was a ghost.
  11. Idiomsmake bold or  so bold, to have the temerity;
    be so rash;
    dare:May I make so bold as to suggest that you stand when they enter?
  12. Idioms, Slang Termsmake book, [Slang.]
    • to take bets and give odds.
    • to make a business of this.
  13. Nauticalmake colors, to hoist an ensign, as on board a warship.
  14. Idiomsmake do, to function, manage, or operate, usually on a deprivation level with minimal requirements:During the war we had no butter or coffee, so we had to make do without them.
  15. Dialect Termsmake down, [Chiefly Pennsylvania German.]to rain or snow:It's making down hard.
  16. Naval Termsmake fast, [Chiefly Naut.]to fasten or secure.
  17. make for: 
    • to go toward;
      approach:to make for home.
    • to lunge at;
    • to help to promote or maintain:This incident will not make for better understanding between the warring factions.
  18. make good: 
    • Idiomsto provide restitution or reparation for:The bank teller made good the shortage and was given a light sentence.
    • Idiomsto succeed:Talent and training are necessary to make good in some fields.
    • Idiomsto fulfill:He made good on his promise.
    • Nautical[Navig.]to compute (a course) allowing for leeway and compass deviation.
  19. make heavy weather: 
    • Nauticalto roll and pitch in heavy seas.
    • Idiomsto progress laboriously;
      struggle, esp. to struggle needlessly:I am making heavy weather with my income tax return.
  20. make it: 
    • Informal Termsto achieve a specific goal:to make it to the train; to make it through college.
    • Informal Termsto succeed in general:He'll never make it in business.
    • Slang Termsto have sexual intercourse.
  21. Nauticalmake it so, strike the ship's bell accordingly: said by the officer of the watch when the hour is announced.
  22. Idioms, Informal Termsmake like, [Informal.]to try or pretend to be like;
    imitate:I'm going to go out and make like a gardener.
  23. make off: 
    • to run away;
      depart hastily:The only witness to the accident made off before the police arrived.
    • Naval Terms[Naut.]to stand off from a coast, esp. a lee shore.
  24. make off with, to carry away;
    steal:While the family was away, thieves made off with most of their valuables.
  25. Dialect Termsmake on, [Chiefly Pennsylvania German.]to turn on, light, or ignite (esp. a light or fire):Make the light on.
  26. Idioms, Dialect Termsmake one's manners, [Southern U.S.]
    • to perform an appropriate or expected social courtesy.
    • Slang Terms[Older Use.]to bow or curtsy.
  27. make out: 
    • to write out or complete, as a bill or check.
    • to establish;
    • to decipher;
    • to imply, suggest, or impute:He made me out to be a liar.
    • to manage;
      succeed:How are you making out in your new job?
    • Slang Termsto engage in kissing and caressing;
    • Slang Termsto have sexual intercourse.
    • Dialect Terms[Chiefly Pennsylvania German.]to turn off or extinguish (esp. a light or fire):Make the light out.
  28. make over: 
    • to remodel;
      alter:to make over a dress; to make over a page layout.
    • to transfer the title of (property);
      convey:After she retired she made over her property to her children and moved to Florida.
  29. make sail, [Naut.]
    • Nauticalto set sails.
    • Nauticalto brace the yards of a ship that has been hove to in order to make headway.
  30. Dialect Termsmake shut, [Chiefly Pennsylvania German.]to close:Make the door shut.
  31. Idiomsmake time. See  time (def. 42).
  32. Printingmake up: 
    • (of parts) to constitute;
    • to put together;
    • to concoct;
    • Also,  make up for. to compensate for;
      make good.
    • to complete.
    • to put in order;
      arrange:The maid will make up the room.
    • to conclude;
    • to settle amicably, as differences.
    • to become reconciled, as after a quarrel.
    • [Print.]to arrange set type, illustrations, etc., into columns or pages.
    • to dress in appropriate costume and apply cosmetics for a part on the stage.
    • to apply cosmetics.
    • to adjust or balance, as accounts;
      prepare, as statements.
    • Educationto repeat (a course or examination that one has failed).
    • Educationto take an examination that one had been unable to take when first given, usually because of absence.
    • to specify and indicate the layout or arrangement of (columns, pages, etc., of matter to be printed).
    • Dialect TermsAtlantic States. (of the weather or clouds) to develop or gather:It's making up for a storm.
    • Dialect TermsAtlantic States. (of the sea) to become turbulent:If the sea makes up, row toward land.
  33. make up to: 
    • Informal Termsto try to become friendly with;
      fawn on.
    • to make advances to;
      flirt with:He makes up to every new woman in the office.
  34. make water: 
    • Idiomsto urinate.
    • Nautical(of a hull) to leak.
  35. Slang Termsmake with: 
    • to operate;
      use:Let's make with the feet.
    • to bring about;
      provide or produce:He makes with the big ideas, but can't follow through.

  1. the style or manner in which something is made;
  2. production with reference to the maker;
    brand:our own make.
  3. disposition;
  4. the act or process of making.
  5. quantity made;
  6. Games[Cards.]the act of naming the trump, or the suit named as trump.
  7. [Elect.]the closing of an electric circuit.
  8. Jewelrythe excellence of a polished diamond with regard to proportion, symmetry, and finish.
  9. Slang Termsidentifying information about a person or thing from police records:He radioed headquarters for a make on the car's license plate.
  10. Informal Termson the make: 
    • Idiomsseeking to improve one's social or financial position, usually at the expense of others or of principle.
    • Idiomsincreasing;
    • Slang Termsseeking amorous or sexual relations:The park was swarming with sailors on the make.
  11. Idioms, Slang Termsput the make on, [Slang.]to make sexual overtures to.
maka•ble, adj. 
  • bef. 900; Middle English maken, Old English macian; cognate with Low German, Dutch maken, German machen
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged form;
      fabricate, create, fashion, mold.
      Make, construct, manufacture mean to produce, to put into definite form, or to put parts together to make a whole.
      Make is the general term:Bees make wax.Construct, more formal, means to put parts together, usually according to a plan or design:to construct a building.Manufacture usually refers to producing something from material that requires conversion from one state or condition to another, now almost entirely by means of machinery in a relatively complex process:to manufacture automobiles by the assembly of different parts.The term is also often used contemptuously of unimaginative or hackneyed works of art with the implication that the work was produced mechanically, and is used abstractly with the idea of denying genuineness:to manufacture an excuse.
    • 7.See corresponding entry in Unabridged transform, change, turn.
    • 8.See corresponding entry in Unabridged force.
    • 10.See corresponding entry in Unabridged get, gain, acquire, obtain, secure, procure.
    • 13.See corresponding entry in Unabridged perform, execute.
    • 18.See corresponding entry in Unabridged judge, gauge.
    • 74.See corresponding entry in Unabridged shape, structure, construction, constitution.
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged destroy.

make2  (māk),USA pronunciation n. [Brit. Dial.]
  1. British Termsa peer or equal.
  2. British Termsa spouse, mate, consort, or lover.
  3. British Termsa friend;
  • Middle English mak, make, Old English gemaca. See match2 bef. 1000

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
make /meɪk/ vb (makes, making, made)(mainly tr)
  1. to bring into being by shaping, changing, or combining materials, ideas, etc; form or fashion; create
  2. to draw up, establish, or form: to make a decision, make one's will
  3. to cause to exist, bring about, or produce: don't make a noise
  4. to cause, compel, or induce: please make him go away
  5. to appoint or assign, as to a rank or position: they made him chairman
  6. to constitute: one swallow doesn't make a summer
  7. (also intr) to come or cause to come into a specified state or condition: to make merry, make someone happy
  8. (copula) to be or become through development: he will make a good teacher
  9. to cause or ensure the success of: your news has made my day
  10. to amount to: twelve inches make a foot
  11. to serve as or be suitable for: that piece of cloth will make a coat
  12. to prepare or put into a fit condition for use: to make a bed
  13. to be the essential element in or part of: charm makes a good salesman
  14. to carry out, effect, or do
  15. (intr; followed by to, as if to, or as though to) to act with the intention or with a show of doing something: they made to go out, he made as if to hit her
  16. to use for a specified purpose: I will make this town my base
  17. to deliver or pronounce: to make a speech
  18. to cause to seem or represent as being
  19. to earn, acquire, or win for oneself: to make friends, make a fortune
  20. to engage in: make love not war
  21. to traverse or cover (distance) by travelling: we can make a hundred miles by nightfall
  22. to arrive in time for: he didn't make the first act of the play
  23. to win a trick with (a specified card)
  24. to shuffle (the cards)
  25. to fulfil (a contract) by winning the necessary number of tricks
  26. to score (runs)
  27. to close (a circuit) permitting a flow of current
  28. (intransitive) to increase in depth: the water in the hold was making a foot a minute
  29. informal to gain a place or position on or in: to make the headlines, make the first team
  30. informal to achieve the rank of
  31. slang to seduce
  32. make a bookto take bets on a race or other contest
  33. make a day of itto cause an activity to last a day
  34. make a night of itto cause an activity to last a night
  35. make do
    See do1
  36. make eyes atto flirt with or ogle
  37. make itinformal to be successful in doing something
  38. (followed by with) slang to have sexual intercourse
  39. make likeslang chiefly US Canadian to imitate
  1. brand, type, or style
  2. the manner or way in which something is made
  3. disposition or character; make-up
  4. the act or process of making
  5. the amount or number made
  6. a player's turn to shuffle
  7. on the makeinformal out for profit or conquest
  8. slang in search of a sexual partner

See also make forEtymology: Old English macian; related to Old Frisian makia to construct, Dutch maken, German machen to make

ˈmakable adj
'make a mess' also found in these entries (note: many are not synonyms or translations):
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