from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A unified body of matter with no specific shape.
  • noun A grouping of individual parts or elements that compose a unified body of unspecified size or quantity.
  • noun A large but nonspecific amount or number.
  • noun A lump or aggregate of coherent material.
  • noun The principal part; the majority.
  • noun The physical volume or bulk of a solid body.
  • noun Physics A property of matter equal to the measure of the amount of matter contained in or constituting a physical body that partly determines the body's resistance to changes in the speed or direction of its motion. The mass of an object is not dependent on gravity and therefore is different from but proportional to its weight.
  • noun An area of unified light, shade, or color in a painting.
  • noun Pharmacology A thick, pasty mixture containing drugs from which pills are formed.
  • noun The body of common people or people of low socioeconomic status.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To gather or be gathered into a mass.
  • adjective Of, relating to, characteristic of, directed at, or attended by a large number of people.
  • adjective Done or carried out on a large scale.
  • adjective Total; complete.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An abbreviation of Massachusetts.
  • To form into a mass; collect into masses; assemble in one body or in close conjunction: as, to mass troops at a certain place; to mass the points of an argument.
  • To strengthen, as a building for the purpose of fortification.
  • To collect in masses; assemble in groups or in force.
  • noun A body of coherent matter; a lump, particularly a large or unformed lump: as, a mass of iron or lead; a mass of flesh; a mass of rock.
  • noun An assemblage or collection of incoherent particles or things; an agglomeration; a congeries; hence, amount or number in general: as, a mass of sand; a mass of foliage, of troops, etc.
  • noun The bulk or greater part of anything; the chief portion; the main body.
  • noun Bulk in general; magnitude; massiveness.
  • noun The quantity of any portion of matter as expressed in pounds or grams, and measured on an ordinary balance with the proper reduction for the buoyancy of the atmosphere; otherwise, the relative inertia, or power in reaction, of a body.
  • noun In entomology, the terminal joints collectively of an antenna when they are enlarged and closely appressed to each other, forming a clava or club.
  • noun A large bunch of strung beads (12 small bunches fastened together).
  • noun See mas.
  • To celebrate mass.
  • noun In pharmacy, a preparation of thick, pasty consistency with which is incorporated some active medicinal substance: the mass is made up into pills of definite size and weight for administration.
  • noun In the fine arts, any large and simple expanse of form, light, shade, or color, in which the details of a composition arrange themselves.
  • noun In electrochemistry, the concentration of that fraction of the electrolyte which, at the given dilution, is dissociated into ions, and is therefore capable of carrying the electric current.
  • noun The celebration of the Lord's Supper or eucharist.
  • noun The office for the celebration of the eucharist; the liturgy.
  • noun The sacrament of the eucharist or holy communion.
  • noun A musical setting of certain parts of the Roman Catholic liturgy, also of corresponding parts of the Anglican liturgy.
  • noun A church festival or feast-day: now only in composition: as, Candlemas, Childermas, Christmas, Lammas, Martinmas, Marymas, Michaelmas, Roodmas (compare kermess).
  • noun Any mass where only the priest communicates, especially such a mass celebrated in a private oratory.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A quantity of matter cohering together so as to make one body, or an aggregation of particles or things which collectively make one body or quantity, usually of considerable size.
  • noun (Phar.) A medicinal substance made into a cohesive, homogeneous lump, of consistency suitable for making pills.
  • noun A large quantity; a sum.
  • noun Bulk; magnitude; body; size.
  • noun The principal part; the main body.
  • noun (Physics) The quantity of matter which a body contains, irrespective of its bulk or volume.
  • noun See under Blue.
  • noun (Geom.) the center of gravity of a triangle.
  • noun native copper in a large mass.
  • noun a large or general assembly of people, usually a meeting having some relation to politics.
  • noun the great body of the people, as contrasted with the higher classes; the populace.
  • noun (R. C. Ch.) The sacrifice in the sacrament of the Eucharist, or the consecration and oblation of the host.
  • noun (Mus.) The portions of the Mass usually set to music, considered as a musical composition; -- namely, the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei, besides sometimes an Offertory and the Benedictus.
  • noun See Canon.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English masse, from Old French, from Latin massa, from Greek māza, maza; see mag- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English masse, from Old English mæsse ("the mass, church festival"), from Vulgar Latin *messa, from Late Latin missa, noun use of feminine past participle of classical Latin mittere ("to send"). Compare Dutch mis ("mass"), German Messe ("mass"), Danish messe ("mass"), Icelandic messa ("mass"). More at mission.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

In late Middle English (circa 1400) as masse in the sense of "lump, quantity of matter", from Anglo-Norman masse, in Old French attested from the 11th century, via late Latin massa ("lump, dough"), from Ancient Greek μᾶζα (maza, "barley-cake, lump (of dough)"). The Greek noun is derived from the verb μάσσω (mássō, "to knead"), ultimately from a Proto-Indo-European *mag'- (“to oil, knead”). The sense of "a large number or quantity" arises circa 1580. The scientific sense is from 1704, due to Isaac Newton.


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