Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To make messy or untidy; rumple.
  • n. A state of disorder; a mess.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to rumple, tousle or make (something) untidy
  • n. a disorderly mess
  • n. A term of endearment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A scramble, as when small objects are thrown down, to be taken by those who can seize them; a confused struggle.
  • n. A state of confusion or disorder; -- prob. variant of mess, but influenced by muss, a scramble.
  • n. A term of endearment.
  • transitive v. To disarrange, as clothing; to rumple; -- often used with up.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put into a state of disorder; rumple; tumble: as, to muss one's hair.
  • To smear; mess.
  • n. A scramble, as for small objects thrown down to be taken by those who can seize them.
  • n. That which is to be scrambled for.
  • n. A state of confusion; disorder: as, the things are all in a muss.
  • n. An indiscriminate fight; a squabble; a row.
  • n. A mouse: used as a term of endearment.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make messy or untidy
  • n. a state of confusion and disorderliness

Etymologies

Probably alteration of mess.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Compare Middle English mus ("a mouse"). See mouse. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They wanted the affair given where there would be no objection to either noise or "muss," as Nat put it, so the coach house was decided upon.

    Dorothy Dale's Queer Holidays

  • But Palmerston's skill in management was unavailing in this case and the "muss" (as Mason called it) was continued when Lindsay entered upon a long account of the interview with Napoleon, renewed the accusations of Russell's "revelations" to Seward and advised Roebuck not to withdraw his motion but to postpone it "until Monday."

    Great Britain and the American Civil War

  • Little women are notoriously pugnacious, and, as a matter of 250 copies of the "Old-fashioned Girl" have also found lodgings on the library shelves, no wonder that there was a "muss" on the premises.

    Punchinello, Volume 1, No. 20, August 13, 1870

  • "For one thing Fred sha'n't get into that kind of muss if I can save him from it."

    The Spenders A Tale of the Third Generation

  • He still kept his chamber in a state of confusion, -- "muss," Grace called it, -- pulling the drawers out of the bureau, and scattering the contents over the floor; dropping his clothes anywhere it happened, and carrying quantities of gravel up stairs in his shoes.

    Captain Horace

  • With exclamations of delight the children clamored to help, or "muss"

    Opening a Chestnut Burr

  • "muss" the hair of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed even though he killed Americans, and yet we're allowed to shoot three Somali pirates on the high seas.

    Media Matters for America - Limbaugh Wire

  • "I just made my arrangements for that time, and I hate t 'muss 'em up.

    Dawn O'Hara, the Girl Who Laughed

  • That would be the ideal fantasy -- no suffering, no fuss, no muss, no headaches, no assembly required.

    Vaishali: Self-Awareness: The Key to Owning and Operating the Human Experience

  • I never dreamed all this muss would be kicked up over a joke.

    THE JOKERS OF NEW GIBBON

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