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Hot mess

A hot mess is someone or something that is in tremendous disarray, disheveled, emotionally or mentally not balanced. Hot mess is an idiom which has only gained favor in the last twenty-five years or so. Originally, hot mess referred to a hot meal, especially in the military. At the beginning of the twentieth century, hot mess was occasionally used in the American South to refer to being in trouble. The meaning of hot mess evolved into someone or something in tremendous disarray, popularized by the American television situation comedy Arrested Development. Later, Christian Siriano, a contestant on the American reality television show Project Runway, popularized the phrase hot mess even more.


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Examples

UMass, which is independent in football, could receive support from UConn and Temple, but the football program at UMass has been a hot mess ever since it made the move to FBS in 2011. (The Sun Herald)

On Nov. 21, for example, she wrote to city Purchasing Agent Roger Rousseau that she needed “to shut that hot mess of a committee down and freeze out elements such as [chamber President] Jim Albert, who thinks he is chair, and Terry Parker’s girlfriend, who wants to have bake sales, and Peter Del Mastro, who thinks I am conspiring against him every time he finds a typo in meeting minutes.” (The Bristol Press)

All that voguing, screeching and confetti throwing — not to mention the epilepsy-inducing sudden light changes and plunges into black — makes for an entertaining distraction from the fact that the play is sort of a hot mess, and always has been since it was first performed in 1947. (The Hollywood Reporter)

But perhaps they should have trusted their initial instincts to not participate, because not only was the end result a hot mess, but “A Song of Ice and Fire” series author George R.R. Martin, to quote narrator Liam Neeson, went “absolutely crazy” and canceled the production. (The Wall Street Journal)

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