Meaning of MASS in English


I. ˈmas, -aa(ə)s, -ais sometimes -ȧs noun

( -es )

Usage: often capitalized

Etymology: Middle English masse mass, feast day, from Old English mæsse, modification of (assumed) Vulgar Latin messa mass, dismissal at the end of a religious service, from Late Latin missa, from Latin, feminine of missus, past participle of mittere to send, dismiss — more at smite


a. : a sequence of prayers and ceremonies constituting a commemorative sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine : the Christian eucharistic rite

b. : a celebrating of the Eucharist especially with a particular intention

make a bequest for masses

c. : a religious ceremony similar to or likened to the Christian mass

Taoist masses for the dead

2. : a setting of certain parts of the mass considered as a musical composition — compare requiem

II. noun

( -es )

Etymology: Middle English masse, from Middle French, from Latin massa lump, mass, from Greek maza lump, mass, barley cake; akin to Greek massein, mattein to knead — more at mingle



(1) : a quantity of matter cohering together so as to make one body usually of indefinite shape

a mass of dough

a mass of ore

(2) : an aggregate of particles or things making one body or quantity usually of considerable size

a mass of sand

(3) : a homogeneous pasty mixture compounded for making pills, troches, and plasters

blue mass

(4) obsolete : universe , earth


(1) : the extent of body of a solid object : the extent of space that an object occupies : expanse , bulk

the highest mountain mass on the globe — Encyc. Americana

lifts its bulky mass over the tangled summits — Wynford Vaughan-Thomas

(2) : massive quality or effect : magnitude , massiveness

in the face of their mass and virtuosity, what was the use of rebelling against his frequent abuse of the language — Time

impressed me with such mass and such vividness — F.M.Ford

presented with such mass and vehemence — Edmund Wilson

(3) : the principal part : main body

the great mass of the continent is buried under an ice cap — Walter Sullivan

the mass of our imports consists of raw materials

saw the dark mass of the van — Nevil Shute

also : an unbroken expanse of something lacking bulk, density, or solid character

masses of color on a canvas

a mass of water

dense masses of smoke — George Meredith

(4) : aggregate , whole

what chiefly appeals to me is the forest seen in the mass — Arnold Bennett

men in the mass are pretty much alike

specifically : an aggregate of related objects or items

a mass of data

the mass of such published material is too great for integral translation — Mortimer Graves

(5) : concentration of combat power

the principle of mass


(1) : the quality or appearance of considerable largeness and material density (as in a painting or architectural structure)

impressive use of mass and repetition of detail — American Guide Series: Arkansas

(2) : the shape of a building considered in three-dimensional volume as opposed to silhouette or stylistic decoration

d. : the property of a body that is a measure of its inertia, that is commonly taken as a measure of the amount of material it contains, that causes a body to have weight in a gravitational field, that along with length and time constitutes one of the fundamental quantities on which all physical measurements are based, and that according to the theory of relativity increases with increasing velocity

two free bodies have equal mass if the same force gives them the same acceleration


a. obsolete : a sum or fund of money

b. : a large quantity, amount, or number

turned out a great mass of miscellaneous material — R.A.Hall b.1911



(1) : majority , generality

the great mass of teachers … use their textbooks and dictionaries — H.R.Warfel

declared the mass of mankind did not know their own best interests

more human … than the mass of their countrymen — E.K.Brown

(2) : a large body of persons in a compact body or array : a body of persons regarded as an aggregate

a mass of spectators jammed into the hall

(3) : the great body of the people as contrasted with the upper classes : ordinary people : proletariat

the coupling of the elite with the mass is the key — Percy Winner

— usually used in plural

of this … he felt the masses to be capable — H.S.Canby

b. : a military formation in which subdivisions are separated by less than normal intervals and distances

- in mass

III. verb

( -ed/-ing/-es )

transitive verb

1. : to form or collect into a mass : dispose in a mass : assemble

with her hair massed low on her brow — Donn Byrne

eighteenth-century canvases massing a dozen gods, a hundred generals, and … bleeding soldiers — Sinclair Lewis

2. : to concentrate (as troops or fire) on or in a particular area

intransitive verb

: to gather and form into a mass : collect in a body

could see the crowd … massing around the gates — A.P.Gaskell

IV. adjective


a. : of, relating to, designed for, serving, or characteristic of the mass of the people

mass psychology

the modern economic phenomenon of the … mass market, mass distribution — Percy Winner

mass magazines

mass education

mass chest X-ray surveys of healthy persons — Journal American Medical Association

mass hysteria

b. : participated in, attended by, or affecting a large number of individuals

weapons of mass destruction

called for mass demonstrations against the government

airplanes made a mass raid on the target

c. : having a large-scale character : done in large or wholesale quantities

mass plantings of varicolored tulips — American Guide Series: Michigan

mass production

2. : arranged or disposed in a mass

a good spot for mass displays — Packaging Manual for Self-Service Meats

3. : viewed as a whole : total , aggregate

the mass effect of the design is most striking

V. noun

( -es )

Etymology: by shortening & alteration

now dialect England : master

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.