[mass] n [ME, fr. OE maesse, modif. of (assumed) VL messa, lit., dismissal at the end of a religious service, fr. LL missa, fr. L, fem. of missus, pp. of mittere to send] (bef. 12c) 1 cap: the liturgy of the Eucharist esp. in accordance with the traditional Latin rite
2. often cap: a celebration of the Eucharist "Sunday ~es held at three different hours"
3: a musical setting for the ordinary of the Mass
mass n [ME masse, fr. MF, fr. L massa, fr. Gk maza; akin to Gk massein to knead--more at mingle] (15c) 1 a: a quantity or aggregate of matter usu. of considerable size b (1): expanse, bulk (2): massive quality or effect "impressed me with such ~ and such vividness --F. M. Ford" (3): the principal part or main body "the great ~ of the continent is buried under an ice cap --Walter Sullivan" (4): aggregate, whole "men in the ~" c: the property of a body that is a measure of its inertia and that is commonly taken as a measure of the amount of material it contains and causes it to have weight in a gravitational field
2: a large quantity, amount, or number "a great ~ of material" 3 a: a large body of persons in a compact group: a body of persons regarded as an aggregate b: the great body of the people as contrasted with the elite--often used in pl. "the underprivileged and disadvantaged ~es --C. A. Buss" syn see bulk mass vt (14c): to form or collect into a mass ~ vi: to assemble in a mass "three thousand students had ~ed in the plaza --A. E. Neville" mass adj (1733) 1 a: of or relating to the mass of the people "~ market" "~ education"; also: being one of or at one with the mass: average, commonplace "~ man" b: participated in by or affecting a large number of individuals "~ destruction" "~ demonstrations" c: having a large-scale character: wholesale "~ production"
2: viewed as a whole: total "the ~ effect of a design"