/ mæs; NAmE / noun , adjective , verb
[ C ] mass (of sth) a large amount of a substance that does not have a definite shape or form :
a mass of snow and rocks falling down the mountain
The hill appeared as a black mass in the distance.
The sky was full of dark masses of clouds.
[ C , usually sing. ] mass of sth a large amount or quantity of sth :
a mass of blonde hair
I began sifting through the mass of evidence.
[ sing. ] mass of sth a large number of people or things grouped together, often in a confused way :
I struggled through the mass of people to the exit.
The page was covered with a mass of figures.
masses (of sth) [ pl. ] ( informal ) a large number or amount of sth
SYN lots :
There were masses of people in the shops yesterday.
I've got masses of work to do.
Don't give me any more. I've eaten masses!
the masses [ pl. ] the ordinary people in society who are not leaders or who are considered to be not very well educated :
government attempts to suppress dissatisfaction among the masses
a TV programme that brings science to the masses
the mass of sth [ sing. ] the most; the majority :
The reforms are unpopular with the mass of teachers and parents.
[ U ] ( technical ) the quantity of material that sth contains :
calculating the mass of a planet
HELP NOTE : Weight is used in non-technical language for this meaning.
—see also biomass , critical mass , land mass
- be a mass of
[ only before noun ] affecting or involving a large number of people or things :
mass unemployment / production
weapons of mass destruction
Their latest product is aimed at the mass market .
—see also mass-market
to come together in large numbers; to gather people or things together in large numbers :
[ v , usually + adv. / prep. ]
Demonstrators had massed outside the embassy.
Dark clouds massed on the horizon.
[ vn ]
The general massed his troops for a final attack.
► massed adjective :
the massed ranks of his political opponents
late Middle English : from Old French masse , from Latin massa , from Greek maza barley cake; perhaps related to massein knead.