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Mess, 1) a dish: “I had as lief you would tell me of a m. of porridge,” Wiv. III, 1, 63. “one m. is like to be your cheer,” Shr. IV, 4, 70. “our feasts in every m. have folly, and the feeders digest it with a custom,” Wint. IV, 4, 11. “nature on each bush lays her full m. before you,” Tim. IV, 3, 424. “he that makes his generation --es to gorge his appetite,” Lr. I, 1, 119.
2) a small quantity, a small piece: “to borrow a m. of vinegar,” H4B II, 1, 103. “I will chop her into --es,” Oth. IV, 1, 211 (cf. gobbets in H6B V, 2, 58).
3) a party eating together, a dining-table: “he and his toothpick at my worship's m.” John I, 190. “let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's m.” Hml. V, 2, 89. lower --es == persons of inferior rank (properly those who sat at the lower end of the table. Dyce): “lower --es perchance are to this business purblind,” Wint. I, 2, 227.
4) a set of four ('as at great dinners the company was usually arranged into fours'. Nares): “you three fools lacked me fool to make up the m.” LLL IV, 3, 207. “a m. of Russians left us but of late,” V, 2, 361. “where are your m. of sons to back you now?” H6C I, 4, 73.
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