I. noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English mæsse, modification of Vulgar Latin *messa, literally, dismissal at the end of a religious service, from Late Latin missa, from Latin, feminine of missus, past participle of mittere to send Date: before 12th century 1. capitalized the liturgy of the Eucharist especially in accordance with the traditional Latin rite 2. often capitalized a celebration of the Eucharist <
Sunday masses held at three different hours
3. a musical setting for the ordinary of the Mass II. noun Etymology: Middle English masse, from Anglo-French, from Latin massa, from Greek maza; akin to Greek massein to knead — more at mingle Date: 15th century 1. a. a quantity or aggregate of matter usually of considerable size b. (1) expanse, bulk (2) massive quality or effect <
impressed me with such mass and such vividness — F. M. Ford
(3) the principal part or main body <
the great mass of the continent is buried under an ice cap — Walter Sullivan
(4) aggregate, whole <
men in the mass
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 mass 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 plural <
the underprivileged and disadvantaged masses — C. A. Buss
Synonyms: see bulk III. verb Date: 14th century transitive verb to form or collect into a mass intransitive verb to assemble in a mass <
three thousand students had massed in the plaza — A. E. Neville
IV. adjective Date: 1733 1. a. of or relating to the mass of the people <
mass market
mass education
; also being one of or at one with the mass ; average, commonplace <
mass man
b. participated in by or affecting a large number of individuals <
mass destruction
mass demonstrations
c. having a large-scale character <
mass plantings of tulips
2. viewed as a whole ; total <
the mass effect of a design

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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