English Vocabulary: What a Mess!

English has many ways to talk about disorder. Let’s look at some new vocabulary for talking about that mess!

little boy eating mess clean dirty covered ice cream English vocabulary

For example, the opposite of clean, is dirty.  This little boy has a dirty face.  His face is covered with ice cream.

 mess clean dirty paint English vocabulary spattered

The opposite of neat and tidy is messy.  This artist’s table is very messy.  It is spattered with paint.



This room is also messy.  The floor is covered with junk.  In fact, it is a pigsty (SO messy that it looks like some place that a pig would live.)


If someone’s handwriting is difficult to read, we can also call it messy, sloppy, or illegible.  Doctors’ writing is often illegible.  (Is yours?)


In contrast, the opposite of new is worn out or falling apart.  This person’s pants are worn out.  They are falling apart.  They are full of holes.


Junk is a useful word.  It describes anything that has no purpose any more or that is poorly-made.  This junk comes from an old factory.


In contrast, a building that is old and falling apart is often referred to as run down.  This picture shows a school that got too run down to use any more.  Now, it is abandoned.

Now you have more choices than “bad” or “dirty” to talk about things that are disorderly.  Have fun!