HyperFocal: 0

Word: Hot Mess From humble grub to humblebrag.

Word: Hot Mess From humble grub to humblebrag.

  • Words Pip Usher
  • Photograph Annemarieke van Drimmelen

Etymology: First coined to describe a hot meal, the term’s sloppy connotations quickly morphed from food-related to figurative when it came to reference a chaotic yet appealing individual.

Meaning: Stand-up comedian Amy Schumer has amassed a multimillion-dollar fortune through being a hot mess. Her ribald humor—which riffs on binge-drinking, body parts and bad sex—has established this identity as her shtick, so much so that billboards advertising her show, Inside Amy Schumer, were branded with the phrase.

Ask a soldier in the late 19th century to describe a hot mess, however, and he’d launch into details of the canteen meal he’d just scoffed. A literal descriptor of a warm, mushy meal prepared in bulk, the word’s origins can be traced to the Latin root, “missus,” meaning...

The full version of this story is only available for subscribers

Want to enjoy full access? Subscribe Now

Subscribe Discover unlimited access to Kinfolk

  • Four print issues of Kinfolk magazine per year, delivered to your door, with twelve-months’ access to the entire Kinfolk.com archive and all web exclusives.

  • Receive twelve-months of all access to the entire Kinfolk.com archive and all web exclusives.

Learn More

Already a Subscriber? Login

Your cart is empty

Your Cart (0)