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. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Seven Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 50 Word: Dupe On the next best thing. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Word: Zeitgeber A new treatise on time. Arts & Culture Issue 48 Word: Kaloprosopia A word that celebrates the masks we wear. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Word: Döstädning A Swedish solution to the mess of death. Arts & Culture Issue 46 Word: Wintering When to withdraw from the world. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Word: Explication An explanation to end all explanations.