Preferably a word that is not specific to the mess being one of disorganization. Someone who spills things, for example, should be included.

  • What do you mean by "describe"? Do you want a noun, or an adjective?
    – herisson
    Aug 30, 2016 at 0:32
  • Is there anything wrong with "messer"?
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 30, 2016 at 1:07
  • 7
    @HotLicks Or messy.
    – tchrist
    Aug 30, 2016 at 2:47
  • There is some ambiguity in the question. I interpreted 'making messes' in my answer below as 'messy' in a sense of lazy or not caring (they spill things because, well, who cares?). Others clearly are interpreting 'making messes' as 'clumsy' (they spill things because they are uncoordinated or, depending on the kind of mess, incontinent).
    – IanS
    Aug 30, 2016 at 6:38
  • 3
    [single-word-requests] must contain an example sentence, mainly so that we know whether you are looking for a noun or an adjective. This question is unclear in its current state.
    – AndyT
    Aug 30, 2016 at 11:28

11 Answers 11


I would call them a klutz:

a person who often drops things, falls down, etc. : a clumsy person

(From Merriam-Webster.)

  • And if there's any doubt Laurel's answer should be accepted as the best one, don't forget about Ringo Fonebone, aka, Captain Klutz ... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Klutz Aug 30, 2016 at 1:07
  • 4
    klutz doesn't convey messiness. Aug 30, 2016 at 17:00
  • 1
    You can be an organized and tidy klutz (imagine someone who tidily arranges their bookshelf, only to knock it over later (and tidily re-organize it again)—this is a tidy klutz, much to their own dismay), so this term really doesn't fit the bill for this question.
    – acidnbass
    Aug 30, 2016 at 19:57

A slob. That's not to do with disorganisation, it's more like someone who doesn't clean up around their house. Oxford Learner's Dictionary defines slob as "a person who is lazy or rude or who dresses carelessly". I'd add "generally untidy and messy in habits," and is the word I would use in your case.


awkward and clumsy are nonspecific terms and may fit, but if you mean awkward and clumsy with one's hands, "all thumbs" is a better choice.

  • awkward - (adj) - "lacking dexterity"

  • clumsy - (adj) - "moving or doing things in a very awkward way and tending to drop or break things"

  • all thumbs - (adj) - "awkward in handling things"

  • "Can you thread this needle for me? I'm all thumbs."
  • "Her clumsy hands are likely to drop the cake on the floor."
  • "He was so awkward and hasty that he kicked my poor puppy."

It's informal and a Yiddish loan word, but nothing fits the bill better than "schlemiel". The OED regards it as North American and informal and gives as its meaning, "a stupid, awkward, or unlucky person". Vocabulary.com indicates that the word derives from "Peter Schlemiel", a bungling character in a German fable. The aspect of being unlucky is better expressed by the perhaps less common "schlimazel" (literally, bad luck). This is expressed by the aphorism: "A schlemiel is one who always spills his soup, schlimazel is the one on whom it always lands."

  • 2
    I wonder how many English speakers, not from the North East, or from a Jewish / Yiddish community would even know that word? It also means loser or unlucky. I know plenty of organized losers and well-organized people who seem to have bad luck. :)) Aug 30, 2016 at 1:05
  • 1
    I'd recognise it (UK, London most of my life). It would not spring to my lips, though.
    – nigel222
    Aug 30, 2016 at 9:31
  • 1
    Or that watched Laverne and Shirley...
    – Jim
    Aug 30, 2016 at 21:25
  • @Jim or Parks and Rec Aug 30, 2016 at 23:37

Informally, I would call that person Butter Fingers.

Dictionary.com as,

noun. A person who drops things inadvertently or fails to catch things; clumsy person.

Just an info: In EA Sports Cricket '02, there is a cheat code which would make the fielder drop the catch every time and for that you need to enter Butter fingers. Clumsy fielder.


How about sloven:

sloven: a dirty or sloppy person

Sloven is an antonym of neatnik:

neatnik: a person who is compulsively neat

Another antonym of neatnik would be messnik, but, alas, messnik is not (yet) a word.

  • I can't help but imagine Shakespeare calling his college roommate this. Aug 30, 2016 at 13:55
  • @DougWarren :-) It's pronounced slah'-vin. Aug 30, 2016 at 17:35

Similar to klutz there is also lummox - a clumsy, stupid person [oxforddictionaries.com]. To me the word implies a kind of clumsy dull-wittedness that comes from being sleepy, hot and bothered or drunk; not necessarily someone who is permanently stupid.

I'd also like to suggest a couple of euphemistic ones:

hooligan - could be someone who makes a mess through aggressive, careless, or destructive play, or some wild abandon. "will you hooligans stop playing football in the house, you're making a terrible mess" or "stop stirring the paint like a hooligan, it's going everywhere".

whirling dervish - Dervishes are a Muslim religious order noted for their wild, ecstatic dancing and whirling. This could be used to describe someone who rapidly and noisily leaves a trail of destruction/mess in their wake - "you burst in here like a whirling dervish upsetting everything as you go, please just sit down".


Maladroit: ineffective or bungling; clumsy.

(h/t to "Clumsy Carp, the maladroit icthyologist" from the B.C. comic strip by Johnny Hart).


I'm a very messy person.

You could use a metaphor that conjures imagery of messiness. For example a storm.

For example - sometime's I'm referred to as Tornado Dave.


How about politician. It is one who expresses good intentions and promises, but through naivete, inexperience, or insincerity, promotes harm and chaos to other persons, property, and prosperity.

Sorry, it was just too good to pass up.


You could say that they are sloppy: (from Merriam Webster)

not careful or neat : showing a lack of care, attention, or effort

This is particularly appropriate to the case of someone who carelessly spills things on them since it carries the connotation of wetness (eg. mud/"sloppy joe" burgers (which spill their contents on you as you eat them): (Etymology from Etymonline)

1727, "muddy," from slop (n.1) + -y (2). Meaning "loose, ill-fitting, slovenly" is first recorded 1825, influenced by slop (n.2). Related: Sloppily; sloppiness. Sloppy Joe was originally "loose-fitting sweater worn by girls" (1942); as a name for a kind of spiced hamburger, it is attested from 1961.

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