Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
to waste time doing something unnecessary or doing something amateurishly. Stop fooling around and clean your room as I told you. I wish you didn't spend so much time fooling around.
to waste time doing something without a particular purpose mess around It was a serious academic school, not a place to fool around.Related vocabulary: fuck around
Usage notes: often used in the negative to mean to not waste time but to act with a serious purpose: The coach was in no mood to fool around, and the team knew it.
1. Also, monkey around. Engage in idle or casual activity, putter. For example, Jim loved to fool around with his computer, or She was monkeying around with some figures in hopes of balancing the budget. [Second half of 1800s]
2. Engage in frivolous activity, waste time. For example, Instead of studying, he spends all his spare time fooling around. Also see fool away.
3. Engage in flirting or casual sexual acts; also, engage in adultery. For example, He caught the two teenagers fooling around in the basement. [1830s]
1. Slang To engage in frivolous activity; goof off: The children are fooling around in the yard.
2. Slang fool around with To manipulate or work with something without a clear purpose; toy with something: Who's been fooling around with my briefcase?
3. Vulgar Slang To engage in casual, often promiscuous sexual activity.
4. Vulgar Slang To be sexually unfaithful.