fool around

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fool around

1. To play or tinker with something, often in an aimless manner. Hey, don't fool around with the thermostat—it needs to stay at 68 degrees. Grandpa's still fooling around with that old radio, but I doubt he'll get it to work again.
2. To engage in aimless recreation or frivolous time-wasting. Quit fooling around with the dog and work on your book report already!
3. To have a casual sexual relationship with someone. Betsy and I are just fooling around, which is great because I don't want a serious relationship anyway.
4. To joke about something. Often used in the negative to indicate absolute seriousness. Oh, come on, Tina, we're just fooling around. We didn't mean it. You guys, Mom is not fooling around. She said she would ground us for a month if she caught us again.
See also: around, fool
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fool around

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.
See also: around, fool
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

fool around

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]
See also: around, fool
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

fool around

v.
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.
See also: around, fool
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
1, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) appealed to the public not to fool around with the number-as it could spell life and death.
SPLICE Film4 11.35PM Insane boffins Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley put bio-ethics aside to fool around with DNA.
Cinema projectionist Emile (voiced by Jay Harrington) and truck driver Raoul (Adam Goldberg) fool around with test tubes of strange liquid in Paris.
"But if he's allowed to fool around with a towel for 10 minutes every time he takes a throw, then surely I'm allowed to relieve the boredom with a few stretching exercises."
Gemma Morris scooped the cash after days flirting with the Dubliner on TV show Fool Around With My Boyfriend.
Suggestion for Ms Dahl...if she's worried about looking like a slapper or having her reputation impugned by being accused of having sex in the back of someone's car within a few feet of the driver's nose, it might be best not to fool around with an old man famed for his sexathons with pretty young things, .
However, modern day `customers' sadly go racing to drink beer and fool around with a few tote bets-on whatever is provided.
What if Ryan's hunky straight best friend would fool around with him to cheer his buddy up?
"HIV-2 is not a virus you fool around with. We're not pushing for its use as a vaccine," agrees Kanki.