fiddle around

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fiddle around

1. To play with or idly handle (something); to tinker (with something), especially ineptly or improperly. John, would you quit fiddling around with the engine and bring the car to a shop already? Mary, stop fiddling around with hem of your dress and sit still!
2. To engage in aimless recreation or frivolous time-wasting with someone or something. Quit fiddling around and work on your book report already!
3. To annoy or irritate someone, often by wasting their time. Quit fiddling around with me and give my book back, will you?
See also: around, fiddle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fiddle around (with something)

 and fiddle about (with something)
to play with something; to tinker with something ineptly. My brother is outside fiddling around with his car engine. He should stop fiddling around and go out and get a job.
See also: around, fiddle

fiddle around

(with someone) and fiddle about (with someone) to tease, annoy, or play with someone; to waste someone's time. All right, stop fiddling around with me and tell me how much you will give me for my car. Now it's time for all of you to quit fiddling around and get to work. Tom, you have to stop spending your time fiddling about with your friends. It's time to get serious with your studies.
See also: around, fiddle
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

fiddle around

v.
To act foolishly, playfully, or without a clear sense of purpose: If you don't stop fiddling around and start working, we'll never get home.
See also: around, fiddle
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 ?
I was constantly fiddling around in class, struggling to make them work.
Shouldn't we stop fiddling around debating gas price caps and join Iceland and Vanuatu in making conversion to a hydrogen economy a matter of state policy of the highest priority?
After fiddling around with this nifty little gadget, I found it's a lot more useful than you'd first think.
If your customers feel that they are too clumsy before ingesting their first cup of coffee to be fiddling around with a glass pot, introduce them to the new unbreakable French presses.
Forget all that fiddling about transferring your recordings to another source or fiddling around with wires before you can sit in front of the TV and watch your antics.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We can't afford to be fiddling around with minor issues here.
Maybe I would stir up a lot of trouble and make people, White and Black, have buckets of "extended negative emotion" against me if I kept fiddling around in people's stuff.
But for some reason, people fiddling around with electronic publishing try scanning in a tabloid page and displaying it online.
That may not be to Anglo taste, but the church says that if people want to do it, they may do so just as otherwise sensible people like fiddling around with Enneagrams as part of their spiritual searches.
Sununu would, whenever he felt the need, simply dictate policy from his office; Darman would, on the other hand, assert White House dominance and limit cabinet prerogatives by fiddling around with department budgets.
Fiddling around Carson City, Nevada--August 23, 24, and 25 This month, a hundred of the West's best fiddlers converge in Carson City for the Western Divisional Old-Time Fiddlers' Contest.
UNFAIR He added: "Rather than fiddling around on websites, the Tories should just get rid of this unfair tax."
Otherwise, following the loss of 25% of the main car park spaces with Kirklees' recent fiddling around with it, the only other option would be the exhumation of the old burial ground and release of that for parking.
Instead he is left fiddling around at the edges, desperately trying to find ways to boost growth without extra spending, through schemes such as FLS.