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. © 2015 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 ?
However, that night we ended up talking and, to cut a long story short, we fooled around in his apartment, although we didn't go all the way.
A COUPLE flooded a bed and breakfast after ripping a sink off the wall as they "fooled around".
The house joker fooled around for the cameras by licking Lesley's bare bum.
How V later appe ap WHILE Jessie J fooled around with a big cat, Amy Childs was wearing one.
Now he's fooled around with her long locks on the site - by mocking her up with Mohawk.
A JUDGE yesterday took pity on Kasha Peniston, the teenager who shot his little sister dead as he fooled around with a gun.
Ryan, 32, has joked about his thin frame in the past but he looked gaunt and tired as he fooled around on Dublin's Grafton Street to promote Barry's Tea Book Club.
We fooled around outside all week long and later found out that a guy had been living in a tree the entire week taking pictures."