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To waste time being lazy or idle. Quit lousing around and help me take out the trash! He just spends the weekend lousing around on the couch instead of doing anything productive.
To ruin, spoil, mess up, or bungle someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "louse" and "up." Her sudden decision to quit in the middle of the project really loused us up. I am not letting your crummy attitude louse up my vacation—if you want to be grouch, you can go somewhere else and do it alone!
three skips of a louse
obsolete Some infinitesimal or trivial amount. Sir, I care not even three skips of a louse for the censures of a reprobate such as yourself.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
louse someone or something up
Inf. to ruin something; to mess someone or something up. You really loused me up! You got me in a real mess! Who loused up my scheme?
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Spoil, ruin, bungle. For example, The bad weather loused up our plans, or Your change of mind really loused me up. This slangy expression originated in World War I, when infestation with lice was the common lot of soldiers in the trenches; its figurative use dates from the 1930s.
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.
To cause something to fail because of poor handling; botch something: The president loused up the merger, costing the company millions of dollars. Let me tell the story—you always louse it up.
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.
n. a thoroughly repellent person, usually a male. You can be such a louse!
louse something up
tv. to botch something up. Please don’t louse the typewriter ribbon up this time.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
louse (something) up, to
To ruin or botch, to blunder. Undoubtedly alluding to the unhappy condition of being “loused up,” that is, infested with lice, this slangy term dates from the first half of the 1900s. At first it was used as a transitive verb, as in John O’Hara’s Appointment in Samarra, “Lousing up your date.” A decade or two later it was also being used intransitively, as in “Don’t trust her with the reservations; she’s sure to louse up.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer