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mess around(with something) and mess about (with something); monkey around (with something)
1. to play with or fiddle with something idly and with no good purpose. Don't mess around with the ashtray. You'll break it if you don't stop messing about with it.
2. to experiment with something; to use and learn about something. We had been messing about with some new video techniques when we made our discovery. The people in this lab are messing around with all kinds of polymers.
mess aroundand mess about
1. to waste time; to do something ineffectually. Stop messing around and get busy. I wish you wouldn't mess about so much. You waste a lot of time that way.
2. to play [with someone] sexually. Those two have been messing around. Pete was messing around with Maria during the summer.
1. Slang To waste time: Stop messing around and finish your chores!
2. Slang mess around with To manipulate or work with something without a clear sense of method: I messed around with the TV controls, but the picture still looks too green.
3. Vulgar Slang To engage in casual, often promiscuous sexual activity.