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1. To tinker or fiddle with something. Hey, don't mess around with the thermostat—it needs to stay at 68 degrees. Grandpa's still messing around with that old radio, but I doubt he'll get it to work again.
2. To test or use something in order to learn more about it. I'm messing around with a different platform for my blog, and I can't decide if I like it or not.
3. To engage in aimless recreation or frivolous time-wasting; to fool around. Quit messing around and work on your book report already, Scotty!
4. To tease or play a prank on one, often by trying to get them to believe something that is not true. Come on, stop messing around. There's no such thing as ghosts.
5. To joke about something. Often used in the negative to indicate absolute seriousness. Oh, come on, Tina, we're just messing around. We didn't mean it. You guys, Mom is not messing around. She said she would ground us for a month if she caught us again.
6. To engage in casual sex acts with someone. Betsy and I are just messing around, which is great because I don't want a serious relationship anyway.
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.