mess about

(redirected from mess us about)

mess about

1. To tinker or fiddle with something. Hey, don't mess about with the thermostat—it needs to stay at 68 degrees. Grandpa's still messing about 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 about with a different platform for my blog, and I can't decide if I like it or not. After messing about with it for a while, I finally got the hang of the controls.
3. To engage in aimless recreation or frivolous time-wasting; to fool about. Quit messing about and work on your book report already, Scotty! It's no wonder we're falling behind schedule, with the amount you lot mess about in the office!
4. To tease or play a prank on one, often by trying to get them to believe something that is not true. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "mess" and "about." Come on, stop messing about. There's no such thing as ghosts. Don't mess your brother about like that—you know he's got an overactive imagination.
5. To make something disorderly or untidy. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "mess" and "about." Hey, I just got my hair styled—don't mess it about like that! Someone's been messing about the papers in my office, and I want to know who is responsible!
See also: mess
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

mess about

(with something) Go to mess around (with something).
See also: mess
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

mess about

verb
See also: mess
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
If you perform, don't mess us about, and someone comes and offers a world record fee, then we will let you go'."
"We comply with everything the police want in terms of meeting at a certain point at a certain time and they still mess us about."
BLUES today returned from a successful Spanish training camp with a message for Coventry City: don't mess us about.
If he tries to mess us about we will do a peaceful demonstration.
"I've toured all over the world, but Scottish people in general never mess us about. They tell you exactly what they think.
THE FA will offer the England manager's job to Sven Goran Eriksson this week with the ultimatum: Don't mess us about.
Mr O'Neill said he was pleased Mr Byers had handed over details of the discussions with BMW but added: 'It's not our job to give people hell, it's to get at the facts, however if they mess us about we will get rough.'
"Alan didn't mess about - but all David Unsworth has done is mess us about and make people, mainly himself, look silly."