muddle around

muddle around

1. To move or hang about languidly, idly, or lazily. My brother was supposed to be at work, but I found him muddling around down by the river with a friend of his. Once you get the ball, you can't just muddle around behind your offensive line—you've got to act quickly, or those linebackers are going to tackle you!
2. To work or perform in a very mediocre, ineffectual, or unsuccessful manner; to fail to perform to the best of one's abilities. You were such a bright student and talented writer—it kills me to see you muddling around in some office job. The economy had a brief surge after the election, but it has been muddling around at a flat level for the last several months.
3. To dabble in something; to do something sporadically or experimentally. I've been muddling around with different writing styles, trying to find one that suits the stories I'm trying to tell. They haven't changed the core design of the car in decades, only ever muddling around with minor details like the wing mirrors or bumpers.
4. To fumble around awkwardly or clumsily. I didn't want to wake anyone up by turning on the lights, so I had to muddle around in the dark when I came home. I hate muddling around with touch screens—I miss having cell phones with actual buttons you had to press!
See also: around, muddle

muddle around

to work inefficiently. I can't get anything done today. I'm just muddling around. Jed is not doing his job well. He is muddling around and getting nothing done.
See also: around, muddle
References in periodicals archive ?
"But I don't think it's fair for me to go and put a load of anaesthetic in my foot and muddle around the field and not make a good account of myself just because I should've been at a semi-final.
"Either we could have another election now and do away with the count, or we'll let them muddle around for a month or so and maybe they can think the unthinkable," said Michael Marsh, a professor of politics at Trinity College Dublin.
Looking back now, I realize I didn't know exactly what it meant to be a marine biologist, but I did know there was such a job and that it ii it meant I could muddle around in tide pools for the rest of my life, or try and figure out why my dad had such success as a fisherman, then it was for me.
And the nation has seen how abysmally they fumble, stumble and muddle around. If the prime minister has failed in delivering on his poll promise of ending power load-shedding and in giving no set, defined, coherent policy on any of the sectors of national life, they have seen Imran Khan\'s magic mantra of 90 days too becoming a dust on the mountains, valleys and plains of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The GoSS President's lashes to Southern political parties who walked out of conference, in my view, suits better northern political parties who came to Juba to kill CPA and to muddle around with minds of South Sudanese people like it happened in 1947.
In films there's no making mistakes and you get to the end result as fast as you can, in the theatre you, the writer and director muddle around for four weeks until you find it.'
We've got the right policies, while the Tories muddle around the wrong posters.