muddle around

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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 ?
Yes, it may be a little muddled around the edges, but that is like saying England and Scotland are not "real places" because some residents of Berwick don't identify with either country or that Yorkshire is a meaningless concept because Hull has dropped in and out over the years.
The damage won't be done at the KC for Newcastle - the damage started the day the current regime meddled and muddled around the North East.
"Then there was this news report that there had been bombings in London and they were saying Lindsay Jamal - I thought the names were a bit muddled around.
I am eternally grateful for Ricky Gervais, not just because he makes me laugh until milk comes down my nose every time he is on TV, but also because he sort of muddled around in life and never really achieved anything until he was well into his forties.
Beckham must have been twitching with eagerness to get involved as England muddled around on Saturday.