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Related to play around: playing up
1. To engage in free or unstructured play. I wouldn't worry about the shouting—that's just the boys playing around.
2. To engage in aimless recreation or frivolous time-wasting; to fool around. Quit playing around and work on your book report already, Scotty! You two need to stop playing around and focus on finishing the job!
3. To tinker or fiddle with something. A: "What's that you're working on?" B: "I'm just playing around with a few of these transistors." Hey, don't play around with the thermostat—it needs to stay at 68 degrees. Grandpa's still playing around with that old radio, but I doubt he'll get it to work again.
4. To test or use something in order to learn more about it. I'm playing around with a different platform for my blog, and I can't decide if I like it or not.
5. To engage in casual or extramarital romantic or sexual activity with someone. When are you going to stop playing around with college boys and start thinking about your long-term plans? She'd suspected him of playing around with his secretary for the last few weeks.
6. To joke about something. Often used in the negative to indicate absolute seriousness. Oh, come on, Tina, we're just playing around. We didn't mean it. You guys, Mom is not playing around. She said she would ground us for a month if she caught us again.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
play around(with someone or something)
1. and play about (with someone or something) to play and frolic with someone or something. Kelly likes to play around with the other kids. The boys are out in the yard, playing about with the neighbor girls. Will you kids stop playing about and get busy? Stop playing around and get busy!
2. Euph. to have a romantic or sexual affair with someone or persons in general. Kelly found out that her husband had been playing around with Susan. I can't believe that Roger is playing around!
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Act playfully or irresponsibly, especially in having a casual or extramarital sexual relationship. For example, She got tired of his playing around and filed for divorce. [1920s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To engage in frivolous or idle activity; goof off: Stop playing around and get to work.
2. play around with To manipulate or work with something without a clear sense of method: We played around with the old television set, trying to see if we could make it work.
3. Slang To engage in romantic or sexual relations with someone; fool around: I think those two are playing around. Who is he playing around with now?
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.