1. To search in, around, or through something or some place, especially in a sneaking, furtive manner. What are you doing ratting around in my desk? I was so poor at one point that I was reduced to ratting around in people's dumpsters for food each night.
2. To hunt for and catch or kill rats in something or some place. These small dogs have been perfect for ratting around the barn. We ought to rat around the entire property to be sure there are no nests left.
3. To waste time idly or aimlessly (in some place); to loiter or loaf around (some place). You've been ratting around the house for the whole weekend—go play outside or something! Would you two quit ratting around and do something useful for a change?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Sl. to waste time loafing around; to kick around. (Collegiate.) I didn't do anything but rat around all summer. If kids don't have jobs, they just rat around.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
in. to waste time loafing around; to kick around. (Collegiate.) I didn’t do anything but rat around all summer.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.