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screw (one) around
To harass, manipulate, or bother one, especially in a deceptive or frivolous manner. He's been screwing me around ever since we started going out—I can't tell if he really wants to be with me. The phone company has been screwing us around with all sorts of extra charges and fees we didn't sign up for. He's been aiming for a promotion for years, but upper management just keeps screwing him around.
1. To play or tinker with something, often in an aimless manner. Hey, don't screw around with the thermostat—it needs to stay at 68 degrees. Grandpa's still screwing around with that old radio, but I doubt he'll get it to work again.
2. To engage in aimless recreation or frivolous time-wasting. Quit screwing around with the dog and work on your book report already! The employees were screwing around in the office until the boss showed up.
3. rude slang To have a casual sexual relationship with someone. Betsy and I are just screwing around, which is great because I don't want a serious relationship anyway.
4. To joke about something. Often used in the negative to indicate absolute seriousness. Oh, come on, Tina, we're just screwing around. We didn't mean it.
screw around with (someone or something)
1. To play or tinker with something, often in an aimless manner. Hey, don't screw around with the thermostat—it needs to stay at 68 degrees. Let me screw around with the settings and see if I can get the video to play. Grandpa's still screwing around with that old radio, but I doubt he'll get it to work again.
2. To engage in aimless recreation or frivolous time-wasting with someone or something. Quit screwing around with the dog and work on your book report already!
3. rude slang To have a casual sexual relationship with someone. I can't believe you're still screwing around with Betsy. Why don't you guys try actually dating?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
screw someone around
Inf. to harass or bother someone. Don't screw me around, man! I bite back! Max got tired of being screwed around by Lefty.
1. Inf. to mess around; to waste time. Stop screwing around and get to work! I'm not screwing around, I'm thinking.
2. Inf. to play sexually; to indulge in sexual intercourse. A few couples were screwing around at the party. They say that Ted and Alice are screwing around a lot.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Fool around aimlessly, accomplishing nothing, as in If you boys would stop screwing around we'd have the fence painted in an hour. It is also put as screw around with, as in Stop screwing around with the new camera. The idiom probably derives from screw in the sense of "turn" or "twist." [Slang; second half of 1900s]
2. Be sexually promiscuous, as in He's been screwing around behind her back for years. [ Vulgar slang; first half of 1900s]
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. Slang To engage in frivolous activity: I spent the day screwing around watching TV. We spent the evening screwing around at the pool hall. Stop screwing around and get to work!
2. Slang screw around with To manipulate or work with something without a clear sense of method: Who's been screwing around with my computer?—It's not working properly.
3. Vulgar Slang To be sexually unfaithful.
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.
1. to engage in copulation. She wants to talk about their relationship and he only wants to screw around.
2. in. to waste time. John’s always screwing around and never does anything on time.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.