Definition of mess about/around in English:

mess about/around

phrasal verb

  • 1Behave in a silly or playful way.

    ‘he lay there snoring so I thought he was messing about and told him to get up’
    • ‘They were laughing and playfully punching each other, just messing around and acting like fools, something the three of them were definitely good at.’
    • ‘Well I just thought it was silly girls messing about, that they had been drinking or something so I didn't think twice about it.’
    • ‘The excitement was infectious and the adults too were to be seen sniggering over silly things, and messing about, being boys again.’
    • ‘It's to be hoped teenagers and any other silly fools don't go messing around in there.’
    • ‘We do insist people behave themselves, we don't have any messing around.’
    • ‘His mother had enough trouble in her life without being messed around by some silly little girl.’
    • ‘All of this background and foreground and senseless surround steals the movie away from its main, simple pleasure: watching a monkey mess around.’
    • ‘We rang and messed around, recording silly messages of witty retorts to various ‘players’.’
    • ‘Well the quality issue is in fact tied to this because once you start messing around on the landscape, you do tend to muck up the quality as well and there are two aspects to this.’
    1. 1.1 Spend time doing something in a pleasantly desultory way.
      ‘messing about in boats’
      • ‘My father retired recently and now has all day to spend on that machine messing around in drawing packages and typing stuff in Word.’
      • ‘Also, I had spent a happy childhood messing about in boats on the Solent.’
      • ‘Two years later, McCaleb is retired, popping 34 pills a day and spending his time messing around in a boat.’
      • ‘England as it likes to think of itself - a drowsing landscape occupied by peaceful souls messing about on boats.’
      • ‘Except that often they are not respectable at all: some end up as mercenary soldiers; more spend their lives messing around at the seamier end of the business world.’
      • ‘Me, all I want today is to do a bit of messing about, in boats, by the river.’
      • ‘You know, I wrote a story about some children who spent their time messing about in boats in the Lake District.’
      • ‘After a childhood spent messing around on boats, he moved to Italy as a teenager and went on to receive his medical degree.’
      • ‘There's a feeling of laziness in the air, of days filled with messing around in boats or a touch of gentle fishing, with a beer or two at sunset in some waterside bar.’
      • ‘I spent some time messing around, just to get the feel of it, and I'm learning about things I've never needed to know before (I've always been a simple girl).’
      potter about, amuse oneself, pass the time, do nothing very much, fiddle about, fiddle around, footle about, footle around, play about, play around, fool about, fool around
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