mess around

This page is about the phrasal verb mess around.

Meaning: If you're messing around, you're wasting time or behaving in a silly way.

Synonym: fool around, muck around (British, informal)

For example:

  • mess around My kids were messing around with a new computer game instead of doing their homework, so I told them to turn it off.

  • mess around The manager told the workers to stop messing around and get on with their work.

Note: the phrasal verb "mess about" has the same meaning, though it's mostly used in British and Australian English

Quick Quiz:

If a student spends a lot of time messing around in class, his teacher will probably be

a. angry with him

b. happy with him

c. pleased with him

Phrasal verbs grammar

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Contributor: Matt Errey