fool around


variants or chiefly British fool about
fooled around; fooling around; fools around

intransitive verb

: to behave in a way that is not very serious
When it comes to safety, we don't fool around.
often, specifically : to spend time idly, aimlessly, or frivolously
Later in the day, the three of us were fooling around, waiting for Mr. Michaels to get class started. Marilyn Reynolds
: to engage in casual sexual activity
She found out that her partner had been fooling around on her. [=having sex with someone else]
see also fool around with

Examples of fool around in a Sentence

quit fooling around on the jungle gym, or you'll get hurt we fooled around outdoors for a while, then went in to get some work done
Recent Examples on the Web Because in spite of how new a lot of the serverless stuff was to me, this isn’t my first time fooling around with AWS. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, 19 July 2023 When a family is threatened, the adults cluster together to protect their offspring, and when things are calm the calves fool around. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 Put the jokes aside for a moment, because Seager isn’t playing like a guy who’s fooling around. Shawn McFarland, Dallas News, 16 Aug. 2023 Kelly, for his part, began to fool around with letters. Jackson Arn, The New Yorker, 7 Aug. 2023 Flowers that were too hot for fooling around during the day find their groove at 72. Bill Finch, al, 3 July 2023 In the second, the duo loosened up in some more casual clothes while Stallone fooled around with a guitar on a small stage. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 7 June 2023 Such is the cost of fooling around and faltering against so many lottery opponents along the way. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 4 Apr. 2023 These guys don’t fool around. Mark Heim |, al, 3 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fool around.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fool around was in 1837

Dictionary Entries Near fool around

Cite this Entry

“Fool around.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

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