Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

mess around - definition and synonyms

Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
phrasal verb British informal
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theymess around
he/she/itmesses around
present participlemessing around
past tensemessed around
past participlemessed around
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to behave in a silly way, especially when you should be working or paying attention to something
    Stop messing around – I’m serious about this!
  2. 2
    [intransitive] to spend time doing things in a relaxed way
    We spent the weekend messing around on John’s boat.
  3. 3
    [intransitive] to waste time doing things that are not important
    There’s no point messing around. Let’s start now.
    not mess around: They don’t mess around, do they? I ordered the book yesterday and it’s already here.
  4. 4
    [intransitive] to try to change or repair something, especially when this is unnecessary or unsuccessful
    mess around with: He’ll spend hours messing around with that motorcycle.
  5. 5
    [intransitive] to have sex or a sexual relationship with someone, especially when you should not
    mess around with: Diane’s been messing around with a married man.
See also main entry: mess

nanodegree

a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

hypocaust

an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog