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mess about

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phrasal verb British informal
Word Forms
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present tense
I/you/we/theymess about
he/she/itmesses about
present participlemessing about
past tensemessed about
past participlemessed about

or mess around

  1. 2
    [intransitive] to spend time doing things in a relaxed way

    We spent the weekend messing about on John's boat.

  2. 4
    [intransitive] to waste time doing things that are not important

    There's no point messing about. Let's start now.

    not mess about:

    They don't mess about, do they? I ordered the book yesterday and it's already come.

  3. 5
    [intransitive] to try to change or repair something, especially when this is unnecessary or unsuccessful
    mess about with:

    He'll spend hours messing about with that motorbike.

  4. 6
    [intransitive] to have sex or a sexual relationship with someone, especially when you should not
    mess about with:

    Diane's been messing around with a married man.

See also main entry: mess

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