fool around

Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.
2. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion: I was a fool to have quit my job.
3. One who has been tricked or made to appear ridiculous; a dupe: They made a fool of me by pretending I had won.
4. Informal A person with a talent or enthusiasm for a certain activity: a dancing fool; a fool for skiing.
5. A member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment, as with jokes or antics; a jester.
6. One who subverts convention or orthodoxy or varies from social conformity in order to reveal spiritual or moral truth: a holy fool.
7. A dessert made of stewed or puréed fruit mixed with cream or custard and served cold.
8. Archaic A mentally deficient person; an idiot.
v. fooled, fool·ing, fools
1. To deceive or trick; dupe: "trying to learn how to fool a trout with a little bit of floating fur and feather" (Charles Kuralt).
2. To confound or prove wrong; surprise, especially pleasantly: We were sure they would fail, but they fooled us.
1. Informal
a. To speak or act facetiously or in jest; joke: I was just fooling when I said I had to leave.
b. To behave comically; clown.
c. To feign; pretend: He said he had a toothache but he was only fooling.
2. To engage in idle or frivolous activity.
3. To toy, tinker, or mess: shouldn't fool with matches.
adj. Informal
Foolish; stupid: off on some fool errand or other.
Phrasal Verbs:
fool around Informal
1. To engage in idle or casual activity; putter: was fooling around with the old car in hopes of fixing it.
2. To engage in frivolous activity; make fun.
3. To engage in casual sexual activity.
a. To have a sexual affair with someone who is not one's spouse or partner.
b. To have many sexual affairs.
fool away
To waste (time or money) foolishly; squander: fooled away the week's pay on Friday night.
play/act the fool
1. To act in an irresponsible or foolish manner.
2. To behave in a playful or comical manner.

[Middle English fol, from Old French, from Late Latin follis, windbag, fool, from Latin follis, bellows; see bhel- in Indo-European roots.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Verb1.fool around - indulge in horseplayfool around - indulge in horseplay; "Enough horsing around--let's get back to work!"; "The bored children were fooling about"
jest, joke - tell a joke; speak humorously; "He often jokes even when he appears serious"
play - be at play; be engaged in playful activity; amuse oneself in a way characteristic of children; "The kids were playing outside all day"; "I used to play with trucks as a little girl"
2.fool around - commit adultery; "he plays around a lot"
cheat on, cuckold, wander, betray, cheat - be sexually unfaithful to one's partner in marriage; "She cheats on her husband"; "Might her husband be wandering?"


1. One deficient in judgment and good sense:
Informal: dope, gander, goose.
2. A person who is easily deceived or victimized:
Informal: sucker.
Chiefly British: mug.
1. To cause to accept what is false, especially by trickery or misrepresentation:
Informal: bamboozle, have.
Slang: four-flush.
2. To waste time by engaging in aimless activity:
3. To handle something idly, ignorantly, or destructively:
Informal: monkey.
4. To move one's fingers or hands in a nervous or aimless fashion:
phrasal verb
fool around
1. Informal. To waste time by engaging in aimless activity:
Informal: mess around.
2. Informal. To make jokes; behave playfully:
Informal: clown (around), fun.
3. Informal. To engage in kissing, caressing, and other amorous behavior:
Informal: neck, pet, spoon.
Slang: make out.
4. Informal. To be sexually unfaithful to another:
phrasal verb
fool away
To spend (money) excessively and usually foolishly:
Slang: blow.
References in classic literature ?
Well, it's too many for ME, that's certain; must be a mighty long hole; however, I ain't got no time to fool around here, I got to "tend to business"; I reckon it's all right--chance it, anyway.
Tom, I don't like to fool around much where there's dead people.
Only a chechaquo'd fool around that pasture long enough to fill a pan of dirt.
1, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) appealed to the public not to fool around with the number-as it could spell life and death.
One minute he's disinterested and the next he wants to grope me and fool around.
Coleen says Do not let him treat you like this - tell him straight out that you still like him as a friend, but you're not going to fool around any more and if he can't accept that then he's no friend.
35PM Insane boffins Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley put bio-ethics aside to fool around with DNA.
Ac ar ol iddo ennill Crochan Aur S4C yn Nhir Prince yn ddiweddar, bydd cefnogwyr lleol am weld Rhys Evans o Dregaron a'i geffyl Fool Around yn llwyddo eto, yn ei filltir sgwar y tro hwn.