Definition of play about (or around) in English:

play about (or around)

phrasal verb

  • 1Behave in a casual, foolish, or irresponsible way.

    ‘you shouldn't play around with a child's future’
    • ‘Everyone knows that when scientists play around with genes, they screw up.’
    • ‘We can't play around with the future of our children.’
    • ‘A lot of Christmas discs play around with the music we've grown to love over the years, but not enough try and make something unique enough to really stand out.’
    • ‘Instead of 64 mb of RAM, I've suddenly got 512 mbs to play around with.’
    • ‘It is no longer possible to play around with identity politics.’
    • ‘These investments of course may yet come good, but I suppose I just don't have that sort of disposable income to play around with.’
    • ‘It's that time of year again when parents are advised to keep a watch on their children to make sure they do not play around with fireworks.’
    • ‘I'm fairly happy with the layout, but I think I might play around with the colour scheme over the next few days.’
    • ‘Back in my days working at the Shake bar me and some of the other workers in the quiet time used to play around with the bottles.’
    • ‘I had quite a full weekend, although most of Saturday was spent playing about with the new DVD player.’
    1. 1.1informal (of a married person) have a love affair.
      ‘was her husband playing around?’
      • ‘You can't stop a married man from playing around, but when he takes a mistress and actually sets up a household, then he breaks the law.’
      • ‘Our father was ‘playing around’, as my mother later explained it to us.’
      womanize, philander, have affairs affair, have an affair, flirt, dally, toy with someone's affections, trifle with someone's affections