fanny about

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fanny about

  1. (chiefly Britain, intransitive, idiomatic) To waste time or fool around; to engage in activity which produces little or no accomplishment.
    • 1977, Jon Fleming et al., Soldiers on Everest, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, p. 97:
      Then he dithered and fannied about.
    • 2007, Philip Bryer, None of Your Business[1], →ISBN, page 151:
      Johnson waited for an age while the barmen tossed bottles back and forth, poured luminous liquids into glasses from great heights, and fannied about with fruit and frivolities.
    • 2011, Grace Dent, The Guardian, 8 Jul 2011:
      Obviously, I smirk watching this chaos unfold, from my lofty moral vantage as a woman checking Twitter dozens of times a day, a woman who often presents her husband with meals consisting of fridge remnants as I'm too busy fannying about on the internet to cook or shop.
  2. (chiefly Britain, transitive and intransitive, idiomatic) To wander about or prowl around.
    • 2001, Iain Sinclair, Landor's Tower[2], →ISBN, page 287:
      ... the mechanic who tidied up after the Krays, took care of business while the Twins were fannying around the clubland circuit.
    • 2009, Lucy Hunt, "No more broken hearts?,", 27 May (retrieved 8 Sept. 2009):
      Out of all the random cities one gets to fanny about in Europe, all my flings are descending onto Luxembourg like a plague of horny man-teens.