Mucking about

muck

[muhk]
noun
1.
moist farmyard dung, decaying vegetable matter, etc.; manure.
2.
a highly organic, dark or black soil, less than 50 percent combustible, often used as a manure.
3.
mire; mud.
4.
filth, dirt, or slime.
5.
defamatory or sullying remarks.
6.
a state of chaos or confusion: to make a muck of things.
7.
Chiefly British Informal. something of no value; trash.
8.
(especially in mining) earth, rock, or other useless matter to be removed in order to get out the mineral or other substances sought.
verb (used with object)
9.
to manure.
10.
to make dirty; soil.
11.
to remove muck from (sometimes followed by out ).
12.
Informal.
a.
to ruin; bungle (often followed by up ).
b.
to put into a state of complete confusion (often followed by up ).
Verb phrases
13.
muck about/around, Informal. to idle; waste time; loiter.

Origin:
1200–50; Middle English muc, muk < Old Norse myki cow dung

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
muck (mʌk)
 
n
1.  farmyard dung or decaying vegetable matter
2.  Also called: muck soil an organic soil rich in humus and used as a fertilizer
3.  dirt or filth
4.  earth, rock material, etc, removed during mining excavations
5.  slang chiefly (Brit) rubbish
6.  Lord Muck See Lady Muck
7.  slang chiefly (Brit) make a muck of to ruin or spoil
 
vb
8.  to spread manure upon (fields, gardens, etc)
9.  to soil or pollute
10.  (often foll by out) to clear muck from
 
[C13: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse myki dung, Norwegian myk]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

muck
mid-13c., "cow dung and vegetable matter spread as manure," from O.N. myki, mykr "cow dung," from P.Gmc. *muk-, *meuk- "soft." Meaning "unclean matter generally" is from c.1300. The verb meaning "to make dirty" is from 1832; in the figurative sense it is from 1886; to muck about "mess around" is from
1856. Muck-sweat first attested 1690s. Related: Mucking.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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