Tool around

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n2009

Senior Member
Arabic
Does "tool around" mean" ride with no particular purpose" and " fool around - but no car"? is it a common expression? can we use "tool down" too?
 
  • brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    I've never heard tool around.

    But the noun tool, referring to a person, has become popular, so maybe it means "to act like a tool"--but that's just as a guess.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I've never heard "tool around" or "tool down", n2009.

    Can you give us more context, please?
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I've heard "tool around" many times.
    ride in a car with no particular goal and just for the pleasure of it; "We tooled down the street"
    To me, it means "ride around."

    I don't recall ever hearing "tool down to X," but I suppose in context it could be understood to mean "tool around/on down to X." It's not idiomatic, but one could get away with it in everyday conversation. Without specifying a destination, I would not use "tool down."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Interesting. Do you think it might be a westcoast thing?
    Possibly, but only if it came to me via movies and I don't think it did.

    tool (verb)
    slang.
    a. trans. To drive (a team of horses, a vehicle, or a person in a vehicle); of a horse, to draw (a person) in a vehicle.
    b. intr. Orig., to drive, to travel in a horse-drawn vehicle; also said of the vehicle, or team. Subsequently, by extension, to travel in any kind of vehicle, and (of the vehicle) to travel, go along.

    Used by Dickens, Thackeray and Wodehouse.
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Tooling around? This was a favourite activity of James Dean:
    A retired sheet metal worker from Albany, N.Y., he raised three children and went on to live a normal life, save for tooling around in the Spyder at Dean-related events.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/02/national/02dean.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print
     
    Last edited:

    n2009

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I read it on a website: "tooled around town in a red convertible". I looked it up in Merriam -Webster's Learner dictionary, and found : " I tooled around (town) all day."
    But I guess it is not a common expression.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I read it on a website: "tooled around town in a red convertible". I looked it up in Merriam -Webster's Learner dictionary, and found : " I tooled around (town) all day."
    But I guess it is not a common expression.

    On Long Island, New York, where I grew up it was a fairly common expression. At the very least everyone would fully understand it to mean driving with no particular destination in mind.

    I would imagine it is less common today with the cost of gasoline where it is, but still I think it is pretty well understood (on Long Island at any rate).
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Tool around" was quite popular when I was in high school back in the previous millennium. It was used by people who had no concept of Dickens, Thackeray and Wodehouse.

    Its apparent demise is a good example of the ephemeral nature of "pop-speak."
     

    TonyLouis

    Member
    USA English
    I have heard the express "tool around" many times over the years, usually with reference to going for a ride in a car. I assumed the "tool" was the car itself and also that it was a play on "fool around" - that is, to tool around is to go for a ride to fool around in your car - to go play with your tools (including your car which is your biggest tool). I wasn't aware of the literary references for the use of this term.
     
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