валять дурака

валять дурака  {v. phr.}  {informal}  {colloquial}
валять (drag) ~ here "pretend"
 {literally} to drag the fool.
~play the fool / play tricks.
To idle; to pretend to be foolish, unaware; joke;
Sometimes this native Russian idiom's origin is attributed to "ванька-встанька" — a Russian tilting doll, that cannot be put sideways. All such attempts are useless and senseless.
Студенты всю лекцию проваляли дурака и поэтому не были готовы к тесту. — The students played the fool all the lecture and thus were not ready for the testing.
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