Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of about
Meaning of about by Wiktionary Dictionary

about


    Alternative forms

    • ( archaic ) abowt

    Pronunciation

    • ( US ) IPA: /əˈbaʊt/, X-SAMPA: /@"baUt/
    • Rhymes: -aʊt
    • Hyphenation: a‧bout

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English, from Old English abūtan ( adverb ) .

    Preposition

    about

    1. In a circle around; all round; on every side of.
    2. In the immediate neighborhood of; in contiguity or proximity to; near, as to place .
    3. Near; not far from; regarding approximately time, size, quantity.
    4. On one's person.
    5. In the command of; in possession of; in readiness for use; in or as part of the makeup of .
      He has his wits about him .
    6. Concerned with; engaged in; intent on.
    7. On the point or verge of; going; in act of .
      The show is about to start .
      I am not about to admit to your crime .
    8. Concerning; with regard to; on account of; on the subject of .
      He knew more about what was occurring than anyone .
    9. Over or upon different parts of; through or over in various directions; here and there in; to and fro in; throughout.
    Usage notes

    Etymology 2

    • First attested around 1000 .
    • From Middle English aboute, abouten, from Old English abūtan, onbūtan ( “on, about, around, round about, on the outside” ), from on ( “on” ) + būtan ( “outside” ); equivalent to on + be- + outen. More at but, outen .

    Adverb

    about ( not comparable )

    1. On all sides; around.
      • 1599, Robert Greene, The Comical History of Alphonsus King of Aragon, III-ii,
        Why, then, I see, ‘tis time to look about, / When every boy Alphonsus dares control .
    2. In circuit; circularly; by a circuitous way; around the outside .
      a mile about, and a third of a mile across .
    3. Nearly; approximately; with close correspondence, in quality, manner, degree, quantity, or time .
      about as cold; about as high;
    4. Here and there; around; in one place and another.
    5. Near; in the vicinity .
    6. In succession; one after another .
    7. To a reversed order; half round; in the opposite direction; on the opposite tack; from a contrary point of view .
      to face about; to turn one's self about .
    Derived terms

    Etymology 3

    From Middle English about ( adverb ) .

    Adjective

    about ( not comparable )

    1. Moving around; astir .
      out and about; up and about
    2. In existence; being in evidence; apparent;
    3. Normally active and capable .
      After my bout with Guillan-Barre Syndrome, it took me 6 months to be up and about again .
    Synonyms
    • ( moving around ): around, active, mobile, astir

    Statistics

    Anagrams

    • U-boat


Explanation of about by Wordnet Dictionary

about


    Adverb
    1. ( of quantities ) imprecise but fairly close to correct

    2. in just about a minute
      he's about 30 years old
      I've had about all I can stand
      we meet about once a month
    3. in the area or vicinity

    4. a few spectators standing about
    5. all around or on all sides

    6. dirty clothes lying around ( or about )
      let's look about for help
    7. in or to a reversed position or direction

    8. about face
    9. used of movement to or among many different places or in no particular direction

    10. wandering about with no place to go
      people were rushing about
      news gets around ( or about )
    11. ( of actions or states ) slightly short of or not quite accomplished

    12. the job is ( just ) about done; most everyone agrees
    13. in rotation or succession

    14. turn about is fair play
    Adjective
    1. on the move

    2. up and about


    Definition of about by GCIDE Dictionary

    about


    1. About prep. [OE. aboute, abouten, abuten; AS. ābutan, onbutan; on + butan, which is from be by + utan outward, from ut out. See But, Out.]

      1. Around; all round; on every side of. “Look about you.” Shak. “Bind them about thy neck.” Prov. iii. 3.

      2. In the immediate neighborhood of; in contiguity or proximity to; near, as to place; by or on ( one's person ). “Have you much money about you?” Bulwer.

      3. Over or upon different parts of; through or over in various directions; here and there in; to and fro in; throughout.

      Lampoons . . . were handed about the coffeehouses. Macaulay.

      Roving still about the world. Milton.

      4. Near; not far from; -- determining approximately time, size, quantity. “To-morrow, about this time.” Exod. ix. 18. “About my stature.” Shak.

      He went out about the third hour. Matt. xx. 3.

      ☞ This use passes into the adverbial sense.

      5. In concern with; engaged in; intent on.

      I must be about my Father's business. Luke ii. 49.

      6. Before a verbal noun or an infinitive: On the point or verge of; going; in act of.

      Paul was now aboutto open his mouth. Acts xviii. 14.

      7. Concerning; with regard to; on account of; touching. “To treat about thy ransom.” Milton.

      She must have her way about Sarah. Trollope.

    2. About, adv.
      1. On all sides; around.

      'Tis time to look about. Shak.

      2. In circuit; circularly; by a circuitous way; around the outside; as, “a mile about, and a third of a mile across”.

      3. Here and there; around; in one place and another.

      Wandering about from house to house. 1 Tim. v. 13.

      4. Nearly; approximately; with close correspondence, in quality, manner, degree, etc.; as, “about as cold; about as high”; -- also of quantity, number, time. “There fell . . . about three thousand men.” Exod. xxii. 28.

      5. To a reserved position; half round; in the opposite direction; on the opposite tack; as, “to face about; to turn one's self about.”

      To bring about, to cause to take place; to accomplish. -- To come about, to occur; to take place. See under Come. -- To go about, To set about, to undertake; to arrange; to prepare. “Shall we set about some revels?” Shak. -- Round about, in every direction around.