1

about

play
adverb \ ə-ˈbau̇t \

Definition of about

1 a :reasonably close to
  • about a year ago
b :almost
  • about starved
  • just about finished
c :on the verge of usually used with be and a following infinitive
  • is about to join the army
used with a negative to express intention or determination
  • not about to quit
2 :on all sides :around
  • looked about for a place to park
3 a :in rotation
  • They go about in circles.
b :around the outside
4 :in many different directions :here and there
  • walked about for hours
5 :in the vicinity :near
  • He spoke to the people standing about.
6 :in the opposite direction
  • face about
  • the other way about

Examples of about in a Sentence

  1. We're about ready to go.

  2. This one is about as bad as that one.

  3. That's about all I know at this point.

  4. It's about time to go.

  5. That's about all the time we have.

  6. We tried just about everything we could think of.

Recent Examples of about from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'about.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of about

Middle English abuten, aboute, going back to Old English abūtan, abūton, from a- 1a- + būtan "outside, without" — more at 1but

about Synonyms

Synonyms
around, round
Antonyms
exactly, precisely
Related Words
all over, everyplace, everywhere; abroad, afloat, hereabouts (or hereabout)
Near Antonyms
clockwise, deasil

2

about

preposition

Definition of about

1 :in a circle around :on every side of :around
  • People gathered about him.
2 a :in the immediate neighborhood of :near
  • Fish are abundant about the reefs.
b :on or near the person of
  • had a pleasing fragrance about her
c :in the makeup of
  • a mature wisdom about him
d :at the command of
  • has his wits about him
3 :engaged in
  • … act as if they know what they're about
  • —T. S. Matthews
4 a :with regard to :concerning
  • spoke about his past
b :concerned with
c :fundamentally concerned with or directed toward
  • … poker is about money.
  • —David Mamet
5 :over or in different parts of
  • He traveled about the country.

Examples of about in a Sentence

  1. a poignant story about a young man who goes off to war

  2. about the hedge there was a picket fence

Origin and Etymology of about

Middle English, going back to Old English abūtan, derivative of abūtan 1about

about Synonyms

Synonyms
apropos, apropos of, as far as, as for, as regards (also as respects), as to, concerning, of, on, regarding, respecting, touching, toward (or towards), in regard to, in respect to, in view of, with regard to, with respect to
Related Words
over

3

about

adjective

Definition of about

1 :moving from place to place; specifically :being out of bed
  • is up and about by 7 a.m.
2 :around 2
  • There is a scarcity of jobs about.

Recent Examples of about from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'about.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of about

Middle English, derivative of about 1about


ABOUT Defined for Kids

1

about

play
adverb \ ə-ˈbau̇t \

Definition of about for Students

1 :almost, nearly
  • about an hour ago
2 :on all sides :around
  • Bees were swarming about.
3 :in the opposite direction
  • The ship came about.
4 :on the verge of
  • I was about to call you.

2

about

preposition

Definition of about for Students

1 :having to do with
  • The story is about dogs.
2 :on every side of :around
  • There are trees about the house.
3 :over or in different parts of
  • He traveled about the country.
4 :near or not far from in time
  • about the middle of the month


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