about

adverb
\ ə-ˈbau̇t How to pronounce about (audio) \

Definition of about

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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 infinitiveis about to join the army used with a negative to express intention or determinationnot about to quit
2 : on all sides : around looked about for a place to park
3a : 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

Definition of about (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : in a circle around : on every side of : around People gathered about him.
2a : 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
4a : 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.

about

adjective

Definition of about (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of about in a Sentence

Adverb We're about ready to go. This one is about as bad as that one. That's about all I know at this point. It's about time to go. That's about all the time we have. We tried just about everything we could think of. Preposition a poignant story about a young man who goes off to war about the hedge there was a picket fence
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb That is about the same number of polling places as in the recent past, said elections director Brad Nelson. Andrew Oxford, The Arizona Republic, "Voting in Arizona primary outpaces 2018 and 2016; observers watch for signs of what's to come in November," 31 July 2020 But in their letter to the editor, the Albany researchers said the doctors in their study prescribed hydroxychloroquine at about the same point during the course of hospitalization as the patients in Detroit. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, "Researchers publish scathing critique of a hydroxychloroquine study touted by the White House," 31 July 2020 Police found John Nelson, 44, dead about 8 a.m. at his Willow Park Road home after receiving a request to check on the family. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, "Police: Elyria father shot wife and three children found dead at home," 30 July 2020 Just outside the Bay Area, Santa Cruz County’s case rate is about even with most counties here, but Monterey’s cases are growing. Mike Massa, SFChronicle.com, "Charts show the new coronavirus hot spots bordering the Bay Area," 30 July 2020 Recommended for ages 5 and older, Miss Nelson Has a Field Day is about a losing football team — the Horace B. Smedley Tornadoes — that gets some help from beloved teacher Miss Nelson and her friend Viola Swamp. Shannon Sutlief, Dallas News, "Fun things to do this month in Dallas-Fort Worth — online, outdoors and more," 30 July 2020 Growing to roughly five feet tall and about as wide, 'Candy Crush' hibiscus is hardy all the way to USDA Zone 4. Derek Carwood, Better Homes & Gardens, "Grow 'Candy Crush' Hardy Hibiscus for a Tropical Look in Your Garden," 29 July 2020 But questions immediately arose about just how many movies will fall under the deal. Washington Post, "Universal Pictures’ deal with AMC won’t likely mean you can see big movies fast at home," 29 July 2020 The virus which causes COVID-19 is about .125 micron, a size of particle that HEPA filters can capture effectively, The New York Times notes. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, "Can Air Purifiers Save Us From COVID-19?," 13 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition After Thursday night’s loss to the Dodgers, he was asked about shaking up his lineup. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, "Analysis: Urgency on display as Arizona Diamondbacks try to navigate rocky start to season," 1 Aug. 2020 When asked about protection for these orcas, NOAA Fisheries confirmed to CBS News in an email that measures were in place to reduce potential harm, but did not say whether any additional steps would be required. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Endangered orcas at risk from U.S. Navy, activists warn," 31 July 2020 Commission member Carl Guarnieri asked about the depth of an existing detention basin located on the site. Beth Mlady, cleveland, "Middleburg Heights to gain another large commercial building," 31 July 2020 And no lawmaker asked about Facebook’s new video-editing app, Reels, which Facebook is reportedly paying TikTok stars to switch over to. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "Even Facebook Is Pining for the Internet It Destroyed," 30 July 2020 Rihanna was also asked about the decision not to overly feminize the line. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Rihanna’s Best Skin-Care Tip Is Something You’ve Probably Never Thought Of," 30 July 2020 When asked about the charge, a top aide to Pelosi referred to her statement Thursday that followed new numbers indicating the GDP had retracted significantly. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Democrats block extending unemployment benefits after talks stall on big aid package," 30 July 2020 About an hour later, Colts coach Frank Reich was asked directly about Vinatieri's status with the team. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Colts: Vinatieri era in Indy seemingly over; McLaughlin, Blankenship to battle for job," 29 July 2020 The committee chairman, Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) asked Bezos about an apparel company that makes goods for construction workers and firefighters that accused Amazon of stealing its idea. Washington Post, "Amazon may have used proprietary data to compete with its merchants, Bezos tells Congress," 29 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Dana Canedy is about to become publisher of Simon & Schuster’s flagship imprint, taking over a storied house in the middle of a pandemic, with several high-profile books in the pipeline. Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, WSJ, "Simon & Schuster’s Next Publisher on Author Goals, John Bolton’s Book and Remote Work," 7 July 2020 Palantir Technologies, the secretive Silicon Valley data company, is about to become a little more transparent, my CNN Business colleague Charles Riley reports. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Women, young people and low earners are getting hurt most by jobs crisis," 7 July 2020 Things are about to become terribly bland, to the point of tedium, in the interview process. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "From flying with A’s to Zooming with Giants: Media’s closing window to teams," 2 July 2020 Despite his prominence elsewhere, Calhoun is about to become less prominent on the landscape of American higher education. Christian K. Anderson, The Conversation, "Authorities are yanking the legacy of slaveholder John C. Calhoun from public sphere, but his bigotry remains embedded in American society," 26 June 2020 Something that was previously very private was about to become very public. Giana Han, al, "Alabama artists amplify truths and emotions surrounding George Floyd protests," 18 June 2020 For many, that the disease could fell a multi-billion dollar juggernaut like Walt Disney World, which had only closed its gates six other times in nearly 50 years, was the signal that things were about to get really bad in America. Julie Tremaine, Travel + Leisure, "I Went to Disney’s Magic Kingdom on Opening Day — Here’s What It Was Really Like," 13 July 2020 So yeah, filming is about to start any day now, everyone will be quarantined together, and there will be no destination dates. Glamour, "The Bachelorette 2020: Everything We Know About Clare Crawley’s Season," 13 July 2020 Your glyph on a colored background is about to get some serious visual competition. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "The strange and sudden collision of tech and drug research," 6 July 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of about

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Preposition

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1745, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for about

Adverb

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

Preposition

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

Adjective

Middle English, derivative of about about entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about about

Time Traveler for about

Time Traveler

The first known use of about was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for about

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“About.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/about. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for about

about

adverb
\ ə-ˈbau̇t How to pronounce about (audio) \

Kids Definition of about

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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.

Kids Definition of about (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on about

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for about

Spanish Central: Translation of about

Nglish: Translation of about for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of about for Arabic Speakers

Comments on about

What made you want to look up about? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!