\ 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 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
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.



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.

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Synonyms for about

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Preposition

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The Browns added two edge rushers for about the same price and on one-year deals, providing them with flexibility. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "What the Browns signing Jadeveon Clowney teaches us about Andrew Berry," 15 Apr. 2021 That's about a foot shorter than in vehicles such as the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Honda Ridgeline. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Is a Small-Pickup Version of the Tucson," 15 Apr. 2021 Statewide, across all age groups, there is about a 21 percentage-point gap between Black and White residents who have been vaccinated; in Montgomery, that figure is 17 percentage points. Washington Post, "Montgomery County, Md., reports progress in closing racial gaps in vaccinations," 15 Apr. 2021 When a concerned friend reported Compean missing about 6 p.m. on Monday, officials didn’t have many leads. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "Hiker rescued from inhospitable peak in Angeles Forest with help from a GPS sleuth," 15 Apr. 2021 Lawrence Wheeler said officers responded to reports of several gunshots about 9:40 in the alley between the 900 block of North Tuxedo and Olney streets. Sarah Nelson, The Indianapolis Star, "Man shot, killed in east side alley," 15 Apr. 2021 Its tepid contents suggest that some of its signatories may have thought twice about engaging in bare-knuckles partisan side-taking on the basis of false information. The Editors, National Review, "Corporate America’s Empty Virtue Signaling," 15 Apr. 2021 The Kaitcer murder, along with other random, less serious attacks on Belfast Jews at about the same time, prompted many families to flee the city and immigrate to Great Britain. Olivia Fletcher, sun-sentinel.com, "As it did decades ago, Northern Ireland Jewry looks to weather storm of violence on the streets of Belfast," 14 Apr. 2021 That's about the same market capitalization as the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange, which is the largest stock exchange in the world and was famously started under a buttonwood tree in 1792. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "Why Coinbase could be worth as much as $100 billion. Here's who is getting rich off of it.," 14 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition The two are spending about one day a week listening to the BioFlash whir quietly like a microwave and waiting for a result. Colin Campbell, baltimoresun.com, "‘It puts people’s minds at ease’: UMBC using Maryland-made COVID-detection device in labs, classrooms, dorms," 16 Apr. 2021 That appears to be current through about last Friday. oregonlive, "See which Oregon ZIP codes have highest COVID-19 vaccination rates," 16 Apr. 2021 Office has been accused of lying about a fall and then collecting workers’ compensation for it. Wayne K. Roustan, sun-sentinel.com, "Sheriff’s Office supervisor accused of falsifying workers’ comp claim," 16 Apr. 2021 Three victims were found in a park and another about a block away. Washington Post, "Man fatally shot in Congress Heights neighborhood of Southeast Washington," 16 Apr. 2021 The chip shortage potentially affects just about any company adding communications or computing features to products. New York Times, "‘It’s a Roller-Coaster Ride’: Global Chip Shortage Is Making Industries Sweat," 15 Apr. 2021 Most of the Senate’s election proposals, and just about anything that comes from Brandtjen’s investigation, is almost certainly dead on arrival at Gov. Tony Evers’ office. Benjamin Yount, Washington Examiner, "Wisconsin lawmakers move ahead on election integrity legislation," 15 Apr. 2021 UNC-Greensboro is on about the same level as Akron (Huggins) and Murray State (Cronin). Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: This is the best thing UC Bearcats fans can do for Wes Miller," 15 Apr. 2021 Kinch said it’s all about pre-packaging and individual portions. John Benson, cleveland, "North Olmsted Middle and High School cafeterias adding fingerprint point-of-sale technology," 15 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That suggests lumber prices are about to see another uptick. Fortune, "Pandemic-spurred home renovation boom would be bigger if not for 208% spike in lumber price," 17 Apr. 2021 And on the state level, meanwhile, millions of California residents are about to get a special stimulus check of their own. Andy Meek, BGR, "If you live in this state, you’re getting a new $600 stimulus check," 16 Apr. 2021 Kia's compact sedan is about to get a new outlook on life—and possibly a new name to go along with it. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "2022 Kia Forte Getting Updates, Possible Name Change to K3," 16 Apr. 2021 Audrey Hepburn's life is about to get the major TV treatment for the first time. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "An Audrey Hepburn TV Series Is in the Works," 15 Apr. 2021 Washington businesses are fed up with Gov. Jay Inslee's COVID shutdowns which the state is about to see more of this week. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Washington businesses slam shutdowns as Inslee revises health restrictions," 13 Apr. 2021 The booming South Boston waterfront is about to get some new additions to its skyline. BostonGlobe.com, "A trio of gigantic cargo cranes are headed to South Boston port from Shanghai," 13 Apr. 2021 See, there have been plenty of enticing rumors in the last few months that the iPad mini was about to get a bigger screen, up from 7.9 inches to 8.4 inches while retaining a shape and size similar to now, thanks to slimmer bezels. David Phelan, Forbes, "iPad Pro 2021: Images Leak Showing Pro & iPad Mini In Spectacular Detail," 10 Apr. 2021 The Wild and Blues are about to get extremely familiar with each other. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "Kaapo Kahkonen starts as Wild begins three-game series vs. Blues," 9 Apr. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of about


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


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


1745, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for about


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


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


Middle English, derivative of about about entry 1

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Learn More about about

Time Traveler for about

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for about

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“About.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/about. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for about


\ 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

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Nglish: Translation of about for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of about for Arabic Speakers

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