\ 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.

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb More than 300 officers, on horseback and on foot and with police dogs and helicopters, had searched the rural area of farms and ranches that is about halfway between Dallas and Houston, officials have said. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 21 May 2022 The unit is about 3-inches by 3-inches square, and most of it is a screen that displays the distances to the front, center and back of the green. Larry Olmsted, Forbes, 20 May 2022 In that time, McGrath incurred at least $169,306.96 in expenses — far and above the roughly $16,000 and $18,000 that his previous two predecessors had incurred in about 11-year periods each, according to the report. Sam Janesch, Baltimore Sun, 20 May 2022 Smart, stylish, and about as warm as a sea of icebergs, the Sparrows immediately clash with the Umbrellas in a violent face-off that turns out to be the least of everyone’s concerns. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 19 May 2022 The parties, including the likably matter-of-fact Mr. Riccio, disagree about much. John Anderson, WSJ, 19 May 2022 The original Irma Vep is about a disillusioned movie star. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 May 2022 This means that, theoretically, a 56-cent tax cut might only result in about a 40-cent overall cost cut at the pump. Kayla Dwyer, The Indianapolis Star, 19 May 2022 The Raiders released Ruggs about 16 hours after the wreck. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 19 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Editor’s note: Flashback, which has been permanently renamed Vintage Chicago Tribune, will highlight stories about the Chicago Tribune for the next six weeks as part of the newspaper’s 175th anniversary. Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune, 22 May 2022 Breaking news emails Be the first to know about breaking news and other NBC News reports. Rob Wile, NBC News, 22 May 2022 The special will feature the Quintanilla family who will share with fans stories about the beloved icon. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 21 May 2022 Or stories about women with unwanted pregnancies who give birth and offer children for adoption? cleveland, 21 May 2022 News stories about horrific school shootings or the worsening effects of climate change aren’t just news stories. Reid Hoffman, WSJ, 20 May 2022 The brothers emphasized the layman's nature of their perspective, but also said the number of national news stories about turmoil in the schools would seem to indicate to anyone that something has gone wrong. Jon Brown, Fox News, 20 May 2022 And then there’s international artists like Randy and some that people still don’t know about. Julyssa Lopez, Rolling Stone, 20 May 2022 Astronomers also like to say that there is a 13th sign that astrologers don’t know about. Emily Simone, Allure, 20 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Republican primary for Senate in Pennsylvania is about to get even wilder. New York Times, 20 May 2022 One of the biggest malls in the Portland metro area is about to get a big makeover. oregonlive, 20 May 2022 Mission League basketball, expected to be loaded with talent next season, is about to get even stronger. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 20 May 2022 Now, the grandest of clay-court events, the French Open, is about to get under way, on Sunday. Gerald Marzorati, The New Yorker, 20 May 2022 When Cheplak was about to get an epidural, Justiniani was whisked away to the operating room for her C-section. Sydney Page, Washington Post, 17 May 2022 PS Plus is about to get a lot better—and a lot more confusing. Erik Kain, Forbes, 17 May 2022 Borrowing to pay for college is about to get more expensive – despite the push for the Biden administration to cancel billions of dollars in debt for millions of student loan borrowers. Sarah Ewall-wice, CBS News, 17 May 2022 Southeastern Indianapolis is about to get another public transit option. Kayla Dwyer, The Indianapolis Star, 10 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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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Dictionary Entries Near about

abound in/with



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Statistics for about

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“About.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/about. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on about

Nglish: Translation of about for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of about for Arabic Speakers


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