\ 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

around, round

Synonyms: Preposition

apropos, apropos of, as far as, as for, as regards (also as respects), as to, concerning, of, on, regarding, respecting, touching, toward (or towards)

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Examples of about in a Sentence


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.


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

From the beginning, Deadwood was about much more than the complexities of machismo. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "The Outlaw World of Deadwood," 6 June 2019 But Maher has been an active stand-up comedian for about twice as long as that, and still performs a few dozen live dates around the country throughout the year — including one in Philly. Nick Vadala, https://www.inquirer.com, "Need a laugh? These comedians will give you all the giggles on stages in Philadelphia, Atlantic City and beyond," 5 June 2019 Whenever Kevin Durant comes back and whether Klay Thompson plays in Game 3 or not, the Raptors aren’t about to be shaken down to their claws. Tom Fitzgerald, SFChronicle.com, "Raptors aren’t dreading Kevin Durant’s return, whenever it happens," 4 June 2019 There are a few terrible men who bring the disaster about, and a few brave and all-knowing ones, who ultimately save Europe from becoming uninhabitable and who tell the world the truth. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "What HBO’s “Chernobyl” Got Right, and What It Got Terribly Wrong," 4 June 2019 Its HealthHub stores will have about twice as much space devoted to health care as other locations and will aim to help people with chronic conditions like diabetes. NBC News, "CVS announces further expansion into health care services," 4 June 2019 The general aviation plane took off from Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield at about 12:30 p.m., about 18 minutes prior to the crash. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Twin-engine plane caught on fire before crashing in Loveland and killing pilot, report says," 3 June 2019 The biggest challenge was the fact that there was a closet with a working shower, which no one knew about. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "When in Doubt, Decorate Your Room with Puppies, Puppies ... and More Puppies," 21 May 2019 There’s a rule in pageantry that most competitors and coaches know about but never speak out loud: The default beauty standard is white. Glamour, "For Black Beauty Queens, Natural Hair Is An Act Of Defiance," 6 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

At its heart, Mr Trump’s plan is based on a hunch about sanctions. The Economist, "Scrapping the Iran deal won’t do anyone any good," 12 May 2018 Chapman said, though the sheriff had concerns about events at the liquor store. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, "Ex-deputy charged with shooting teen at DeKalb liquor store," 11 May 2018 There is a whole mess of statistics that a person could drum up about the grip that domestic violence has on the United States. Jerel Ezell, The Root, "Speaking Out Against Domestic Violence on Black Women Is No Longer Taboo, but Doing Something About It Is," 10 May 2018 Gomez said two White Houses sources confirmed Sadler's comments about McCain. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Report: White House official mocked Sen. John McCain: 'He's dying anyway'," 10 May 2018 Despite this, there's still no consensus about the cause of ME, although a viral origin has been suspected. Megan Doherty, Chicago Reader, "ME myalgic encephalomyelitis chronic fatigue syndrome CFS Millions Missing Depaul University CDC," 10 May 2018 Even at age 10, Samantha Smith already knew important things about the world. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The Surprising Story of the American Girl Who Broke Through the Iron Curtain," 10 May 2018 James Queally James Queally writes about crime and policing in Southern California. James Queally, latimes.com, "Woman who allegedly stole car with 11-month-old inside is arrested on kidnapping, theft charges," 10 May 2018 The family sued Chrysler and Michelin, the tire maker, and ultimately agreed to a confidential settlement — after ensuring the agreement allows them to speak freely about the crash. Justin Price, The Courier-Journal, "Child's death led family in a crusade for 15-passenger van safety," 10 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Denver Post/ Getty Images Not all of the viral moments are about policy. Madeleine Joung, Time, "The 7 Most Memorable Moments From 2020 Democratic Town Halls," 7 June 2019 Adults such as my parents, who had experienced many of the Communist party’s past political campaigns, sensed something terrible was about to happen. Helen Raleigh, National Review, "Thirty Years after Tiananmen, China Is Still Unwilling to Tell the Truth," 4 June 2019 Rose Leslie and Kit Harington are about to go from on-screen couple to real-life husband and wife. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Kit Harington and Rose Leslie Went From 'Game of Thrones' to Real-Life Couple," 22 June 2018 Kate Middleton and Prince William are about to embark on a tour of Australia and New Zealand, and the Duchess has received strict orders from her grandmother-in-law to dress the part. Lauren Le Vine, Redbook, "The Queen Isn't Happy With Kate Middleton's Wardrobe," 4 Feb. 2014 The meaning of the quote — which comes from an interview Lee once gave about heroism — is self-explanatory. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: the movie’s 2 post-credits scenes, explained," 15 Dec. 2018 What happens: The costumed characters learn about nature from actual birds and cast members in stage show set in India. Dewayne Bevil, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Disney World: A look at Pixar in the parks," 25 June 2018 American Idol judge Luke Bryan recently tweeted about contestant Nick Townsend, who was eliminated on Sunday night's episode. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'American Idol' Fans Are Going After Luke Bryan After Judges' "HORRIBLE Decision" in Top 20 Episode," 1 Apr. 2019 Smith gave direction to the district's then-chief business operations officer, Louis Hartwell, the about purchase orders involving PGPC and quotes for services. Yihyun Jeong, azcentral, "Scottsdale schools' ex-CFO indicted on 11 felony charges of fraud, conflicts of interest," 14 May 2018

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

Statistics for about

Last Updated

9 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for about

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on about

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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