\ 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 Staci Meadows talks to her two boys — Austin and Parker — just about every day, usually by text. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, 8 May 2022 Just about every day around dawn, the artist Lauren Halsey heads out into South Central Los Angeles to collect things. New York Times, 6 May 2022 Designed to replace the aging Windows XP in 2007, Vista failed at just about every possible benchmark. PCMAG, 4 May 2022 McDuffie exhausted just about every legal avenue available to him in his attempt to stay on the ballot; a panel of three appellate judges last week unanimously upheld the board’s ruling. Washington Post, 2 May 2022 Just about every free-living species on the planet has at least one parasite specially evolved to exploit it. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, 28 Apr. 2022 Each day boasts a lineup of dozens of artist representing just about every genre, with a handful of headlining acts billed at the top. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 27 Apr. 2022 This data has also uncovered significant manipulation of prices for prescription medication, radiology, outpatient and inpatient care, and just about every other type of medical care. Louis Bernardi, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Jane is in a relationship with Duncan who has been in previous relationships with just about every woman in town. John Warner, Chicago Tribune, 23 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition It’s about establishing a market value for something. Edward Segarra, USA TODAY, 11 May 2022 But just how harmful social media can be—and what to do about it—is a matter of hot debate. Claire Sibonney, SELF, 10 May 2022 What set off Mastriano were questions about him speaking to an audience of QAnon adherents recently, his election fraud claims and his activities at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Marc Levy, ajc, 10 May 2022 And the pro-life movement that claims her today knows almost nothing about her. Joshua Prager, CNN, 10 May 2022 President Barack Obama promised on the campaign trail to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law but sang a much different tune when asked about it on his 100th day as president. Ky Henderson, Rolling Stone, 9 May 2022 Ladinsky quickly agreed to co-found the gender clinic in Birmingham when Abdul-Latif approached her about it. CBS News, 9 May 2022 In 2019, Dukes was convicted of helping dispose of Grinstead’s body and then lying about it to investigators. Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, 9 May 2022 Other downtown areas come to mind when thinking about it. Alixel Cabrera, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That's about to change, with summer temperatures anticipated on the team's three-city trip to Atlanta, Cincinnati and Miami, starting Friday. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 May 2022 Whether your life is about to change for the better or it’s signaling you to take action for a positive outcome, have faith. Ysolt Usigan, Woman's Day, 1 May 2022 Kaiir Elam has played football almost exclusively in Florida, but that is about to change in a big way. Franco Panizo, Sun Sentinel, 28 Apr. 2022 That's about to change, according to recent reporting by The Verge. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 22 Apr. 2022 But in December 2021, more than five years after Bianca's death, Rudolph's new life with Lori was about to change. CBS News, 16 Apr. 2022 Workforce training, always a significant player behind the scenes in a company’s success, is about to have its day in the limelight. Mark C. Perna, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 With the opening of its first luxury hotel, Golden Rock Resort, that's about to change. Travel + Leisure, 12 Apr. 2022 But with men leaving for the war abroad, this was about to change. Katie Hafner, Scientific American, 7 Apr. 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

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“About.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/about. Accessed 23 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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