about

adverb
\ ə-ˈbau̇t \

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

about

preposition

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.

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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

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 model was spotted out and about in Los Angeles on January 11 rocking a collarbone-skimming cut, tinted with the most perfect bubblegum shade. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Hailey Bieber Steps Out With Light Pink Hair," 13 Jan. 2019 She has been spotted out and about in London several times in recent weeks walking her baby. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Pippa Middleton Shows Off Her Holiday Decor in a Festive New Photo," 21 Dec. 2018 Katie Holmes was not trying to hide a sparkler on her left hand while out and about in New Orleans this week, sparking rumors of an engagement. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Katie Holmes Sparks Engagement Rumors with Ring on Left Hand," 1 Nov. 2018 While spring and summer are wildly popular for garage sales, fall is often ignored despite decent weather and lovely scenery that has people out and about in the great outdoors before the colder months hit. Fox News, "The best season for garage sales," 25 Sep. 2018 On Friday, Lively posted a photo of herself on Instagram out and about in New York City earlier that week. Zoe Weiner, Glamour, "Blake Lively Had the Best Response When a Troll Told Her She Should 'Fire Her Stylist'," 25 Aug. 2018 Literally or metaphorically, this is what life's about. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Woman's Day, "30 Fun Things to Do By Yourself in Your Lifetime," 3 Jan. 2019 What Markle would've talked to Kendall Jenner about at the British Fashion Awards. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, Normal Sisters-in-Law, Both Attended the Queen's Christmas Lunch," 19 Dec. 2018 That crisis, which Jada has talked about on Red Table Talk, has catalyzed a cathartic space for viewers to share their own stories. Mariano Vivanco; Styled By Simon Robins, Harper's BAZAAR, "The New American Dynasty," 3 Dec. 2018

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

The Dodgers trailed the San Francisco Giants by a single run, but that was about to change. Bill Plaschke, latimes.com, "Dodgers opening day loss seemed awfully familiar," 30 Mar. 2018 But election night is a ritual, and that means it’s not really about information. Dara Lind, Vox, "America’s love-hate relationship with the New York Times election needle, explained," 6 Nov. 2018 That would raise the potential for a work stoppage just as an October 2020 launch of Seattle’s team was about to occur. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "NHL could announce October 2021 start date for new Seattle team as early as Tuesday," 3 Dec. 2018 The strikes themselves were not about regime change or forcing Assad to negotiate, but about deterring the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, which remains free to kill Syrians with conventional methods. Tim Lister, CNN, "After the Syria strikes, is there any chance for diplomacy?," 15 Apr. 2018 That's about to change with a limited-edition run of the 2019 Continental. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Lincoln Continental Is Bringing Back Suicide Doors," 17 Dec. 2018 Amazingly relatable comments that Kelly Clarkson made about food, Adam Levine's questionable habit, and a romantic gesture by Blake Shelton are just a few moments from recent episodes that have fired up viewers. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Contestant Anthony Arya Stunned Coaches With This Controversial Comment," 6 Nov. 2018 That's about to change, according to Melissa Murray, the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "How Justice Anthony Kennedy's Retirement From the Supreme Court Could Erode Women's Rights," 28 June 2018 There was an expectation in the market — an expectation created, in part, by Icahn’s own remarks — that, with Trump in the White House and Icahn playing consigliere, the rules were about to change, and not just at the EPA. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Icahn denies he knew about Trump’s steel tariff announcement before dumping stocks," 8 Mar. 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

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

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Learn More about about

Statistics for about

Last Updated

3 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for about

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

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More Definitions for about

about

adverb
\ ə-ˈbau̇t \

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.

about

preposition

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

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