about

adverb
\ 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

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Another drugstore pick Witherspoon raves about: Revlon's Extra Curl Eyelash Curler. Marci Robin, Allure, "Reese Witherspoon’s Favorite Drugstore Beauty Products Include a $5 Eyelash Curler and $10 Cleanser," 5 Apr. 2019 The Peppermint star opened up about Violet's newfound interest in beauty, explaining that she's been having a ton of fun experimenting with and exploring the whole world of makeup. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Jennifer Garner Shares How She Feels About Her 13-Year-Old Daughter Wearing Makeup," 27 Mar. 2019 But beyond the gorgeous bottles, high-end brands are also taking a spare-no-expense approach to formulating what goes into them to deliver results that are truly worth posting about. Glamour, "Beauty Awards: The 17 Best Skin Care Products of 2019," 25 Mar. 2019 Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa previously opened up about possibly seeing the citizens of Riverdale and Greendale coming together in one of the series. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Kiernan Shipka Reveals Cole Sprouse Was Her Celebrity Idol Growing Up," 25 Mar. 2019 With help from lidar, automakers can hopefully develop ADAS systems that will slam on the brakes when a car is about to run into a large, stationary object. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018," 30 Dec. 2018 The model was seen out and about in New York City last night dressed for the deep freeze in a mammoth black puffer coat, black sweatpants, and black Uggs to fit her incognito model-off-duty vibe. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Steps Out in the Stealth Ugg Boot," 8 Mar. 2019 While out and about in London, paparazzi caught a rare glimpse of Pippa Middleton with her baby boy, Arthur. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Pippa Middleton Looks Chic During a Rare Outing with Her Son Arthur," 1 Mar. 2019 Of course, Meghan Markle's visit wasn't just about showing off her excellent maternity style. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Meghan Markle Wore a $35 Maternity Dress—and It's Still Available to Buy," 16 Jan. 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

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 Kate Middleton and Prince William are visiting Blackpool today to take a about investment and regeneration projects in the seaside resort town. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Braves the Rain in an Olive Sportsmax Coat and Manu Atelier Clutch," 6 Mar. 2019 The line of bulbs, which are the first to have Made by Google certification built into them, were first introduced this fall, but the offerings are about to triple in number, as Tech Crunch reports. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "General Electric Is Making Voice-Controlled "Smart" Light Bulbs," 9 Jan. 2019 The team has no answers yet, but the additional discovery points to just how little scientists know about shark gestation. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Some Unborn Sharks Swim from Uterus to Uterus Inside Their Mom," 7 Jan. 2019 Missing their families, not knowing how to answer when people ask about holiday plans, nostalgia for happier times, and having nowhere to go for the holidays are just some of the reasons cited for this. Ashley Edwards Walker, Good Housekeeping, "Modern Estrangement: What Does It Mean to Be Estranged, Anyway?," 21 Dec. 2018 While big app updates usually involve a lot of new features, Microsoft is taking a different approach as this is nearly all about design. Tom Warren, The Verge, "A dark mode is coming in a future update," 5 Dec. 2018 The summer after high school, Kacey Cabanban came out as transgender and was about to begin the transition to live as a man. Angie Leventis Lourgos, chicagotribune.com, "Before they transition, some transgender youth preserve fertility by banking sperm or eggs," 3 Apr. 2018 That's about to change because Steel Magnolias is returning to the big screen, y’all! Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'Steel Magnolias' Is Returning to Theaters for the Film's 30th Anniversary," 6 Feb. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about about

Statistics for about

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for about

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for about

about

adverb
\ 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.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!