Meaning of ABOUT in English


transcription, транскрипция: [ əbaʊt ]

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Note: In addition to the uses shown below, 'about' is used after some verbs, nouns, and adjectives to introduce extra information. 'About' is also often used after verbs of movement, such as ‘walk’ and ‘drive’, and in phrasal verbs such as ‘mess about’ and ‘set about’, especially in British English.


You use about to introduce who or what something relates to or concerns.

She came in for a coffee, and told me about her friend Shona...

She knew a lot about food...

He never complains about his wife.



When you mention the things that an activity or institution is about , you are saying what it involves or what its aims are.

Leadership is about the ability to implement change.



You use about after some adjectives to indicate the person or thing that a feeling or state of mind relates to.

‘I’m sorry about Patrick,’ she said...

I feel so guilty and angry about the whole issue.



If you do something about a problem, you take action in order to solve it.

Rachel was going to do something about Jacob...



When you say that there is a particular quality about someone or something, you mean that they have this quality.

I think there’s something a little peculiar about the results of your test.



About is used in front of a number to show that the number is not exact.

In my local health centre there’s about forty parking spaces...

The rate of inflation is running at about 2.7 percent.

= approximately, around

≠ precisely

ADV : ADV num


If someone or something moves about , they keep moving in different directions.

Everyone was running about.

= around

ADV : ADV after v

About is also a preposition.

From 1879 to 1888 he wandered about Germany, Switzerland, and Italy...

= around



If you put something about a person or thing, you put it around them.

Helen threw her arms about him...

= round, around



If someone or something is about , they are present or available.

There’s lots of money about these days for schemes like this.

ADJ : v-link ADJ


If you are about to do something, you are going to do it very soon. If something is about to happen, it will happen very soon.

I think he’s about to leave...

The film was about to start.

ADJ : v-link ADJ to-inf


how about: see how

what about: see what

just about: see just


If someone is out and about , they are going out and doing things, especially after they have been unable to for a while.

Despite considerable pain she has been getting out and about almost as normal...

PHRASE : usu PHR after v , also v-link PHR


If someone is out and about , they are going to a lot of different places, often as part of their job.

They often saw me out and about.

PHRASE : usu PHR after v , also v-link PHR

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.