Meaning of ABOUT in English


I. ə-ˈbau̇t adverb

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English abūtan, from a- (I) + būtan outside — more at but

Date: before 12th century


a. : reasonably close to

about a year ago

b. : almost

about starved

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


a. : in rotation

b. : around the outside

4. : here and there

5. : in the vicinity : near

6. : in the opposite direction

face about

the other way about

II. preposition

Date: before 12th century

1. : in a circle around : on every side of : around


a. : in the immediate neighborhood of : near

b. : on or near the person of

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


a. : 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

III. adjective

Date: 1815

1. : moving from place to place ; specifically : being out of bed

2. : around 2

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.