Meaning of ABOUT in English


/ əˈbaʊt; NAmE / adverb , preposition , adjective

■ adverb


a little more or less than; a little before or after

SYN approximately :

It costs about $10.

They waited (for) about an hour.

He arrived (at) about ten.


nearly; very close to :

I'm just about ready.

This is about the best we can hope for.


( especially BrE ) in many directions; here and there :

The children were rushing about in the garden.


( especially BrE ) in no particular order; in various places :

Her books were lying about on the floor.


( especially BrE ) doing nothing in particular :

People were standing about in the road.


( especially BrE ) able to be found in a place :

There was nobody about.

There's a lot of flu about.


( technical or formal ) facing the opposite direction :

He brought the ship about.

➡ note at around


- that's about all | that's about it

—more at just adverb , out adverb

■ preposition


on the subject of sb/sth; in connection with sb/sth :

a book about flowers

Tell me all about it.

What's she so angry about?

There's something strange about him.

I don't know what you're on about (= talking about) .

There's nothing you can do about it now.


used to describe the purpose or an aspect of sth :

Movies are all about making money these days.

What was all that about? (= what was the reason for what has just happened?)


busy with sth; doing sth :

Everywhere people were going about their daily business.

And while you're about it ... (= while you're doing that)


( especially BrE ) in many directions in a place; here and there :

We wandered about the town for an hour or so.

He looked about the room.


( especially BrE ) in various parts of a place; here and there :

The papers were strewn about the room.


( especially BrE ) next to a place or person; in the area mentioned :

She's somewhere about the office.


( literary ) surrounding sb/sth :

She wore a shawl about her shoulders.


- how / what about ... ?

■ adjective


- be about to do sth

- not be about to do sth



ways of saying approximately

The flight takes approximately three hours.

The tickets cost about £20 each.

The repairs will cost $200, give or take a few dollars.

How much will it cost, more or less ?

We are expecting thirty or so people to come.

She must be 25 or thereabouts .

Profits have fallen by roughly 15%.

You can expect to earn round about £40,000 a year.

The price is somewhere around $800.

She earns somewhere in the region of £25,000.

All these words and phrases are used in both speaking and writing; about is the most common and approximately the most formal.



Old English onbūtan , from on in, on + būtan outside of .

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.