Meaning of ABOUT in English
/ əˈbaʊt; NAmE / adverb , preposition , adjective
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
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 ... ?
- 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. 2005