AskDefine | Define about

Dictionary Definition

about adj : on the move; "up and about"; "the whole town was astir over the incident" [syn: about(p), astir(p)] adv
1 (of quantities) imprecise but fairly close to correct; "lasted approximately an hour"; "in just about a minute"; "he's about 30 years old"; "I've had about all I can stand"; "we meet about once a month"; "some forty people came"; "weighs around a hundred pounds"; "roughly $3,000"; "holds 3 gallons, more or less"; "20 or so people were at the party" [syn: approximately, close to, just about, some, roughly, more or less, around, or so]
2 all around or on all sides; "dirty clothes lying around (or about)"; "let's look about for help"; "There were trees growing all around"; "she looked around her" [syn: around]
3 in the area or vicinity; "a few spectators standing about"; "hanging around"; "waited around for the next flight" [syn: around]
4 to or among many different places or in no particular direction; "wandering about with no place to go"; "people were rushing about"; "news gets around (or about)"; "traveled around in Asia"; "he needs advice from someone who's been around"; "she sleeps around" [syn: around]
5 in or to a reversed position or direction; "about face"; "brought the ship about"; "suddenly she turned around" [syn: around]
6 in rotation or succession; "turn about is fair play"
7 (of actions or states) slightly short of or not quite accomplished; `near' is sometimes used informally for `nearly' and `most' is sometimes used informally for `almost'; "the job is (just) about done"; "the baby was almost asleep when the alarm sounded"; "we're almost finished"; "the car all but ran her down"; "he nearly fainted"; "talked for nigh onto 2 hours"; "the recording is well-nigh perfect"; "virtually all the parties signed the contract"; "I was near exhausted by the run"; "most everyone agrees" [syn: just about, almost, most, all but, nearly, near, nigh, virtually, well-nigh]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

onbutan, from on + butan.

Pronunciation

  • /əˈbaʊt/, /@"baUt/
  • Rhymes with: -aʊt
  • Hyphenation: a·bout

Preposition

  1. Around; all round; outside or on every side of.
    Quotations
    • If thou beest not immortal look about you. - Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, II-iii
    • Bind them about thy neck. - Proverbs 3:3
  2. In the immediate neighborhood of; in contiguity or proximity to; near, as to place; by or on (one's person).
    Quotations
    • Have you much money about you? - Bulwer
  3. Over or upon different parts of; through or over in various directions; here and there in; to and fro in; throughout.
    Quotations
    • Lampoons ... were handed about the coffeehouses. - Macaulay
    • Roving still about the world. - Milton
  4. Near; not far from; -- determining approximately time, size, quantity.
    Quotations
    • To-morrow, about this time. - Exodus 9:18
    • She is about my height. - Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, IV-iv
    • He went out about the third hour. - Matthew 20:3
    Note: This use passes into the adverbial sense.
  5. In concern with; engaged in; intent on.
    Quotations
    • I must be about my Father's business. - Luke 2:49
  6. (Before a verbal noun or an infinitive): On the point or verge of; going; in act of.
    Quotations
    • Paul was now about to open his mouth. - Acts 18:14
  7. Concerning; with regard to; on account of; touching.
    Quotations
    • To treat about thy ransom. - Milton
    • She must have her way about Sarah. - Trollope

Translations

around
in the immediate neighborhood of
over or upon different parts of
near
in concern with
on the point or verge of
concerning

Adverb

  1. On all sides; around.
    Quotations
    • 'Tis time to look about. - Shakespeare, King Lear, IV-vii
  2. In circuit; circularly; by a circuitous way; around the outside; as, a mile about, and a third of a mile across.
  3. Here and there; around; in one place and another.
    Quotations
    • Wandering about from house to house. - 1 Timothy 5:13
  4. Nearly; approximately; with close correspondence, in quality, manner, degree, etc.; as, about as cold; about as high; -- also of quantity, number, time.
    Quotations
    • There fell ... about three thousand men. - Exodus 22:28
  5. To a reserved position; half round; in the opposite direction; on the opposite tack; as, to face about; to turn one's self about.

Translations

on all sides
in circuit
here and there
nearly
to a reserved position

Extensive Definition

About can refer to:
People

See also

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

again, aimlessly, all but, all over, all round, almost, along toward, alongside, anent, any which way, anyhow, anywise, approximately, apropos, apropos of, around, as for, as regards, as respects, as to, at close quarters, at hand, at random, back, back and forth, backward, beside, carelessly, casually, circa, circuitously, close, close about, close at hand, close by, close to, close upon, concerning, encircling, everywhere, far and wide, fast by, haphazard, haphazardly, hard, hard by, helter-skelter, here and there, hereabout, hereabouts, in all directions, in connection with, in point of, in re, in reference to, in regard to, in relation to, in relation with, in respect to, in reverse, in spitting distance, in the air, in the neighborhood, in the vicinity, involving, just about, more or less, most, much, near, near at hand, near enough to, near upon, nearabout, nearabouts, nearby, nearly, nigh, nigh about, not far, not far from, of, on, on every side, only a step, pertaining to, pertinent to, plus ou moins, practically, prevalent, random, randomly, re, referring to, regarding, relating to, relative to, respecting, roughly, round, round about, some, somewhere about, speaking of, surrounding, thereabout, thereabouts, through, throughout, to and fro, touching, up and down, upon, upwards of, well-nigh, with, with regard to, with respect to, within call, within earshot, within hearing, within reach
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