Definition of around in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈround/


1 (British also round) Located or situated on every side: the mountains towering all around a building visible for miles around
More example sentences
  • Victoria Mill chimney in Skipton is a landmark easily visible for miles around.
  • It would affect residents the whole length of its route and would be visible for miles around.
  • First, Debenhams have the last say in which shops are situated around them.
on every side, on all sides, throughout, all over (the place), everywhere;
about, here and there
1.1So as to surround someone or something: everyone crowded around a pool with banks all the way around
More example sentences
  • I shouted at everyone to get back because they were crowding around and then we carried out CPR.
  • There was a new waiting room, with guideropes snaking around to guide the crowds, who weren't there.
  • There was a patter of feet as several people crowded around to get a good look at Hazel.
1.2So as to give support and companionship: if one girl is distraught, the others will rally around
More example sentences
  • Once residents begin to understand what this home is, they will rally around and support them.
  • The point of the fact is, Canadians have come around to support what they now realize to be a wise move.
  • Today, in our post-ideological times, there is less for the elite to rally around.
1.3With circular motion: the boats were spun around by waterspouts
More example sentences
  • She put the ultrasound head on the gel and began moving it around in a circular motion.
  • Now it is done in a centrifuge, which whirls the milk around rapidly in a circular vessel.
  • How come the protons in the nucleus of an atom do not spin around like the electrons do?
1.4So as to cover or take in the whole area surrounding a particular center: she paused to glance around admiringly at the decor
More example sentences
  • The thing to do is experiment, read around, be critical, and draw your own conclusions.
  • There are plenty of tourism operators in the area to show you around and crank up the thrill factor.
  • She ran out onto the dusty road and glanced around to see if she could find the young man.
1.5So as to reach everyone in a particular group or area: he passed a newspaper clipping around
More example sentences
  • But perhaps Bill would have been better off sending it around to everyone to start off with.
  • In the circulars sent around by the union promoting the deal, no comment is made on this.
  • If we had macaroni and cheese we could go around and boast to everyone in the village about what we had to eat.
2 (British alsoround) So as to rotate and face in the opposite direction: Jack seized her by the shoulders and turned her around figurative having him in my corner has turned my career around
More example sentences
  • I turned around in the opposite direction and started down the hall to my Band class.
  • The manager reaches across the desk, picks up the sheet and swivels around in his chair to face him.
  • Lacey swivelled around on her computer chair and grabbed a pillow from the bed beside her.
in the opposite direction, to face the other way, backward, to the rear
2.1So as to lead in another direction: it was the last house before the road curved around
More example sentences
  • Still, if the road had been curving around, then it should be over that way somewhere.
  • When we came to the end of the road we turned around and headed for the beach.
  • As they approach the side road to take them around to the back entrance, they kill the siren.
2.2Used in describing the position of something, typically with regard to the direction in which it is facing or its relation to other items: the picture shows the pieces the wrong way around
More example sentences
  • A couple behind her told her she was putting it in the wrong way around.
  • A routine check revealed her heart was on the wrong side of her body and two of her heart chambers were the wrong way around.
  • You however, seem to have got this concept completely the wrong way around.
2.3Used to describe a situation in terms of the relation between people, actions, or events: it was he who was attacking her, not the other way around
More example sentences
  • They tell Venn and her minions which way is up, not the other way around.
  • Art imitates life, or is it the other way around?
3 (British alsoround) So as to reach a new place or position, typically by moving from one side of something to the other: he made his way around to the back of the building they went the long way around by the main road
More example sentences
  • They had to go around to locate the statue, and then got in, through a door there.
  • You have to come at the trap on its left side and swing around it at the last minute.
  • Greta comes around to the side of the bed where Madison is standing and hands Emily a string.
3.1In or to many places throughout a locality: his only ambition is to drive around in a sports car word got around that he was on the verge of retirement
More example sentences
  • Today's Question: Which Celebrity would you most like to drive around for an hour with?
  • So hanging out was good, we talked about something else and drove around and had all in all a nice time.
  • I have now been driving this Kia around for about five days and have discovered that it goes like the clappers.
3.2Used to convey an ability to navigate or orient oneself: I like pupils to find their own way around
More example sentences
  • Their online version has also been updated making it easier to navigate around in.
  • However, this appendix is both hard to follow and difficult to navigate around.
  • I wanted people to say that I knew how to find my way around and earn a living.
3.3 informal Used to convey the idea of visiting someone else: why don’t you come around to my office?
More example sentences
  • Anyone reading this who'll be in the area is welcome to come around and meet me and the rest of us.
  • Never one to miss an opportunity, he called around and met Leo and Lacey.
  • I drove around to see mum when the sun was at its height and the day was so hot it had pushed the cat into the shade of the flowerbeds.
3.4Randomly or unsystematically; here and there: John tried to focus on her but she kept moving around one of them was glancing nervously around
More example sentences
  • Being able to wander around aimlessly is the best way to see things that you'd normally never see, new bands.
  • I wandered aimlessly around thinking about the play and failing to find a wireless hotspot.
  • Sailors in bleached white uniforms wander around trying to convince themselves they are having fun.
4 (British alsoround) In existence, in the vicinity, or in active use: there was no one around by being around I threaten her happiness barley has been around for a long time
More example sentences
  • There are old people's flats around and they feel threatened with the rowdy behavior of these kids.
  • They know they are not going to be around when Livingstone takes over the tube.
  • It's been tough for Dav, tough for the board and tough for everyone around.
nearby, near, about, close by, close, close at hand, at hand, in the vicinity, at close range
4.1Near at hand: he would want to have her around as much as possible
More example sentences
  • She was afraid to get near me with him around, but she was the lesser of the two evils.
  • She stays around near the village and it is possible to dive or snorkel with her.
  • He was a devoted soldier who had pride in whatever he did and was highly regarded by those around him.
5Approximately; about: software costs would be around $1,500 [as preposition]: I returned to my hotel around 3 a.m.
More example sentences
  • You can be in your hotel room within around five hours of leaving Bolton, if you fly.
  • The journey is around 200 miles, and they will arrive in a couple of days in his hired carriage.
  • It was a long drive to our next stop - around 160 miles to the east on the coast at Torrent.
approximately, about, around/round about, circa, roughly, something like, more or less, in the region of, in the neighborhood of, give or take (a few);
nearly, close to, approaching;
getting on for
informal in the ballpark of


(British alsoround)
1On every side of: the palazzo is built around a courtyard the hills around the city
More example sentences
  • The air around the hill of Knocknashee is responding to the sound of music these days and nights.
  • We also have just had speed humps installed around Beulah Hill crossroads.
  • The town nestles in a bay which looks over to the hills around Loch Striven, adding a misty splendour to the scene.
on all sides of, about, encircling, surrounding, enclosing
1.1(Of something abstract) having (the thing mentioned) as a focal point: our entire culture is built around those loyalties you can organize your essay around an existing critical controversy
More example sentences
  • A movie like this tends to attract an awful lot of abstract nonsense going on around it.
  • I would say try and understand the culture around a crime and you are going to better at investigating it.
  • At the height of Britpop, there was something of a consensus culture around rock.
2In or to many places throughout (a community or locality): cycling around the village a number of large depots around the country
More example sentences
  • The school places a lot of emphasis on music and the choir is in great demand to perform for community groups around the town.
  • I drove around most of the Midlands and east of England in this car and it acquitted itself admirably.
  • His image is everywhere around this city and he's even had a fast ferry named after him.
about, all over, in/to all parts of
2.1On the other side of (a corner or obstacle): Steven parked the car around the corner
More example sentences
  • The offender got into a car parked around the corner which was being driven by another person.
  • He whistled and another car came around the corner of the park and stopped in back of the limo.
  • We were off the beaten track and nobody was around, but suddenly a car came around the corner.
2.2So as to hit (something) in passing: if he didn’t shut up, he might get a slap around the ear
More example sentences
  • Seiya got a picture of him in her mind of how he got slapped around by Lela and giggled.
  • He explained how Cooper had slapped her around the face, spat at her, kicked her and punched her in the head and back.
  • In one scene, he even went as far as to slap a priest around the face, in order to get the reaction he wanted out of him for the cameras.
3So as to encircle or embrace (someone or something): he put his arm around her warming her hands around a cup of coffee the polar vortex around Antarctica
More example sentences
  • With that, he placed the necklace around his neck and embraced her for one last time.
  • In a quick movement, I flung my arm around his neck and placed the gun to his side.
  • If it wasn't for a circle of gold around his neck, he would have appeared desolate.
3.1(Of a person’s arm or arms) partially encircling (another person) as part of a gesture of affection: Mike put an arm around Mary and kissed her
More example sentences
  • She leaned forward and put her arms around me, giving me a dry peck of a kiss on the cheek.
  • I dropped all my stuff to the ground and threw my arms around him and kissed him, so happy to have him near.
  • I look into the sky and all I want is your gentle touch, your kiss, your arms around me.
3.2Following an approximately circular route: he walked around the airfield it can drill around corners the contour followed around a curve to the north
More example sentences
  • Following the route around the museum will certainly keep you fit if nothing else.
  • The circular walk around Lake Burwains is one of the best places in Lancashire to watch birds in winter.
  • The walk follows a two-mile route around the village of Staveley on New Year's Day.
3.3So as to cover or take in the whole area of (a place): she went around the house and saw that all the windows were barred
More example sentences
  • I find that a mad axe rampage around the Department of Culture, Media and Sport may help.
  • This is an aspect of Japanese culture that I really like and wish could be imported around the world.
  • Two guides had been organised to take the group around the building and members were not disappointed.


Are around and round (as preposition and adverbial particle) interchangeable? In US English, the normal form in most contexts is around; round is generally regarded as informal or nonstandard and is standard only in certain fixed expressions, as in the park is open year round and they went round and round in circles.



around the bend

see bend1.

have been around

informal Have a lot of varied experience and understanding of the world.
Example sentences
  • They have lots of players with Premiership experience, and a coach who has been around.
  • The idea is not new, however, having been around for many years.
  • Annual festivals in cities like Edmonton, Ottawa and Halifax have been around for years.


Middle English: from a-2 'in, on' + round.

Words that rhyme with around

abound, aground, astound, bound, compound, confound, dumbfound, expound, found, ground, hound, impound, interwound, mound, pound, profound, propound, redound, round, sound, stoneground, surround, theatre-in-the-round (US theater-in-the-round), underground, wound

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: a·round

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