Definition of about in English:


Syllabification: a·bout
Pronunciation: /əˈbout


  • 2Used to indicate movement within a particular area: she looked about the room
    More example sentences
    • He paused, looked about himself for a moment, and sighed.
    • I paused, gazing about the room, watching carefully for any sign of movement.
    • While some men can wander about a hardware store for an hour, I can kill 60 minutes or more in a kitchen supply place.
    around, round, throughout, over, through, on every side of
  • 3Used to express location in a particular place: rugs strewn about the hall he produced a knife from somewhere about his person
    More example sentences
    • Residents near the play area are being disturbed by noise, and beer cans have been left about the area.
    around, in circulation, in existence, current, going on, prevailing, prevalent, happening, in the air, abroad
  • 3.1Used to describe a quality apparent in a person: there was a look about her that said everything
    More example sentences
    • Seen from the air in the lemony light of dawn, the place has an almost mystical quality about it.
    • There was a film noir quality about that piece of managerial advice, and it fitted the times.
    • The French veteran has a grace about his movement which seems to mesmerise opponents.


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  • 2Used to express location in a particular place: there was a lot of flu about a thief about in the hotel
    More example sentences
    • The site was overgrown and there was refuse strewn about the area.
    • Houdini relied on great skill, low cunning, and keeping tiny metal picklocks concealed about his person.
    • I have friends scattered about Australia.
    near, nearby, around, hereabouts, not far (off/away), close by, in the vicinity, in the neighborhood


about to do something

Intending to do something or close to doing something very soon: the ceremony was about to begin
More example sentences
  • They may be used to control symptoms in women who are close to the menopause for whom symptoms may soon be about to improve anyway.
  • The Government is about to close the door and stop all new referrals from receiving these drugs.
  • As the elevator doors were about to close, someone pushed the open button outside.
(just) going to, ready to, all set to, preparing to, getting ready to, intending to, soon to; on the point of, on the verge of, on the brink of
informal fixing to

be not about to do something

Be unwilling to do something: he is not about to step down after so long
More example sentences
  • The major telecoms companies and the raft of Internet companies suddenly found themselves faced with massive balance sheet deficits and fantasy profits that were not about to materialise.
  • They seemed content to sit back and invite Arsenal to come on to them, and the league leaders were not about to spurn the invitation.
  • People backed the president, because they wanted to back his patriotic effort, and they were not about to throw a wartime president out of office during a war.

how about

see how1.

just about

see just.

know what one is about

informal Be aware of the implications of one’s actions or of a situation, and of how best to deal with them.
More example sentences
  • That's the key, you need to know what you are about.
  • In time the truth will emerge but to win big contracts you have to know what you are about.
  • But, now you are here, may I ask if you know what you are about?

up and about

see up.

what about

see what.


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

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