1. Approximately; nearly: The interview lasted about an hour.
2. Almost: The job is about done.
3. To a reversed position or direction: Turn about and walk away slowly.
4. In no particular direction: wandering about with no place to go.
5. All around; on every side: Lets look about for help.
6. In the area or vicinity; near: spoke to a few spectators standing about.
7. In succession; one after another: Turn about is fair play.
a. On the verge of; presently going to. Used with the infinitive: The chorus is about to sing.
b. Usage Problem Used to show determination or intention in negative constructions with an infinitive: I am not about to concede the point.
1. On all sides of; surrounding: I found an English garden all about me.
2. In the vicinity of; around: explored the rivers and streams about the estate.
3. Almost the same as; close to; near.
a. In reference to; relating to; concerned with: a book about snakes.
b. In the act or process of: While youre about it, please clean your room.
5. In the possession or innate character of: Keep your wits about you.
1. Moving here and there; astir: The patient is up and about.
2. Being in evidence or existence: Rumors are about concerning his resignation.
[Middle English, from Old English onbtan : on, in; see on + btan, outside; see ud- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The construction not about to is often used to express determination: We are not about to negotiate with terrorists. A majority of the Usage Panel considers this usage acceptable in speech but not in formal writing. · About is traditionally used to refer to the relation between a narrative and its subject: a book about C?zanne; a movie about the Boston Massacre. This use has lately been extended to refer to the relation between various nonlinguistic entities and the things they make manifest, as in The party was mostly about showing off their new offices or His designs are about the use of rough-textured materials. This practice probably originates with the expression Thats what its all about, but it remains controversial. Fifty-nine percent of the Usage Panel rejected this use in the example A designer teapot isnt about making tea; it is about letting people know that you have a hundred dollars to spend on a teapot.
about /bat/ prep.1 related to, (syn.) concerning: The meeting was about a new product.2 occupied with, doing: He goes about his business every day. adv.1 around, (syn.) approximately: About 20 people attended the meeting.2 almost: Are you about done with that project?3 ready to: Im just about to go out the door.4How about: asking s.o. if he would like s.t.: How about a movie (dinner, drink, etc.) tonight?5not about to: showing strong disagreement: I am not about to drive in a bad snowstorm.6to come about: to change direction to the reverse: The ship came about and headed for home.