What does about mean?

Definitions for about

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word about.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. about(p), astir(p)adverb

    on the move

    "up and about"; "the whole town was astir over the incident"

  2. approximately, about, close to, just about, some, roughly, more or less, around, or soadverb

    (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"

  3. about, aroundadverb

    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"

  4. about, aroundadverb

    in the area or vicinity

    "a few spectators standing about"; "hanging around"; "waited around for the next flight"

  5. about, aroundadverb

    used of movement 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"

  6. about, aroundadverb

    in or to a reversed position or direction

    "about face"; "suddenly she turned around"

  7. aboutadverb

    in rotation or succession

    "turn about is fair play"

  8. about, almost, most, nearly, near, nigh, virtually, well-nighadverb

    (of actions or states) slightly short of or not quite accomplished; all but

    "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"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Aboutadverb

    The weyward sisters, hand in hand,
    Posters of the sea and land,
    Thus do go about, about,
    Thrice to thine, and thrice to mine,
    And thrice again to make up nine. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    My honest lads, I’ll tell you what I am about. —— Two yards and more. —— No quips now, Pistol: indeed I am in the waste two yards about; but I am about no waste, I am about thrift. William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor.

    A tun about was ev’ry pillar there,
    A polish’d mirrour shone not half so clear. John Dryden, Fables.

    When the boats were come within about sixty yards of the pillar, they found themselves all bound, and could go no farther; yet so as they might move to go about, but might not approach nearer. Francis Bacon, New Atalantis.

    Up rose the gentle virgin from her place,
    And looked all about, if she might spy
    Her lovely knight to move his manly pace. Fairy Queen, b. i. cant. ii. stanz. 33.

    A wolf that was past labour, had the wit in his old age, yet to make the best of a bad game; he borrows a habit, and so about he goes, begging charity from door to door, under the disguise of a pilgrim. Roger L'Estrange.

    These dying lovers, and their floating sons,
    Suspend the fight, and silence all our guns:
    Beauty and youth, about to perish, finds
    Such noble pity in brave English minds. Edmund Waller.

    Gold hath these natures; greatness of weight; closeness of parts; fixation; pliantness, or softness; immunity from rust; colour, or tincture of yellow: Therefore the sure way (though most about ) to make gold, is to know the causes of the several natures before rehearsed. Francis Bacon, Natural Hist. №. 328.

    Spies of the Volscians
    Held me in chase, that I was forc’d to wheel
    Three or four miles about; else had I, Sir,
    Half an hour since brought my report. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Whether this will be brought about, by breaking his head, I very much question. Spectator.

    Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about, after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son. 1 Sam. i. 20.

    One evening it befel, that looking out,
    The wind they long had wish’d was come about;
    Well pleas’d they went to rest; and if the gale
    ’Till morn continu’d, both resolv’d to sail. John Dryden, Fables.

    Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? John vii. 19.

  2. ABOUTprep.

    Etymology: abutan, or abuton, Sax. which seems to signify encircling on the outside.

    Let not mercy and truth forsake thee. Bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thy heart. Proverbs, iii. 3.

    At this she loudly shrieks,
    ’Tis he, ’tis he, she cries, and tears her cheeks,
    Her hair, her vest; and, stooping to the sands,
    About his neck she cast her trembling hands. John Dryden, Fables.

    Speak unto the congregation, saying, get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Exodus.

    Thou dost nothing, Sergius,
    Thou canst endeavour nothing, nay, not think;
    But I both see and hear it; and am with thee,
    By and before, about and in thee too. Ben Jonson, Catiline.

    When Constantine had finished an house for the service or God at Jerusalem, the dedication he judged a matter not unworthy; about the solemn performance whereof, the greatest part of the bishops in christendom should meet together. Richard Hooker, b. v. § 12.

    The painter is not to take so much pains about the drapery as about the face, where the principal resemblance lies. John Dryden, Dufresnoy. Pref. to.

    They are most frequently used as words equivalent, and do both of them indifferently signify either a speculative knowledge of things, or a practical skill about them, according to the exigency of the matter or thing spoken of. John Tillotson, Sermon i.

    Theft is always a sin, although the particular species of it, and the denomination of particular acts, doth suppose positive laws about dominion and property. Edward Stillingfleet, Defence of Discourses on Romish Idolatry.

    They should always be heard, and fairly and kindly answered, when they ask after any thing they would know, and desire to be informed about. Curiosity should be as carefully cherished in children, as other appetites suppressed. John Locke, on Education, § 108.

    It hath been practised as a method of making men’s court, when they are asked about the rate of lands, the abilities of tenants, the state of trade and manufacture, to answer, that, in their neighbourhood, all things are in a flourishing condition. Jonathan Swift, short View of Ireland.

    Our blessed Lord was pleased to command the representation of his death and sacrifice on the cross, should be made by breaking of bread and effusion of wine; to signify to us the nature and sacredness of the liturgy we are about. Jeremy Taylor, Worthy Communicant.

    Labour, for labour’s sake, is against nature. The understanding, as well as all the other faculties, chooses always the shortest way to its end, would presently obtain the knowledge it is about, and then set upon some new enquiry. But this, whether laziness or haste, often misleads it. John Locke.

    They ought, however, to be provided with secretaries, and assisted by our foreign ministers, to tell their story for them in plain English, and to let us know, in our mother-tongue, what it is our brave countrymen are about. Joseph Addison, Spect. №. 309.

    If you have this about you,
    As I will give you when we go, you may
    Boldly assault the necromancer’s hall. John Milton, Comus.

    It is not strange to me, that persons of the fairer sex should like, in all things about them, that handsomeness for which they find themselves most liked. Robert Boyle, on Colours.

    Liking very well the young gentleman, such I took him to be, admitted this Deiphantus about me, who well shewed, there is no service like his that serves because he loves. Philip Sidney, b. ii.

    Good master, corporal, captain, for my old dame’s sake, stand my friend: she hath no body to do any thing about her when I am gone, and she is old and cannot help herself. William Shakespeare, Henry IV. p. ii.


  1. about

    About can have different meanings depending on the context. Generally, it refers to something that is related to a particular topic or subject, often providing information or details about it. It can also be used to describe a vague or approximate quantity or number.

Webster Dictionary

  1. About

    around; all round; on every side of

  2. About

    in the immediate neighborhood of; in contiguity or proximity to; near, as to place; by or on (one's person)

  3. About

    over or upon different parts of; through or over in various directions; here and there in; to and fro in; throughout

  4. About

    near; not far from; -- determining approximately time, size, quantity

  5. About

    in concern with; engaged in; intent on

  6. About

    on the point or verge of; going; in act of

  7. About

    concerning; with regard to; on account of; touching

  8. Aboutadverb

    on all sides; around

  9. Aboutadverb

    in circuit; circularly; by a circuitous way; around the outside; as, a mile about, and a third of a mile across

  10. Aboutadverb

    here and there; around; in one place and another

  11. Aboutadverb

    nearly; approximately; with close correspondence, in quality, manner, degree, etc.; as, about as cold; about as high; -- also of quantity, number, time

  12. Aboutadverb

    to a reserved position; half round; in the opposite direction; on the opposite tack; as, to face about; to turn one's self about

  13. Etymology: [OE. aboute, abouten, abuten; AS. butan, onbutan; on + butan, which is from be by + utan outward, from ut out. See But, Out.]


  1. AbOUT

    abOUT was a Toronto-based online biweekly lifestyles and current affairs magazine, serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities of North America. abOUT was founded in Buffalo, New York, in late 2003 by four partners, including Canadian journalist Duane Booth. The first edition of the magazine was released on January 19, 2004. In 2006, Booth became majority shareholder when he acquired the shares of two of the business partners, and the magazine's operations were fully moved to Toronto at the same time. The magazine continued in print until February 2010, when it was changed to an online-only publication. abOUT covered LGBT-related news and culture. abOUT covered a range of topics relating to the LGBT community including politics, activism, pop culture, arts, entertainment, health, fashion, fitness and more. The magazine has become known for political stands that are often contrary to those seen in other gay press outlets as well as featuring celebrity interview with artists such as Mary J. Blige, Pussycat Dolls and Felicity Huffman. The website closed in 2011.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. About

    a-bowt′, prep. round on the outside: around: here and there in: near to: concerning: engaged in.—adv. around: nearly: here and there.—Bring about, to cause to take place; Come about, to take place; Go about, to prepare to do; Put about, disturbed; To be about, to be astir; Turn about, alternately. [A.S. on bútan; on, in, bútan, without, itself compounded of be, by, and útan, locative of út, out.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. about

    Circularly; the situation of a ship after she has gone round, and trimmed sails on the opposite tack.--Ready about! and About-ship! are orders to the ship's company to prepare for tacking by being at their stations.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. about

    A technical word to express the movement by which a body of troops or artillery carriages change front.

Editors Contribution

  1. about

    Relating to.

    The change is about justness, fairness, truth, ethics and morality which we all agree is important and intelligent.

    Submitted by MaryC on September 7, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'about' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #70

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'about' in Written Corpus Frequency: #67

  3. Adverbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'about' in Adverbs Frequency: #33

How to pronounce about?

How to say about in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of about in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of about in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for about

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • حول, عن, حَواليArabic
  • тураһындаBashkir
  • зBelarusian
  • sobreCatalan, Valencian
  • o, okolo, kolem, asi, přibližněCzech
  • på, om, til, cirka, rundt om, omkring, angående, vedrørende, på vej til, omkreds, næstenDanish
  • über, von, um, ungefährGerman
  • για, κοντά, περί, [[γύρω]] [[από]], σχεδόν, γύρωGreek
  • [[ĉirkaŭe]] [[en]], kun, ĉirkaŭ, pri, tra, -ota, returnen, ĉirkaŭe, proksimumeEsperanto
  • sobre, encima, de, acerca de, alrededor, acerca, a punto, cercaSpanish
  • پیرامون, درباب, راجع به, درباره, نزدیک, در اطراف, نزدPersian
  • paikkeilla, -lla, noin, olla [[kysymys]], ympärillä, [[olla]] [[kyse]], aikeissa, vähällä, vaiheilla, osapuilleen, vieressä, lähellä, suunnilleen, läheisyydessä, -ssa, mukana, -sta, hoitaa, ympäril, [[toiselle]] [[halssille]], ympäri, peräkanaa, siellä täällä, peräjälkeen, ympärille, liikkeellä, likimain, peräkkäinFinnish
  • vers, environ, proche, environs, au sujet de, par-dessus, autour, à propos de, sur, de, au-dessus, sur le pointFrench
  • mu chuairt, mu, mu dheidhinn, mun cuairt, mu chuairt airScottish Gaelic
  • על, ב[[סביבה, ב[[איזור]], מסביב, בערךHebrew
  • के बारे मेंHindi
  • ról rőlHungarian
  • մասին, մոտ, շուրջArmenian
  • vicino, riguardando, stare per, riguardo, su, vicino a, circa, intornoItalian
  • に関して, ところ, 約, 周辺, 辺り, およそ, についてJapanese
  • გარშემოGeorgian
  • dorî, nêzî, teqrîbenKurdish
  • жөнүндө, жакын, жанындаKyrgyz
  • de, in, iturus sum, futurus sumLatin
  • ກ່ຽວກັບLao
  • tūlīt, apkārt, pa, tūliņ, pie, par, tikpat kāLatvian
  • штотуку не, приближно, околу, близу, наоколу, само што не, за, ваму-таму, речиси, обратноMacedonian
  • tentang, darihal, berkenaan dengan, برکناءن دڠن, مڠناءي, تنتڠ, دريحال, berkaitan dengan, mengenai, برکاءيتن دڠنMalay
  • dwar, madwarMaltese
  • rond, om, aangaande, over, bij, omheen, ongeveer, betreffende, in de buurt, op het punt staan, om-, rond-Dutch
  • rundt, om, omkring, angående, på veg til, nestenNorwegian
  • około, wokół, wokoło, przy, dookoła, o, ponad, tu i tam, niemal, prawie, wstecz, wszędzie, wkoło, tu i ówdziePolish
  • perto de, por volta de, nas, de, [[preocupado]]/[[lidando]] [[com]], prestes a, redondezas, perto, sobre, ao redor, por aí, mais ou menos, aproximadamente, em volta, cerca dePortuguese
  • lângă, în jurul, despre, camRomanian
  • гото́в, приме́рно, ря́дом, круго́м, про, по, недалеко́, приблизи́тельно, побли́зости, во́круг, об, о, туда́-сюда́, обратно, взад-вперёд, вокру́г, почти́, околоRussian
  • о̏ко, o, ȍkoSerbo-Croatian
  • okolo, pri, oSlovak
  • o, okoli, okrog, približnoSlovene
  • på väg att, runt, om, på, angående, ungefärSwedish
  • etraf, yaklaşık, hakkındaTurkish
  • کے بارے میںUrdu
  • tefüVolapük
  • 大约Chinese
  • nga-Zulu

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    relating to or involving money
    A lank
    B valetudinarian
    C currish
    D pecuniary

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