- About means relating to something.
An example of a book about maps would be an atlas.
An example of a job that is about finished would be a job that is almost completed.
- About is defined as something close or approximate.
An example of the time being about noon would be 11:59 am.
- The definition of about is being in a certain area.
Moving around your yard is an example of being about the yard.
This book is about maps.
about definition by Webster's New World
- on every side; all around: look about
- here and there; in all directions: travel about
- in circumference; around the outside: ten miles about
- near: standing somewhere about
- in the opposite direction; to a reversed position: turn it about
- in succession or rotation: play fair—turn and turn about
- nearly; approximately: about four years old
- Informal all but; almost: about ready
Origin: Middle English aboute(n) ; from Old English onbūtan, around ; from on, on plush be, by plush ūtan, outside ; from ūt, out: all senses develop from the sense of “around”
- astir; on the move: he is up and about again
- in the vicinity; prevalent: typhoid is about
- ready; likely immediately: followed by an infinitive: I was about to speak
- willing or inclined: used with not and an infinitive: I'm not about to exercise regularly
- around; on all sides of
- here and there in; everywhere in: rambling about the town
- near to in time or space: born about 1960, keeping my keys about me
- concerned with; attending to: go about your business
- on the subject of; concerning: a book about ships
- in connection with; pertaining to: the most interesting thing about her
about definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- Approximately; nearly: The interview lasted about an hour.
- Almost: The job is about done.
- To a reversed position or direction: Turn about and walk away slowly.
- In no particular direction: wandering about with no place to go.
- All around; on every side: Let's look about for help.
- In the area or vicinity; near: spoke to a few spectators standing about.
- 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.
- On all sides of; surrounding: I found an English garden all about me.
- In the vicinity of; around: explored the rivers and streams about the estate.
- 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 you're about it, please clean your room.
- In the possession or innate character of: Keep your wits about you.
- Moving here and there; astir: The patient is up and about.
- Being in evidence or existence: Rumors are about concerning his resignation.
Origin: Middle English, from Old English onbūtan : on, in; see on + būtan, 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 Cézanne; 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 That's what it's all about, but it remains controversial. Fifty-nine percent of the Usage Panel rejected this use in the example A designer teapot isn't about making tea; it is about letting people know that you have a hundred dollars to spend on a teapot.
about - Phrases/Idioms
be what something is all about