Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


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: Let's 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 doing something; presently going to do something. 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 you're 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 onbūtan : on, in; see on + būtan, outside; see ud- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The preposition 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. For some time, this usage has been extended beyond narratives to refer to the relation between various kinds of nouns and the things they entail or make manifest: The party was mostly about showing off their new offices. You don't understand what the women's movement is about. This controversial usage probably originates with the familiar expression all about, as in Let me tell you all about her. In our 2001 survey, 62 percent of the Usage Panel rejected about in the party example listed above, and 51 percent rejected Their business is about matching people with the right technology. In 1988, 59 percent rejected a similar example. It is probably best to limit this use of about to more informal contexts. · When followed by an infinitive, about to means "on the verge of," as in I'm about to go downtown. The construction not about to usually expresses intention or determination, as in We are not about to negotiate with terrorists. This usage was considered unacceptable in formal writing to a majority of the Usage Panel in 1988, but resistance has eroded with familiarity. Fully 82 percent accepted it in our 2001 survey.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. relating to; concerning; on the subject of
2. near or close to (in space or time)
3. carried on: I haven't any money about me.
4. on every side of; all the way around
5. active in or engaged in: she is about her business.
6. about to
a. on the point of; intending to: she was about to jump.
b. (with a negative) determined not to: nobody is about to miss it.
7. approximately; near in number, time, degree, etc: about 50 years old.
8. nearby
9. here and there; from place to place; in no particular direction: walk about to keep warm.
10. all around; on every side
11. in or to the opposite direction: he turned about and came back.
12. in rotation or revolution: turn and turn about.
13. used in informal phrases to indicate understatement: I've had just about enough of your insults; it's about time you stopped.
14. archaic in circumference; around
15. (predicative) active; astir after sleep: up and about.
16. (predicative) in existence, current, or in circulation: there aren't many about nowadays.
[Old English abūtan, onbūtan on the outside of, around, from on + būtan outside]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



1. concerning; on the subject of; in regard to: a book about the Civil War.
2. connected or associated with: an air of mystery about him.
3. near; close to: about my height; about six o'clock.
4. in or somewhere near: He is about the house.
5. on every side of; around.
6. on or near (one's person): They lost all they had about them.
7. so as to be of use to: Keep your wits about you.
8. on the verge of (usu. fol. by an infinitive): about to leave.
9. here or there in or on: to wander about the castle.
10. engaged in or occupied with: while you're about it.
11. having as a central concern or purpose: That's not what life is all about.
12. near in time, number, degree, etc.; approximately: about five miles from here.
13. nearly; almost: Dinner is about ready.
14. nearby; not far off: He is somewhere about.
15. on every side; in every direction; around: to look about.
16. halfway around; in the opposite direction: to turn a car about.
17. here and there; in or to various places: to move furniture about; papers strewn about.
18. in rotation or succession; alternately: Turn about is fair play.
19. in circumference.
20. Naut.
a. onto a new tack.
b. onto a new course.
21. moving around; astir: She was up and about at dawn.
22. in existence; current; prevalent: The flu is about.
not about to, not intending or likely to.
[before 900; Middle English aboute(n), Old English abūtan, onbūtan on the outside of =a- a-1 + būtan outside (see but1)]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'about'

You use about when you mention what someone is saying, writing, or thinking.

Manuel told me about his new job.
I'll have to think about that.

You can say that a book is about a particular subject or that it is on that subject.

She is writing a book about politics.
I'm reading Anthony Daniels' book on Guatemala.

You can also use about to say what a novel or play deals with. Don't use 'on'.

This is a novel about ethics.
They read a story about growing up.
2. 'about to'

If you are about to do something, you are going to do it soon.

You are about to cross the River Jordan.
I was about to go home.

Be Careful!
Don't use an -ing form in sentences like these. Don't say, for example, 'You are about crossing the River Jordan'.

For more information, see around - round - about


1. talking about movement: 'around', 'round', and 'about' as prepositions or adverbs

When you are talking about movement in many different directions, you can use around, round, or about. You can use these words as adverbs.

It's so romantic up there, flying around in a small plane.
We wandered round for hours.
Police walk about patrolling the city.

You can also use these words as prepositions.

I've been walking around Moscow.
I spent a couple of hours driving round Richmond.
He looked about the room but couldn't see her.

Speakers of American English usually use around, rather than 'round' or 'about', in this sense.

2. talking about position: 'around' and 'round' as prepositions

When one thing is around or round another thing, it surrounds it or is on all sides of it. In this sense, these words are prepositions. You can't use 'about' in this sense.

She was wearing a scarf round her head.
He had a towel wrapped around his head.
The earth moves round the sun.
The satellite passed around the earth.

Speakers of American English usually use around, rather than 'round', in this sense.

3. being present or available: 'around' and 'about' as adverbs

When you are talking about something being generally present or available, you can use around or about, but not 'round', as adverbs.

There is a lot of talent around at the moment.
There are not that many jobs about.
4. 'around' and 'round' used in phrasal verbs

You can also use around or round as the second part of some phrasal verbs, including come (a)round, turn (a)round, look (a)round, and run (a)round.

Don't wait for April to come round before planning your vegetable garden.
When interview time came around, Rachel was nervous.
Imogen got round the problem in a clever way.
A problem has developed and I don't know how to get around it.
He turned round and faced the window.
The old lady turned around angrily.

American English uses only around in these cases.

5. 'around', 'about' and 'round about' meaning 'approximately'

In conversation, around, about and round about are sometimes used to mean 'approximately'.

He owns around 200 acres.
She's about twenty years old.
I've been here for round about ten years.

Be Careful!
Don't use 'round' like this. Don't say, for example, 'He owns round 200 acres.'

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.about - on the moveabout - on the move; "up and about"; "the whole town was astir over the incident"
active - characterized by energetic activity; "an active toddler"; "active as a gazelle"; "an active man is a man of action"
Adv.1.about - (of quantities) imprecise but fairly close to correctabout - (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"
2.about - all around or on all sidesabout - 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"
3.about - in the area or vicinityabout - in the area or vicinity; "a few spectators standing about"; "hanging around"; "waited around for the next flight"
4.about - 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"
5.about - in or to a reversed position or direction; "about face"; "suddenly she turned around"
6.about - in rotation or successionabout - in rotation or succession; "turn about is fair play"
7.about - (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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. regarding, on, re, concerning, touching, dealing with, respecting, referring to, relating to, concerned with, connected with, relative to, with respect to, as regards, anent (Scot.) She knew a lot about food.
2. around, over, through, round, throughout, all over For 18 years, he wandered about Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
3. round, around She threw her arms about him.
4. near, around, close to, bordering, nearby, beside, close by, adjacent to, just round the corner from, in the neighbourhood of, alongside of, contiguous to, within sniffing distance of (informal), at close quarters to, a hop, skip and a jump away from (informal) The restaurant is somewhere about here.
2. everywhere, around, all over, here and there, on all sides, in all directions, to and fro, from place to place, hither and thither The house isn't big enough with three children running about.
1. around, present, active, stirring, in motion, astir There were a lot of people about.
about to on the point of, ready to, intending to, on the verge or brink of I think he's about to leave.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. Near to in quantity or amount:
2. In or toward a former location or condition:
3. Toward the back:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
حَوَاليحَوالِي، تَقْرِيباًعَلَى، حَوْلعَنْعَن، عَلَى
kolemookolopoblížsem a tam
hátra arc!közel: a közelben
í eîa viî, nálægt, einhvers staîarsnú!til og frá, hér og òarumum òaî bil
...에 관하여대략
antapieaplinkaplink!būti ką bedarančiam
apapkārt!aptuvenigandrīzkaut kur šeit
yaklaşıkhakkındaorada buradaoraya buraya…-de/da


When about is an element in a phrasal verb, eg bring about, come about, turn about, wander about, look up the verb.
1. (= approximately) → más o menos, aproximadamente, alrededor de
about £20unas 20 libras, 20 libras más o menos
there were about 25 guestshabía unos 25 invitados, había como 25 invitados (esp LAm)
about seven years agohace unos siete años
at about two o'clocka eso de las dos, sobre las dos
it's about two o'clockson las dos, más o menos
he must be about 40tendrá alrededor de 40 años
that's about all I could findeso es más o menos todo lo que podía encontrar
that's about iteso es (, más o menos)
it's just about finishedestá casi terminado
that's about righteso es (, más o menos)
he's about the samesigue más o menos igual
it's about time you stoppedya es hora de que lo dejes
2. (place) is anyone about?¿hay alguien?
is Mr Brown about?¿está por aquí el Sr. Brown?
to be about again (after illness) → estar levantado
we were about earlynos levantamos temprano
all about (= everywhere) → por todas partes
there's a lot of measles abouthay mucho sarampión, está dando el sarampión
there isn't much money abouthay poco dinero, la gente tiene poco dinero
to run aboutcorrer por todas partes
he must be about somewheredebe de andar por aquí
there's a thief aboutpor aquí anda un ladrón
to walk aboutpasearse
3. to be about to do sthestar a punto de or (LAm) por hacer algo
nobody is about to sell itnadie tiene la más mínima intención de venderlo
I'm not about to do all that for nothingno pienso hacer todo eso gratis
1. (= relating to) → de, acerca de, sobre
a book about gardeningun libro de jardinería, un libro sobre la jardinería
I can tell you nothing about himno le puedo decir nada acerca de él
I'm phoning about tomorrow's meetingllamo por la reunión de mañana
they fell out about moneyriñeron por cuestión de dinero
about the other night, I didn't mean what I saidrespecto a la otra noche, no iba en serio cuando dije esas cosas
do something about it!¡haz algo!
there's nothing I can do about itno puedo hacer nada al respecto
how or what about this one?¿qué te parece éste?
he was chosen out of 200, how or what about that!entre 200 lo eligieron a él, ¡quién lo diria! or ¡fijate!
how or what about coming with us?¿por qué no vienes con nosotros?
how or what about a drink?¿vamos a tomar una copa?
how or what about a song?¿por qué no nos cantas algo?
how or what about it? (= what do you say?) → ¿qué te parece?; (= what of it?) → ¿y qué?
how or what about me?y yo, ¿qué?
what's that book about?¿de qué trata ese libro?
what did she talk about?¿de qué habló?
what's all this noise about?¿a qué se debe todo este ruido?
"I want to talk to you" - "what about?"-quiero hablar contigo -¿acerca de qué?
2. (= particular to) there's something about him (that I like)tiene un no sé qué (que me gusta)
there's something about a soldierlos soldados tienen un no sé qué
he had a mysterious air about himtenía un cierto aire misterioso
there's something odd about itaquí hay algo raro
3. (= doing)
while you're about it can you get me a beer?ya que estás en ello ¿me traes una cerveza?
and while I'm about it I'll talk to your fathery de paso hablaré con tu padre
you've been a long time about ithas tardado bastante en hacerlo
see also go about
4. (= intending) I can't imagine what he was about when he did thatno entiendo lo que pretendía con eso
5. (= around) to do jobs about the house (= repairs) → hacer arreglos en la casa
I had no money about meno llevaba dinero encima
he looked about himmiró a su alrededor
somewhere about herepor aquí cerca
to wander about the towndeambular por la ciudad
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


(= approximately) → environ, à peu près
It takes about 10 hours → Ça prend environ 10 heures., Ça prend à peu près 10 heures.
about a hundred
How many? - about a hundred → Combien? - environ cent., Combien? - environ une centaine.
about a hundred people → environ cent personnes, environ une centaine de personnes
at about 2 o'clock → vers 2 heures
to have just about done sth
I've just about finished → J'ai presque fini.
see also just
(referring to place)çà et là, de-ci de-là
to run about → courir çà et là
to walk about → se promener, aller et venir
is Paul about? (British)est-ce que Paul est là?
it's about here → c'est par ici, c'est dans les parages
to be out and about (after illness)être de nouveau sur pied
I'm glad he's out and about again → Je suis content qu'il soit de nouveau sur pied.; (visiting lots of places)
He's always out and about these days → En ce moment, il est toujours par monts et par vaux.
to be about to do sth → être sur le point de faire qch
I was about to go out → J'étais sur le point de sortir.
I'm not about to do all that for nothing
BUT Je ne vais quand même pas faire tout ça pour rien.
it's the other way about (British)c'est l'inverse
(= relating to) → au sujet de, à propos de
I'm phoning you about tomorrow's meeting → Je vous appelle à propos de la réunion de demain.
a book about London → un livre sur Londres
what is it about? → de quoi s'agit-il?
to talk about something → parler de quelque chose
We talked about it → Nous en avons parlé.
do something about it! → faites quelque chose!
what about doing this?, how about doing this? → et si nous faisions ceci?
How about going to the cinema? → Et si nous allions au cinéma?
(referring to place)dans
to walk about the town → se promener dans la villeabout-face [əˌbaʊtˈfeɪs] about-turn [əˌbaʊtˈtɜːn] (British) n
(= U-turn, volte-face) → volte-face f
to do an about-face → faire volte-face
(MILITARY)demi-tour m
to do an about-face → faire un demi-tour
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(esp Brit) → herum, umher; (= present)in der Nähe; to run/walk aboutherum- or umherrennen/-gehen; I looked (all) aboutich sah ringsumher; to leave things (lying) aboutSachen herumliegen lassen; to be (up and) about againwieder auf den Beinen sein; we were about earlywir waren früh auf den Beinen; there’s a thief aboutein Dieb geht um; there’s plenty of money aboutes ist Geld in Mengen vorhanden; there was nobody about who could helpes war niemand in der Nähe, der hätte helfen können; at night when there’s nobody aboutnachts, wenn niemand unterwegs ist; where is he/it? — he’s/it’s about somewherewo ist er/es? — (er/es ist) irgendwo in der Nähe; it’s the other way aboutes ist gerade umgekehrt; day and day about(täglich) abwechselnd ? out, turn, up
to be about toim Begriff sein zu; (esp US inf: = intending) → vorhaben, zu …; I was about to go outich wollte gerade ausgehen; it’s about to raines regnet gleich or demnächst; he’s about to start schooler kommt demnächst in die Schule; we are about to run out of coffeeuns geht demnächst der Kaffee aus, wir haben bald keinen Kaffee mehr; are you about to tell me …?willst du mir etwa erzählen …?
(= approximately)ungefähr, (so) um … (herum); he’s about 40er ist ungefähr 40 or (so) um (die) 40 (herum); about 2 o’clockungefähr or so um 2 Uhr; he is about the same, doctorsein Zustand hat sich kaum geändert, Herr Doktor; that’s about itdas ist so ziemlich alles, das wärs (so ziemlich) (inf); that’s about rightdas stimmt (so) ungefähr; I’ve had about enough (of this nonsense)jetzt reicht es mir aber allmählich (mit diesem Unsinn) (inf); he was about dead from exhaustioner war halb tot vor Erschöpfung ? just, round, time
(esp Brit) → um (… herum); (= in)in (+dat)(… herum); the fields about the housedie Felder ums Haus (herum); scattered about the roomim ganzen or über das ganze Zimmer verstreut; somewhere about hereirgendwo hierherum; all about the houseim ganzen Haus (herum); to sit about the houseim Haus herumsitzen; to do jobs about the housesich im Haus (herum) nützlich machen; he looked about himer schaute sich um; there’s something about him/about the way he speakser/seine Art zu reden hat so etwas an sich; while you’re about itwenn du gerade or schon dabei bist; you’ve been a long time about itdu hast lange dazu gebraucht; and be quick about it!und beeil dich damit!, aber ein bisschen dalli! (inf)
(= concerning)über (+acc); tell me all about iterzähl doch mal; he knows about iter weiß darüber Bescheid, er weiß davon; what’s it all about?worum or um was (inf)handelt es sich or geht es (eigentlich)?; he knows what it’s all abouter weiß Bescheid; he’s promised to do something about iter hat versprochen, (in der Sache) etwas zu unternehmen; they fell out about moneysie haben sich wegen Geld zerstritten; how or what about me?und ich, was ist mit mir? (inf); how or what about it/going to the cinema?wie wärs damit/mit (dem) Kino?; what about that book? have you brought it back?was ist mit dem Buch? hast du es zurückgebracht?; (yes,) what about it/him?ja or na und(, was ist damit/mit ihm)?; he doesn’t know what he’s abouter weiß nicht, was er (eigentlich) tut
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


(əˈbaut) preposition
on the subject of. We talked about our plans; What's the book about?
preposition, adverb
1. (sometimes round about) near (in place, time, size etc). about five miles away; (round) about six o'clock; just about big enough.
2. in different directions; here and there. The children ran about (the garden).
3. in or on some part (of a place etc). You'll find him somewhere about (the office).
4. around or surrounding. She wore a coat about her shoulders; He lay with his clothes scattered about.
(in military commands etc) in the opposite direction. About turn!
be about to
to be going to (perform an action). I am about to leave the office.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


حَوَالي, عَنْ kolem, o om, omkring über, ungefähr περί, περίπου acerca de, más o menos suunnilleen à propos de, autour de o, oko circa, su ・・・について, およそ ...에 관하여, 대략 ongeveer, over om, omkring mniej więcej, o aproximadamente, sobre о, около om, omkring เกี่ยวกับ, ใกล้ hakkında, yaklaşık khoảng, về 关于
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


prep. cerca de; junto a; alrededor de; a eso de, sobre;
it is ___ a block from hereestá cerca de una cuadra de aquí;
to speak ___hablar de;
adv. [time];
it is ___ one thirtyes alrededor de la una y media.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009