a|bout1 W1S1 [əˈbaut] prep
1.) concerning or relating to a particular subject
a book about politics
She said something about leaving town.
He lied about his age.
About that car of yours. How much are you selling it for?
What's he on about (=talking about) ?
It's about Tommy, doctor. He's been sick again.
Naturally, my mother wanted to know all about it (=all the details relating to it) .
2.) used to show why someone is angry, happy, upset etc
I'm really worried about Jack.
She's upset about missing the party.
3.) in many different directions within a particular place, or in different parts of a place
= ↑around, round ↑round
We spent the whole afternoon walking about town.
Books were scattered about the room.
4.) in the nature or character of a person or thing
There's something really strange about Liza.
What I like about the job is that it's never boring.
5.) what/how about sb/sth
a) used to ask a question that directs attention to another person or thing
What about Jack? We can't just leave him here.
I'm feeling hungry. How about you?
b) used to make a suggestion
How about a salad for lunch?
6.) do sth about sth
to do something to solve a problem or stop a bad situation
If we don't do something about it, the problem is going to get worse.
What can be done about the rising levels of pollution?
7.) if an organization, a job, an activity etc is about something, that is its basic purpose
Leadership is all about getting your team to co-operate.
8.) while you're about it
spoken used to tell someone to do something while they are doing something else because it would be easier to do both things at the same time
Go and see what's the matter, and while you're about it you can fetch me my sweater.
9.) what was all that about?
spoken used to ask the reason for something that has just happened, especially someone's angry behaviour
10.) literary surrounding a person or thing
Jo sensed fear and jealousy all about her.
be quick about it atquick1 (5), go about your business atbusiness
about 2
about2 W1S1 adv
[: Old English; Origin: abutan, from a- 'on' + butan 'outside']
1.) also round about spoken
a little more or less than a particular number, amount, or size
= ↑roughly
I live about 10 miles away.
a tiny computer about as big as a postcard
We left the restaurant at round about 10.30.
2.) BrE in many different directions within a place or in different parts of a place
= ↑around
People were rushing about, trying to find the driver.
Cushions were scattered about on the chairs.
3.) near to you or in the same place as you
Is Derrick about? There's a phone call for him.
Quick! Let's go while there's no-one about.
4.) BrE spoken existing or available now
I hope she hasn't caught flu. There's a lot of it about .
She might get temporary work, but there's not much about.
5.) informal almost or probably
I was about ready to leave when somebody rang the doorbell.
'Have you finished?' ' Just about .'
It's just about the worst mistake anyone could make.
6.) that's about it/all
a) used to tell someone that you have told them everything you know
He was a quiet chap, married with kids. That's about it, really.
b) used to say that there is nothing else available
There's some cheese in the fridge and that's about it.
7.) so as to face in the opposite direction
He quickly turned about and walked away.
about 3
about3 adj
1.) be about to do sth
if someone is about to do something, or if something is about to happen, they will do it or it will happen very soon
We were just about to leave when Jerry arrived.
Work was about to start on a new factory building.
2.) not be about to do sth informal
used to emphasize that you have no intention of doing something
I've never smoked in my life and I'm not about to start now.
out and about atout1 (3), be up and about atup1 (11)

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

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