from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adverb Approximately; nearly.
  • adverb Almost.
  • adverb To a reversed position or direction.
  • adverb In no particular direction.
  • adverb All around; on every side.
  • adverb In the area or vicinity; near.
  • adverb In succession; one after another.
  • adverb On the verge of doing something; presently going to do something. Used with the infinitive.
  • adverb Usage Problem Used to show determination or intention in negative constructions with an infinitive.
  • preposition On all sides of; surrounding.
  • preposition In the vicinity of; around.
  • preposition Almost the same as; close to; near.
  • preposition In reference to; relating to; concerned with.
  • preposition In the act or process of.
  • preposition In the possession or innate character of.
  • adjective Moving here and there; astir.
  • adjective Being in evidence or existence.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Around; in circuit; circularly; round and round; on every side; in every direction; all around.
  • Circuitously; in a roundabout course.
  • Hither and thither; to and fro; up and down; here and there.
  • Near in time, number, quantity, quality, or degree; nearly; approximately; almost.
  • [In contracts made on the New York Stock Exchange, the term about means “not more than three days” when applied to time, and “not more than 10 per cent.” when used with reference to a number of shares.]
  • In readiness; intending; going: after the verb to be.
  • At work; astir; begin in earnest: used with the force of an imperative.
  • Nautical, to take a different direction, as a vessel in tacking.
  • On the outside or outer surface of; surrounding; around; all around.
  • Near to in place; close to; at: as, about the door. See the adv., 4.
  • Over or upon different parts; here and there; backward and forward; in various directions.
  • Near or on one's person; with; at hand.
  • In relation to; respecting; in regard to; on account of.
  • Concerned in; engaged in: as, what is he about?

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • preposition Around; all round; on every side of.
  • preposition In the immediate neighborhood of; in contiguity or proximity to; near, as to place; by or on (one's person).
  • preposition Over or upon different parts of; through or over in various directions; here and there in; to and fro in; throughout.
  • preposition Near; not far from; -- determining approximately time, size, quantity.
  • preposition In concern with; engaged in; intent on.
  • preposition On the point or verge of; going; in act of.
  • preposition Concerning; with regard to; on account of; touching.
  • adverb On all sides; around.
  • adverb In circuit; circularly; by a circuitous way; around the outside.
  • adverb Here and there; around; in one place and another.
  • adverb Nearly; approximately; with close correspondence, in quality, manner, degree, etc.; ; -- also of quantity, number, time.
  • adverb To a reserved position; half round; in the opposite direction; on the opposite tack
  • adverb to cause to take place; to accomplish.
  • adverb to occur; to take place. See under Come.
  • adverb to undertake; to arrange; to prepare.
  • adverb in every direction around.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English onbūtan : on, in; see on + būtan, outside; see ud- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English about (adverb).


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  • Tag aarrgghhness!

    August 13, 2009

  • Holy Tagging Madness, Batman.

    August 13, 2009

  • We're under attag!

    August 13, 2009

  • All right. Who's the spammer?!

    *prepares the panzer division of dachshunds*

    August 13, 2009

  • I think we have already punished him/her.

    August 13, 2009

  • Cf. admire. It's erich13.

    August 13, 2009

  • Oh.

    *calms barking dachshunds by tossing non-chocolate fufluns*

    August 13, 2009

  • Whew. Returns to porch with lemonade and Ritz crackers.

    August 14, 2009

  • Dang. I missed it all.

    August 14, 2009

  • What the hell was that all about?

    November 25, 2013

  • trying to pick a fight? a+bout?

    November 25, 2013