Definitions

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

  • adverb On all sides.
  • adverb In close to all sides from all directions.
  • adverb In a circle or with a circular motion.
  • adverb In circumference or perimeter.
  • adverb In succession or rotation.
  • adverb In or toward the opposite direction or position.
  • adverb To or among various places; here and there.
  • adverb To a specific place.
  • adverb In or near one's current location.
  • adverb From the beginning to the end.
  • adverb Approximately; about.
  • preposition On all sides of.
  • preposition In such a position as to encircle or surround.
  • preposition Here and there within; throughout.
  • preposition In the immediate vicinity of; near.
  • preposition On or to the farther side of.
  • preposition So as to pass, bypass, or avoid.
  • preposition Approximately at.
  • preposition In such a way as to have a basis or center in.
  • adjective Being in existence.
  • adjective Being in evidence; present.
  • idiom (been around) Had many and varied experiences; been experienced in the ways of the world.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In a circle or sphere; round about; on every side: as, a dense mist lay around.
  • From place to place; here and there; about: as, to travel around from city to city. [U. S.]
  • About; near: as, he waited around till the fight was over. [U. S.]
  • About; on all sides; encircling; encompassing.
  • From place to place; at random: as, to roam around the country. [U. S.]

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

  • adverb In a circle; circularly; on every side; round.
  • adverb In a circuit; here and there within the surrounding space; all about.
  • adverb Colloq. U. S. Near; in the neighborhood.
  • preposition On all sides of; encircling; encompassing; so as to make the circuit of; about.
  • preposition Colloq. U. S. From one part to another of; at random through; about; on another side of

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • preposition Defining a circle or closed curve containing a thing.
  • preposition Following the perimeter of a specified area and returning to the starting point.
  • preposition Following a path which curves near an object, with the object on the inside of the curve
  • preposition time Near; in the vicinity of.
  • preposition At various places in.
  • adjective informal Alive; existing.
  • adverb Generally.
  • adverb From place to place, or from one place to another
  • adverb etc. Partially or completely rotated, including to face in the opposite direction.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adverb in circumference
  • adverb used of movement to or among many different places or in no particular direction
  • adverb to a particular destination either specified or understood
  • adverb (of quantities) imprecise but fairly close to correct
  • adverb all around or on all sides
  • adverb in a circle or circular motion

Etymologies

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

[Middle English : probably a-, in; see a– + round, circle; see round.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English around, arounde, from a- (from Old English a- ("on, at")) + Middle English round ("circle, round"), equivalent to a- +‎ round. Cognate with Scots aroond, aroon ("around"). Displaced earlier Middle English umbe, embe ("around") (from Old English ymbe ("around")). See umbe.

Examples

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