Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “about”

See all translations

about

preposition uk   /əˈbaʊt/ us  

about preposition (CONNECTED WITH)

A1 on the subject of, or connected with: What's that book about? a film about the Spanish Civil War We were talking/laughing about Sophie. He's always (going) on about what a great job he's got. I'm worried about David. I really don't know what all the fuss is about. I wish you'd do something about (= take action to solve the problem of) your bedroom - it's a real mess. UK informal Could you make me a coffee too while you're about it (= while you are making one for yourself)? What didn't you like about the play? There's something about her attitude that worries me. There's something special about him (= in his character). "Is that your car?" "Yes, what about it?" (= Why are you asking me?)
More examples

about preposition (NO ORDER)

mainly UK ( US usually around) positioned around a place, often without a clear purpose or order: Their belongings were flung about the room.

about preposition (POSITION)

UK formal in a particular place: Do you have such a thing as a pen about you/your person? (= Do you have a pen?)

about

adverb uk   /əˈbaʊt/ us  

about adverb (APPROXIMATELY)

A1 a little more or less than the stated number or amount: about six feet tall about two months ago "What time are you leaving work today?" "About five."
More examples

about adverb (ALMOST)

almost: We're about ready to leave. Well, I think that's about it for now (= we have almost finished what we are doing for the present).

about adverb (ALL DIRECTIONS)

B2 mainly UK ( US usually around) in many different directions: They heard someone moving about outside. I've been running about all morning trying to find you.

about adverb (NO ORDER)

B2 mainly UK ( US usually around) positioned around a place, often without a clear purpose or order: She always leaves her clothes lying about on the floor.

about adverb (PLACE)

mainly UK ( US usually around) in or near a place: Is John about (= somewhere near)? There's a lot of flu about (= many people have it) at the moment.

about

adjective uk   /əˈbaʊt/ us  

about adjective (INTENDING)

be about to do sth
More examples
B1 to be going to do something very soon: I was about to leave when Mark arrived. She looked as if she was about to cry.
(Definition of about from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of about?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “about” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

hard luck story

a story or piece of information that someone tells you or writes about himself or herself, intended to make you feel feel sympathy for that person

Word of the Day

A certain je ne sais quoi: French words and phrases used in English

by Liz Walter,
January 21, 2015
It is an odd irony that the more sophisticated your use of English is, the more likely you are to use French words and phrases. Or, to be more accurate, ones you know to be French – words such as ballet, au pair, abattoir, fiancé, café, and restaurant are so entrenched in

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More