about Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “about” in the English Dictionary

"about" in British English

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aboutpreposition

uk   us   /əˈbaʊt/
  • 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 ​greatjob 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)yourbedroom - it's a ​realmess.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 somethingspecial about him (= in his ​character). "Is that ​yourcar?" "Yes, what about it?" (= Why are you ​asking me?)

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  • about preposition (NO ORDER)

mainly UK (US usually around) positioned around a ​place, often without a ​clearpurpose or ​order: Their ​belongings were ​flung about the ​room.
  • about preposition (POSITION)

UK formal in a ​particularplace: Do you have such a thing as a ​pen about you/​yourperson? (= Do you have a ​pen?)

aboutadverb

uk   us   /əˈbaʊt/
  • about adverb (APPROXIMATELY)

A1 a little more or less than the ​statednumber or ​amount: about six ​feettall about two ​months ago "What ​time are you ​leavingwork today?" "About five."

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  • about adverb (ALMOST)

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

aboutadjective

uk   us   /əˈbaʊt/
(Definition of about from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"about" in American English

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aboutpreposition

 us   /əˈbɑʊt/
  • about preposition (CONNECTED WITH)

on the ​subject of; ​connected with: "What’s that ​book about?" "It’s about the Civil War." I don’t ​know what all the ​fuss is about. There’s something about her ​attitude that ​worries me.

aboutadverb [not gradable]

 us   /əˈbɑʊt/
a little more or less than a ​specificnumber; ​approximately: He’s about six ​feettall. It ​happened about two ​months ago. I’ve had just about enough of ​yourcomplaining (= I do not ​want to ​hear any more).

aboutadjective [+ to infinitive; not gradable]

 us   /əˈbɑʊt/
almostready to do something, or ​intending to do something ​soon: He ​looked as if he was about to ​burst into ​tears. I’m not about to ​apologize to him.

aboutpreposition, adjective, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /əˈbɑʊt/ (also around)
positioned or ​moving in or near a ​place: Reporters ​stood about, ​waiting for more ​news.
(Definition of about from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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