Definition of “about” - English Dictionary

“about” in British English

See all translations

aboutpreposition

uk /əˈbaʊt/ 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 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

  • He is always talking about how clever his children are.
  • I wish you'd stop making jokes about my friends.
  • Lots of people have complained about the noise.
  • The film was about creatures from outer space.
  • I was very nervous about driving again after the accident.
  • Stop jumping about, Billy, and just stand still for a moment!

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?)

aboutadverb

uk /əˈbaʊt/ us /əˈbaʊt/

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

  • The town is about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
  • Fry the onion and garlic for about two minutes.
  • The average temperature worldwide has risen by about one degree Fahrenheit in the past 100 years.
  • "We'll be at your house at about nine o'clock, okay?"
  • We sent out the wedding invitations about three weeks ago.

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).

aboutadjective

uk /əˈbaʊt/ us /əˈbaʊt/

(Definition of “about” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“about” in American English

See all translations

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/

about adverb [ not gradable ] (APPROXIMATELY)

a little more or less than a specific number; approximately:

He’s about six feet tall.
It happened about two months ago.
I’ve had just about enough of your complaining (= I do not want to hear any more).

aboutadjective [ + to infinitive; not gradable ]

us /əˈbɑʊt/

about adjective [ + to infinitive; not gradable ] (INTENDING)

almost ready 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

about preposition, adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (IN THIS PLACE)

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)