About A*bout", prep. [OE. aboute, abouten, abuten; AS. [=a]butan, onbutan; on + butan, which is from be by + utan outward, from ut out. See {But}, {Out}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Around; all round; on every side of. ``Look about you.'' --Shak. ``Bind them about thy neck.'' --Prov. iii. 3. [1913 Webster]

2. In the immediate neighborhood of; in contiguity or proximity to; near, as to place; by or on (one's person). ``Have you much money about you?'' --Bulwer. [1913 Webster]

3. Over or upon different parts of; through or over in various directions; here and there in; to and fro in; throughout. [1913 Webster]

Lampoons . . . were handed about the coffeehouses. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

Roving still about the world. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

4. Near; not far from; -- determining approximately time, size, quantity. ``To-morrow, about this time.'' --Exod. ix. 18. ``About my stature.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

He went out about the third hour. --Matt. xx. 3. [1913 Webster]

Note: This use passes into the adverbial sense. [1913 Webster]

5. In concern with; engaged in; intent on. [1913 Webster]

I must be about my Father's business. --Luke ii. 49. [1913 Webster]

6. Before a verbal noun or an infinitive: On the point or verge of; going; in act of. [1913 Webster]

Paul was now aboutto open his mouth. --Acts xviii. 14. [1913 Webster]

7. Concerning; with regard to; on account of; touching. ``To treat about thy ransom.'' --Milton. [1913 Webster]

She must have her way about Sarah. --Trollope. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • about — I. adverb Etymology: Middle English, from Old English abūtan, from 1a + būtan outside more at but Date: before 12th century 1. a. reasonably close to < about a year ago > b. almost < about starved > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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