Hypertext Webster Gateway: "about"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

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}.]
1. Around; all round; on every side of. ``Look about you.''
--Shak. ``Bind them about thy neck.'' --Prov. iii. 3.

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.

3. Over or upon different parts of; through or over in
various directions; here and there in; to and fro in;

Lampoons . . . were handed about the coffeehouses.

Roving still about the world. --Milton.

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

He went out about the third hour. --Matt. xx. 3.

Note: This use passes into the adverbial sense.

5. In concern with; engaged in; intent on.

I must be about my Father's business. --Luke ii. 49.

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

Paul was now aboutto open his mouth. --Acts xviii.

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

She must have her way about Sarah. --Trollope.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

About \A*bout"\, adv.
1. On all sides; around.

'Tis time to look about. --Shak.

2. In circuit; circularly; by a circuitous way; around the
outside; as, a mile about, and a third of a mile across.

3. Here and there; around; in one place and another.

Wandering about from house to house. --1 Tim. v.

4. Nearly; approximately; with close correspondence, in
quality, manner, degree, etc.; as, about as cold; about as
high; -- also of quantity, number, time. ``There fell . .
. about three thousand men.'' --Exod. xxii. 28.

5. To a reserved position; half round; in the opposite
direction; on the opposite tack; as, to face about; to
turn one's self about.

{To bring about}, to cause to take place; to accomplish.

{To come about}, to occur; to take place. See under {Come}.

{To go about}, {To set about}, to undertake; to arrange; to
prepare. ``Shall we set about some revels?'' --Shak.

{Round about}, in every direction around.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

adj : on the move; "up and about"; "the whole town was astir over
the incident" [syn: {about(p)}, {astir(p)}]
adv 1: (of quantities) imprecise but fairly close to correct;
"lasted approximately an hour"; "in just about a
minute"; "he's about 30 years old"; "I've had about
all I can stand"; "we meet about once a month"; "some
forty people came"; "weighs around a hundred pounds";
"roughly $3,000"; "holds 3 gallons, more or less"; "20
or so people were at the party" [syn: {approximately},
{close to}, {just about}, {some}, {roughly}, {more or
less}, {around}, {or so}]
2: all around or on all sides; "dirty clothes lying around (or
about)"; "let's look about for help"; "There were trees
growing all around"; "she looked around her" [syn: {around}]
3: in the area or vicinity; "a few spectators standing about";
"hanging around"; "waited around for the next flight"
[syn: {around}]
4: to or among many different places or in no particular
direction; "wandering about with no place to go"; "people
were rushing about"; "news gets around (or about)";
"traveled around in Asia"; "he needs advice from someone
who's been around"; "she sleeps around" [syn: {around}]
5: in or to a reversed position or direction; "about face";
"brought the ship about"; "suddenly she turned around"
[syn: {around}]
6: in rotation or succession; "turn about is fair play"
7: (of actions or states) slightly short of or not quite
accomplished; "the job is (just) about done"; "the baby
was almost asleep when the alarm sounded"; "we're almost
finished"; "the car all but ran her down"; "he nearly
fainted"; "talked for nigh onto 2 hours"; "the recording
is well-nigh perfect"; "virtually all the parties signed
the contract"; (`near' is used informally for `nearly' as
in "I was near exhausted by the run"; `most' is used
informally for `almost' as in "most everybody agrees")
[syn: {just about}, {almost}, {most}, {all but}, {nearly},
{near}, {nigh}, {virtually}, {well-nigh}]

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