about

[ uh-bout ]
/ əˈbaʊt /

preposition

adverb

adjective

moving around; astir: He was up and about while the rest of us still slept.
in existence; current; prevalent: Chicken pox is about.

Origin of about

before 900; Middle English aboute(n), Old English abūtan, onbūtan on the outside of (a- a-1 + būtan outside (see but1, but2), equivalent to b(e) by1 + ūtan), cognate with Gothic utana, Old Norse, Old Saxon ūtan, Old Frisian ūta, Old High German ūzan(a) outside; see out; cf. above, abaft for formation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for about

about

/ (əˈbaʊt) /

preposition

adverb

adjective

(predicative) active; astir after sleepup and about
(predicative) in existence, current, or in circulationthere aren't many about nowadays

Word Origin for about

Old English abūtan, onbūtan on the outside of, around, from on + būtan outside
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for about

about


adv.

Old English abutan, earlier onbutan "on the outside of," from on (see on) + be "by" (see by) + utan "outside," from ut (see out (adv.)). By 13c. it had forced out Old English ymbe, ymbutan for meaning "in the neighborhood of." Abouts, with adverbial genitive, still found in hereabouts, etc., probably is a northern dialectal form. About face as a military command (short for right about face) is first attested 1861, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with about

about


In addition to the idioms beginning with about

  • about time
  • about to

also see:

  • at about
  • beat about the bush
  • bring about
  • cast about
  • come about
  • do an about-face
  • get about
  • go about (one's business)
  • how about (that)
  • just about
  • knock about
  • lay about
  • man about town
  • nose about (around)
  • no two ways about it
  • order someone about
  • out and about
  • see about
  • send someone about someone's business
  • set about
  • that's about the size of it
  • up and about
  • what about someone (something)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.