/euh bowt"/, prep.
1. of; concerning; in regard to: instructions about the work; a book about the Civil War.
2. connected or associated with: There was an air of mystery about him.
3. near; close to: a man about my height; about six o'clock.
4. in or somewhere near: He is about the house.
5. on every side of; around: the railing about the excavation.
6. on or near (one's person): They lost all they had about them.
7. so as to be of use to: Keep your wits about you.
8. on the verge or point of (usually fol. by an infinitive): about to leave.
9. here or there; in or on: to wander about the old castle.
10. concerned with; engaged in doing: Tell me what it's about. Bring me the other book while you're about it.
11. near in time, number, degree, etc.; approximately: It's about five miles from here.
12. nearly; almost: Dinner is about ready.
13. nearby; not far off: He is somewhere about.
14. on every side; in every direction; around: Look about and see if you can find it.
15. halfway around; in the opposite direction: to turn a car about.
16. from one place to another; in this place or that: to move furniture about; important papers strewn about.
17. in rotation or succession; alternately: Turn about is fair play.
18. in circumference: a wheel two inches about.
19. Naut.
a. onto a new tack.
b. onto a new course.
20. moving around; astir: He was up and about while the rest of us still slept.
21. in existence; current; prevalent: Chicken pox is about.
[bef. 900; ME aboute(n), OE abutan, onbutan on the outside of (a- A-1 + butan outside (see BUT1, BUT2), equiv. to b(e) BY + utan), c. Goth utana, ON, OS utan, OFris uta, OHG uzan(a) outside; see OUT; cf. ABOVE, ABAFT for formation]

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Universalium. 2010.