Definition of about preposition from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//əˈbaʊt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈbaʊt//
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  1. 1  on the subject of somebody/something; in connection with somebody/something a book about flowers Tell me all about it. What's she so angry about? There's something strange about him. I don't know what you're on about (= talking about). There's nothing you can do about it now. Language BankaboutSaying what a text is about The book is about homeless people in the cities. The report deals with the issue of homelessness in London. The writer discusses the problems faced by homeless people. The article presents an overview of the issues surrounding homelessness. The novel explores the theme of friendship among homeless people. The first chapter examines the relationship between homelessness and drug addiction. The paper considers the question of why so many young people become homeless.
  2. 2  used to describe the purpose or an aspect of something Movies are all about making money these days. What was all that about? (= what was the reason for what has just happened?)
  3. 3  busy with something; doing something Everywhere people were going about their daily business. And while you’re about it(= while you’re doing that)
  4. 4(especially British English) in many directions in a place; here and there We wandered about the town for an hour or so. He looked about the room.
  5. 5(especially British English) in various parts of a place; here and there The papers were strewn about the room.
  6. 6(especially British English) next to a place or person; in the area mentioned She's somewhere about the office.
  7. 7(literary) surrounding somebody/something She wore a shawl about her shoulders.
  8. Word OriginOld English onbūtan, from on ‘in, on’ + būtan ‘outside of’ .Idioms
    1. 1  used when asking for information about somebody/something How about Ruth? Have you heard from her? I'm having fish. What about you?
    2. 2  used to make a suggestion How about going for a walk? (especially North American English) How about we go for a walk? What about a break?
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: about