be about

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be about

1. To be focused on a particular thing or subject. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "be" and "about." What's his new book about? The title sounds pretty vague.
2. To be in a particular place or area. Is Ray still about? I have a question for him.
3. To be ready to do something. Oh, I was just about to put the roast in the oven when the doorbell rang—that's why dinner isn't ready yet.
4. To be inclined to do something. In this usage, the phrase is usually used in the negative. I'm not about to tell my boss how to do her job—I'd like to keep my own job, thank you very much!

be about

v.
1. To be present and active in a place or region: Are there any bees about? I'd like to take a walk in the woods, and I hope there are no bears about.
2. To be actively engaged in something, especially a regular activity: I was about my usual shopping that morning when a mysterious aircraft appeared in the sky.
3. To be at the point of doing something. Used with the infinitive: That book is about to fall off the shelf. I was just about to leave when they told me to stop.
4. To be willing or prepared to do something. Used negatively: I'm not about to tell anyone the secret and ruin the surprise!
References in classic literature ?
And now, O men who have condemned me, I would fain prophesy to you; for I am about to die, and in the hour of death men are gifted with prophetic power.
I am practically industrious-- painstaking, a workman to execute with perseverance and labour-- but besides this there is a love for the marvellous, a belief in the marvellous, intertwined in all my projects, which hurries me out of the common pathways of men, even to the wild sea and unvisited regions I am about to explore.
The questions which I am about to ask you you can answer or not, according to your own apprehensions of what is due to each."
However, I try really hard to clear my mind every time I sit in front of a piano and concentrate on the music that I am about to practice.