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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!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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!
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.