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about (adv., prep.)

中古英语 aboute ,源于古英语 abutan (adv.,prep.),更早的 onbutan "在外面的;在周围的,包围的;在附近的,近的;左右的,从一个地方到另一个地方的",也是"有旋转或旋转运动的",在古英语后期"在时间、数量、程度等方面近似;"是 on (见 on ;也见 a- (1))的复合或收缩。+ be "由"(见 by )+ utan "外面",来自 ut (见 out (adv. ))。

到14世纪,它已经发展了"周围,在一个循环的过程中,圆和圆;在每一个侧面,以便包围;在每一个方向;"也"从事"( Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? )的意义,并逐渐它迫使旧英语 ymbeymbutan (从PIE根 *ambhi- "周围")的意义"周围,在附近的"。

从13世纪中叶起作"在事,在与"。从14世纪初作"在局部旋转,以便朝向不同的方向"。14世纪末为"近在咫尺,就在身边""在迂回的路线上",因此为"在移动中"(13世纪末),在中古英语中为"即将做,忙于准备",因此在 (to be) about to "在准备,打算"中用作将来分词。 Abouts (14世纪末),带副词属词,仍见于 hereabouts ,等,可能是北方方言形式。

bring about "导致或影响"并 come about "发生"是14世纪末的 About face 作为一个军事命令(简称 right about face )最早见于1861年,美国英语。

Origin and meaning of about

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Definitions of about from WordNet
1
about (adv.)
(of quantities) imprecise but fairly close to correct;
in just about a minute
he's about 30 years old
I've had about all I can stand
we meet about once a month
Synonyms: approximately / close to / just about / some / roughly / more or less / around / or so
about (adv.)
all around or on all sides;
let's look about for help
dirty clothes lying around (or about)
Synonyms: around
about (adv.)
in the area or vicinity;
a few spectators standing about
Synonyms: around
about (adv.)
used of movement to or among many different places or in no particular direction;
people were rushing about
news gets around (or about)
wandering about with no place to go
Synonyms: around
about (adv.)
in or to a reversed position or direction;
about face
Synonyms: around
about (adv.)
in rotation or succession;
turn about is fair play
about (adv.)
(of actions or states) slightly short of or not quite accomplished; all but;
the job is (just) about done
Synonyms: almost / most / nearly / near / nigh / virtually / well-nigh
2
about (adj.)
on the move;
up and about
Synonyms: astir
From wordnet.princeton.edu