Main entry: about Pronunciation: \ə-ˈbau̇t\ Function: adverb Etymology: Middle English, from Old English abūtan, from 1a- + būtan outside — more at but Date: before 12th century

    1. reasonably close to [about a year ago]
    2. almost [about starved]
    3. on the verge of —usually used with be and a following infinitive [is about to join the army] —used with a negative to express intention or determination [not about to quit]
  1. on all sides : around
  2. a: in rotation b: around the outside
  3. here and there
  4. in the vicinity : near
  5. in the opposite direction [face about] [the other way about]

(thanks to Merriam-Webster)