List of idioms with the word “About” and the meanings. Commonly used idioms related to “about” and their meanings along with example sentences.
Idioms With “About”
- “To be about something” – This means to be concerned with or relate to something. Example: “His speech was about the importance of preserving the environment.”
- “To know something inside out” – This means to know something extremely well and in detail. Example: “She knew the city inside out and could navigate it with ease.”
- “To be about to do something” – This means to be on the verge of doing something. Example: “She was about to leave when she received an urgent call.”
- “To go about something” – This means to undertake or start to do something. Example: “He was unsure how to go about solving the problem, so he sought advice from a friend.”
- “To talk about someone/something behind their back” – This means to discuss someone or something in a negative or critical way when they are not present. Example: “She felt hurt when she found out her friends had been talking about her behind her back.”
- “To be all about something” – This means to be completely focused or dedicated to something. Example: “She was all about her work and dedicated long hours to it.”
- “To make something about oneself” – This means to make an issue or situation about oneself, rather than the main focus. Example: “She tended to make everything about herself and wasn’t considerate of others’ feelings.”
beat about / around the bush
to speak or write evasively; to talk around an issue
1. Judy couldn’t come right out and tell her fiancé that she no longer wanted to marry him. She had to beat around the bush until he understood.
2. If you disagree with my opinion, just tell me. Don’t beat around the bush.
Antonym: get to the point
Synonyms: stonewall; hem and haw
The phrase originates from a hunting practice dating to the 15th century, in which hunters hired ‘beaters’ to drive small animals out of bushes where the hunters could more easily get to them. The beaters would lightly beat around the edges of the bushes to lure the animals out without completely frightening them away.
do an about face
to change one’s behavior or mind abruptly and (often) apparently without reason
1. Yesterday, the boss said none of us could take our vacations in June. Then this morning, he did an about-face and said we could.
2. At first Donald’s parents wouldn’t let him have a car, but when they realized how much they would have to drive him around, they did an about-face.
The expression originates from the military command “About face!” which instructs a soldier to turn in the opposite direction.
keep (one’s) wits about (one)
to pay attention and be ready to react
1. If she wants to do well in her job interview, she can’t daydream—she’ll have to keep her wits about her.
2. When I travel, I’m always careful to keep my things with me in crowded places. I keep my wits about me.
Compare to: at (one’s) wits’ end; scared out of (one’s) wits
know beans about something, not
to know very little about something; to speak without authority on some topic
1. Rita’s interpretation of that artist is completely wrong. Don’t listen to her. She doesn’t know beans about it.
2. Sometimes you go on and on as though you’re an expert. I bet you don’t know beans about half the things you think you do.
Similar to: talk through one’s hat
nothing to write home about
ordinary; so-so; not especially good or important
1. Donald’s parents wanted to know how he liked the school. Donald said the school was all right, but it was nothing to write home about.
2. When we asked them about their trip, they said they couldn’t complain about it but the hotel was nothing to write home about.
Antonyms: something to crow about; a feather in one’s cap.
The expression originates from the idea that if one were writing a letter to one’s family, the person or thing or event in question is so ordinary or insignificant that one wouldn’t even mention it in the letter.
*(up and) about and up and around
out of bed and moving about.I’m up and about, but I’m not really wellyet. The flu put Alice into bed for three days, but she was up and around on the fourth.