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- (idiomatic, only with bare infinitive) Indicates something that will happen very soon; indicates that something is imminent.
- He's standing at the edge, and I think he's about to jump.
- She seemed about to say something.
- (as negative 'not about to', informal, originally US, Canada) Indicates that one has no intention of doing the stated thing at any time in the future.
- I'm not about to let the lockdown stop me from going to the beach every day.
- I'm not about to impose laws on people who disagree with them.
- (obsolete in affirmative) Indicates that one is preparing or planning to do the stated thing at some time in the future, not necessarily imminently. [Attested from around 1150 to 1350 until the late 18th century.]
- ^ “about to” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, →ISBN, page 7.