about to

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Phrase[edit]

about to

  1. (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.
    • 1769, King James Bible, Oxford Standard text, Acts of the Apostles, xviii, 14
      And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, in The Celebrity:
      I was about to say that I had known the Celebrity from the time he wore kilts. But I see I will have to amend that, because he was not a celebrity then, nor, indeed, did he achieve fame until some time after I left New York for the West.
  2. (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.
  3. (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.[1]]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ “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.