about to

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about to

  1. (idiomatic, with infinitive verb) Indicates something that will happen very soon; indicates action that 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:
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      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 wander around at night to find it.
  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. [from ca. 1150—1350 to late 18th c.[1]]




  • about to”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.
  1. ^ Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “about to”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 7.