The Alternative English Dictionary: around

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Entry definition

around {{rfc}} Alternative forms: arownd (obsolete) etymology From Middle English around, from a- (from Old English a-) + Middle English round, equivalent to a + round. Cognate with Scots aroond, aroon. Displaced earlier Middle English umbe, embe (from Old English ymbe). See umbe. pronunciation
  • (UK) /əˈɹaʊnd/
  • (US) /əˈɹæwnd/
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preposition: {{en-prep}}
  1. Defining a circle or closed curve containing a thing. exampleI planted a row of lillies around the statue.  The jackals began to gather around [someone or something].
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  2. Following the perimeter of a specified area and returning to the starting point. exampleWe walked around the football field.  She went around the track fifty times.
  3. Following a path which curves near an object, with the object on the inside of the curve. exampleThe road took a brief detour around the large rock formation, then went straight on.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln , [ Mr. Pratt's Patients], 1 , “I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for. It twisted and turned, and, the first thing I knew, made a sudden bend around a bunch of bayberry scrub and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn.”
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, The Unknown Ajax, 1 , “But Richmond…appeared to lose himself in his own reflections. Some pickled crab, which he had not touched, had been removed with a damson pie; and his sister saw, peeping around the massive silver epergne that almost obscured him from her view, that he had eaten no more than a spoonful of that either.”
  4. (of distance, time) Near; in the vicinity of. exampleI left my keys somewhere around here.  I left the house around 10 this morning.  There isn't another house here for miles around.  I'll see you around [the neighbourhood, etc.]
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  5. At various places in. exampleThe pages from the notebook were scattered around the room.  Those teenagers like to hang around the mall.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, 10 , [ Mr. Pratt's Patients] , “Men that I knew around Wapatomac didn't wear high, shiny plug hats, nor yeller spring overcoats, nor carry canes with ivory heads as big as a catboat's anchor, as you might say.”
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  1. (informal, with the verb "to be") Alive; existing.
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    exampleThe record store on Main Street? Yes, it's still around. example"How is old Bob? I heard that his health is failing."  "Oh, he's still around. He's feeling better now."
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  1. Generally.
  2. From place to place. exampleThere are rumors going around that the company is bankrupt. exampleShe went around the office and got everyone to sign the card. exampleLook around and see what you find. exampleWe moved the furniture around in the living room.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill (novelist) , The Celebrity, 5 , “Then came a maid with hand-bag and shawls, and after her a tall young lady.…She looked around expectantly, and recognizing Mrs. Cooke's maid…Miss Thorn greeted her with a smile which greatly prepossessed us in her favor.”
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  3. From one state or condition to an opposite or very different one; with a metaphorical change in direction; bringing about awareness or agreement. exampleThe team wasn't doing well, but the new coach really turned things around. exampleHe used to stay up late but his new girlfriend changed that around. exampleThe patient was unconscious but the doctor brought him around quickly. (see bring around, come around) exampleI didn't think he would ever like the new design, but eventually we brought him around. (see bring around, come around)
  4. (with [[turn]], [[spin]]{{,}} etc.) Partially or completely rotated, including to face in the opposite direction. exampleTurn around at the end of this street. exampleShe spun around a few times.
  5. Used with verbs to indicate repeated or continuous action, or in numerous locations or with numerous people exampleStop kidding around. I'm serious. exampleI asked around, and no-one really liked it. exampleShopping around can get you a better deal. exampleWhen are you going to stop whoring around, find a nice girl, and give us grandchildren?
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