around - definition and synonyms

adverb, preposition 

Your browser doesn’t support HTML5 audio

Around can be used in the following ways:
as a preposition (followed by a noun): We walked around the old town.
as an adverb (without a following noun): She turned around and smiled at me. (after the verb ‘to be’): Don’t discuss this when the children are around.
  1. 1
    used for showing movement
    1. a.
      moving in a circular way

      The Earth goes around the Sun.

      The wind makes the windmill’s sails spin around.

    2. b.
      moving to many different parts or areas

      We drove around looking for a hotel.

      I wish you’d stop following me around.

      There’s a rumour going around that she’s leaving her job.

    3. c.
      moving so that you face in the opposite direction

      Martha heard a noise and spun around to see what it was.

      When we got to the border, the guards made us turn around and go back.

    4. d.
      moving so that you get to the other side of something

      At that moment a truck came rushing around the corner.

      Go around to the back of the house and see if anyone’s in the garden.

  2. 2
    used for showing where someone/something is
    1. a.
      surrounding or enclosing something

      Arrange the chairs around the table.

      Sam had his arm around Mandy’s waist.

      Everyone crowded around the little dog.

      a cottage with woods all around

    2. b.
      in many different parts or areas

      They have about 15 offices scattered around the country.

      Why are all those clothes lying around on the floor?

      The Games were watched by millions of people around the world.

    3. c.
      in or close to a place or area

      the quiet country roads around Chester

      Is your wife around? I’d like to talk to her.

      in and around:

      People living in and around the Chernobyl area were the worst affected.

      somewhere around:

      The factory is in Sacramento, or somewhere around there.

      for miles around:

      It’s one of the most popular restaurants for miles around.

    4. d.
      in a place with other people, because you live there or spend a lot of time there

      She said her husband hadn’t been around when she really needed him.

      The place gets so messy when the children are around.

      Brian had been around London for years, and knew all the right people.

  3. 3
    searching, looking, or trying to find something
    1. a.
      used for saying that someone looks in different places because they want to find something

      She walked in, glanced around the hall, and went out.

      It seemed like someone had been snooping around in my office.

    2. b.
      used for saying that someone asks many people in order to find something

      I’ll ask around and see if anyone has his address.

      It’s a good idea to shop around to get the best deal on your insurance.

  4. 4
    not exact
    1. a.
      used for showing that you are guessing a number or amount

      There must have been around 500 people there.

      Damage was estimated at around £20 million.

    2. b.
      used for referring to a time that is not exact

      It was around that time that people started worrying about the ozone layer.

      We got back around 11.

  5. 5
    used for showing how someone is spending their time
    1. a.
      spending time in a place not doing much

      We got tired of waiting around.

      A group of old men were sitting around playing cards.

      They spent the day lounging around the pool.

    2. b.
      wasting time and behaving in a stupid way

      A bunch of kids was messing around outside the school.

      I was fooling around and I broke my arm.

  6. 6
    used for saying that a certain type of person, product etc exists or is available at this time

    There are some really good new video games around.

  7. 7
    about a particular subject

    There is a lot of anxiety around the whole process of globalization.

See also