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About, prepos. 1) round: “clouds a. his golden head,” Lucr. 777. “that self chain a. his neck,” Err. V, 10. Err. V, 10 “whirl a. the globe,” Tit. V, 2, 49. Tp. III, 2, 147. As III, 2, 191. Shr. I, 2, 141. II, 302. H5 V, 2, 190. H6C V, 1, 108. H8 V, 5, 55. Oth. I, 2, 89. II, 3, 99 etc. “round a.:” Lucr. 1586. Wiv. IV, 4, 31. Meas. III, 1, 125. Ado V, 3, 15. Mids. II, 1, 175. Tit. III, 1, 125.
2) near to a person: “hang no more a. me,” Wiv. II, 2, 17. “he shall not come a. her,” Wint. II, 1, 59. II, 3, 43. “they are all a. his majesty,” John V, 6, 36. “she has nobody to do any thing a. her,” H4B III, 2, 246. “some a. him have wrested his meaning,” IV, 2, 57. H6A III, 1, 38. H6B III, 1, 26. IV, 7, 42. Ant. IV, 15, 48. Cymb. III, 5, 68.
3) carried by, or appendant to, a person: “you have not the book of riddles a. you,” Wiv. I, 1, 209. “you cannot see a white spot a. her,” IV, 5, 116. “his face is the worst thing a. him,” Meas. II, 1, 163. Meas. II, 1, 163 “what privy marks I had a. me,” Err. III, 2, 146. “have you the chain a. you?” IV, 1, 42. “if half thy outward graces had been placed a. thy thoughts,” Ado IV, 1, 103. “the old name is fresh a. me,” H8 IV, 1, 99 (is not yet obsolete with me). “pierce every sense a. thee,” Lr. I, 4, 323. Ado IV, 2, 89. V, 4, 105. Mids. III, 1, 71. As III, 2, 400. Alls II, 3, 214. Wint. IV, 4, 260. H4B I, 2, 208. H5 II, 1, 24. V, 2, 315. R3 I, 3, 244. Lr. II, 4, 42. Cymb. II, 4, 119 etc.
4) anywhere, here or there within a certain locality: “walk a. the town,” Err. I, 2, 22. “where lies thy pain? all a. the breast,” LLL IV, 3, 173. “he is a. the house,” Tw. II, 4, 13 (anywhere in the house). Mids. III, 2, 5. Mids. III, 2, 5 H4A V, 4, 32. H4B III, 2, 329. Caes. II, 2, 24. V, 3, 22. V, 4, 3. Hml. III, 1, 19. round a. == throughout: “proclaim it round a. the city,” Meas. V, 514. “look round a. the wicked streets of Rome,” Tit. V, 2, 98. “she throws her eyes a. the painting round,” Lucr. 1499. cf. “I'll lead you a. a round,” Mids. III, 1, 109, i. e. through thick and thin.
5) near in size, quantity, or time: “a. my stature,” Gent. IV, 4, 163. Gent. IV, 4, 163 “a. the very hour,” V, 1, 2. Wiv. V, 1, 12. Err. III, 1, 96. LLL I, 1, 238. H4A II, 4, 60. H6C IV, 5, 10. R3 V, 3, 70. R3 V, 3, 70 H8 IV, 2, 26. Caes. II, 4, 23 etc.
6) in a state of being engaged in, or intent on: “I will tell you what I am a.” Wiv. I, 3, 43. “I am a. no waste,” Wiv. I, 3, 43 “the prince is about a piece of iniquity,” Wint. IV, 4, 693. “it is unlawful business I am a.” V, 3, 97. “I was employed in passing to and fro, a. relieving of the sentinels,” H6A II, 1, 70. “look with care a. the town,” Oth. II, 3, 255 (watch all the town carefully). he is a. it == he is doing it, Mcb. II, 2, 4. Oth. II, 1, 126. “I will a. it,” Wiv. II, 2, 327 (== I will fall to work). Meas. I, 4, 85. Alls III, 6, 79. “let's a. it,” III, 7, 48. H6A I, 2, 149. H6C IV, 6, 102. “shall we a. it?” H5 III, 7, 167. “a. thy business, Davy,” H4B V, 1, 39. “sound the trumpets, and a. our task,” H6C II, 1, 200. “a. your business straight,” R3 I, 3, 355. “at gaming, swearing, or a. some act that has no relish of salvation,” Hml. III, 3, 91. “a. him, fairies!” Wiv. V, 5, 95 (== at him! take him to task!). “a. it!” Gent. III, 2, 95. Gent. III, 2, 95 Tw. III, 2, 52. R3 IV, 2, 59. Lr. V, 3, 35. Oth. IV, 2, 250. to go a. sth. == to get one's self ready for, to be going to do: Merch. II, 4, 25. As I, 1, 180. Alls III, 6, 85. H6A I, 1, 166. H8 I, 1, 131. Cor. III, 2, 98. III, 3, 24. IV, 6, 9. Lr. IV, 4, 24. “I'll roundly go a. her,” Shr. IV, 4, 108 (I'll resolutelv try my fortune with her). “he is very busy a. it,” Ado I, 2, 3. “Mortimer doth stir a. his title,” H4A II, 3, 85. “else shall you not have any hand a. his funeral,” Caes. III, 1, 249. cf. Cor. I, 1, 131. Lr. I, 5, 37.
7) concerning, relating to, with regard to: “we have some secrets to confer a.” Gent. III, 1, 2. “we have lingered a. a match,” Wiv. III, 2, 58. IV, 5, 35. IV, 5, 35 LLL I, 1, 138. Merch. II, 2, 88. V, 147. As II, 7, 172. R2 II, 1, 168. H6A IV, 1, 95. H6C I, 2, 7. H8 III, 2, 406. Cor. V, 2, 74 etc.
8) on account of: “he is mad a. his throwing into the water,” Wiv. IV, 1, 5. “I come a. my brother,” Meas. IV, 1, 48. “you have rated me a. my moneys,” Merch. I, 3, 109. “an old lord rated me in the street a. you,” H4A I, 2, 96. “striking him a. Bardolph,” H4B I, 2, 63. “stop William's wages a. the sack he lost” V, 1, 25. V, 4, 7. H5 II, 3, 38. H6A IV, 1, 91. H6B IV, 1, 31. R3 I, 1, 39. Cor. II, 3, 17.
Transposed: the house a. == a. the house, Per. III, Prol. 2 (Gower's speech).
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