- In reference to time:-a word of flexible significance, denoting an approximation to exactness. 52 Am J1st Time § 30. Signifying present and not future action, as in a representation that one is "about to abandon" a business. 37 Am J2d Fraud § 65. In reference to area, quantity, dimension: -a word whose precise meaning depends upon the surrounding circumstances, frequently used as a synonym for "nearly" or "approximately" and for the purpose of giving a margin for excess or deficiency. 17 Am J2d Contr § 282. A qualifying word in the description of a boundary which is usually to be disregarded if not controlled or explained by monuments or other markers, but may be given meaning in effect when so controlled and explained. 12 Am J2d Bound § 57. As used in a description of the subject matter in a contract for the sale of real estate, the term “about" is one of precaution or safety, being intended to cover slight and unimportant inaccuracies. 56 Am J1st V & P § 131. As used in a conveyance in connection with area, the word is generally one of precaution and safety, intended to cover some unimportant inaccuracy, and has been held not to estop either party from setting up a deficiency, or surplus, sufficiently large to raise the presumption that there was not a meeting of the minds. But it has also been held that the obvious common sense meaning of such words is that the parties shall run the risk of gain or loss, and if the area proves greater or less than the area sold, they shall abide by their bargain. See 23 Am J2d Deeds § 247. In contracts of sale of personalty in estimating the quantity to be delivered, the word is given practically the same meaning as the phrase "more or less," its use being only for the purpose of providing against accidental variations arising from slight and unimportant excesses or deficiencies in number, weight, or measure. See 46 Am J1st Sales § 156. As used in Workmen's Compensation statutes to describe the locus of the industrial enterprise, it has been treated as enlarging the application of the act, and has been spoken of as an "elastic word." Thus, a workman may be employed "about" or "in," or "on" a factory, although he is on the street adjoining the factory, if the work he is performing is part of the factory business; and also where he is employed in a building adjoining the factory proper, although at some distance from it. 58 Am J1st Workm Comp § 86.
Ballentine's law dictionary. Anderson, W.S.. 1998.