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I would like to know the meaning of "we should not roam about in the hot sun".

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Where did you read this sentence? Please provide more context. – Alenanno May 18 '11 at 14:50
I found in the dictionary, they have given the sample sentence for the word "about". – A.C.Balaji May 18 '11 at 14:52
up vote 6 down vote accepted

It's not an idiom. It's just a sentence, meaning:

We shouldn't run around outside, because it's very sunny and hot. Obviously running around outside is not a good idea if it's very warm, because you'll get hot and dehydrated, and possibly sunburned.

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Not to mention which there's the risk of bumping into mad dogs and Englishmen! – FumbleFingers May 18 '11 at 16:30
@FumbleFingers -- that's two upvotes from me in the last five minutes, the other for "positively fecund!" :-) – Pete Wilson May 18 '11 at 18:39
@Pete Wilson: That "fecund" comment was of course in the context of the prefixes de- and un-. I was really annoyed when I posted it and realised I couldn't highlight just the un in fecund. So many thanks, I feel better now! – FumbleFingers May 18 '11 at 22:01

Among its many meanings, about can express location in a general area. So the example sentence can be "translated" as:

We should not wander around outside while it's this hot.

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+1 for your correction :P – Alenanno May 18 '11 at 15:57

I don't think it's an idiom. I think it's just a sample sentence.

We should not roam about in the hot sun.

about is used in this sense

Used to indicate movement in an area: "finding my way about".

Comparable to using around.

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Among its meanings, about, as an adverb (NB: It's also a preposition), has the following ones (NOAD):

  1. used to indicate movement in an area;
  2. used to express location in a particular place.

Or the OALD that says "nearly; very close to".

EDIT: But as Martha correctly pointed out, here we have a different meaning.

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"close to/near" is probably wrong in this case, as it's not possible to wander "close to" the sun. – victoriah May 18 '11 at 15:06
Actually, the example sentence says absolutely nothing about proximity to the sun. A better rephrasing is "we should not wander around outside while it's this hot." – Marthaª May 18 '11 at 15:10
@Martha: Uhm, you have a point... I'll correct that part... @victoriah: That doesn't mean the sentence can't be uttered, on the contrary... It's not possible to touch the fire, but you can say "we shouldn't touch the fire", right? It's the same thing. But Martha is right... – Alenanno May 18 '11 at 15:55
It's not a figurative meaning at all. It's just that you paired "about" with "in the hot sun", when it actually belongs with "roam": [We] [should not] [roam about] [in the hot sun]. – Marthaª May 18 '11 at 16:39
I even looked it up, but there isn't a phrasal verb "roam about", is it? – Alenanno May 18 '11 at 16:53

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