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"she looked about her expecting the owner would not be far off; but she could see nobody."

Look about means to look around to find someone, so in this sentence, I think it should be "looked about the owner" instead "looked about her" because she was trying to find the owner. Am I right?

Thanks in advance

2 Answers 2

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She looked about her means:

she looked at what was around her

expecting to find the owner who, she supposed, would not be too far away from her.

look about (for someone or something):

to try to locate someone or something. I have to look about for someone to serve as a babysitter. I don't see it here. I'll have to look about.

(McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs)

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  • Yes, "She looked about her" means "She looked around herself." Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 22:36
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'Look about [something]' means to look around that thing. You are interpreting it to mean she was looking, and the thing she was looking for, or what the looking was about, was the owner, but that is not the intended or generally accepted meaning. You should read the sentence to mean "she looked around her, expecting the owner would not be far off; [...]". I can't think of any scenarios where you can't just replace 'look about' with 'look around'.

about 1. on the subject of; concerning. 2. used to express location in a particular place.

In the example you give, the #2 definition of about is being used.

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