"I always thought he had a nasty look about him,..."

I don't know what "about him" is doing in this sentence. I feel "he had a nasty look" is fairly enough. What additional information does "about him" add?

1 Answer 1


It is an idiomatic usage of about usually found referring to the qualities of someone or something:


When you say that there is a particular quality about someone or something, you mean that they have this quality.

  • There was a warmth and passion about him I never knew existed.
  • I think there's something a little peculiar about the results of your test.

(Collins Dictionary)


used when referring to qualities that someone or something has:

  • One thing I like about Tony, he always says exactly what he thinks.

  • There was something about her that made him uneasy.

(Macmillan Dictionary)

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