Hello dear reader! I am quite certain that with all the educative and informative posts you have read so far on this site, you do not want to miss this enlightening and explanatory post on 550 English Phrasal Verbs (Definition, Meanings and Examples). It is so interesting to know that such a large repertoire of Phrasal Verbs exist in English with their varieties of meanings.
Let me ask you this: in telling another individual that someone was pregnant, how did you say it? “She took in last month”. You might even be the one who got pregnant and when you told your husband, you announced joyfully, “Dear, I just realised I’ve taken in!” But do you know that there is no relationship between getting pregnant and the phrasal verb “take in”!
In the English language, ‘take’ (verb) plus ‘in’ (prepositional adverb or particle) gives a meaning different from what is ordinarily expected, that is, “deceive”. It does not mean ‘to get pregnant’ like most speakers of English in Nigeria erroneously believe. That is why I said earlier that this post, 550 English Phrasal Verbs (Definition, Meanings and Examples), is eye-opening. Okay, let us get down to brass tacks!
Phrasal Verb: A Definition
A phrasal verb is a phrase that consists of a verb plus an adverbial or prepositional particle; and the meaning of which cannot be deduced by analysis of the meaning of the constituent elements or words. Phrasal verbs are also similar to idioms, which are a group of words whose meaning cannot be deduced from the individual meanings of the constituent words.
The attachment of a preposition to a verb will alter the meaning of the verb. However, the addition of verbs plus prepositions, in some cases, will retain the individual meanings of the verbs e. g. sit down, drink up, turn up, break up, break down, etc. These ones are Prepositional Verbs. Make sure you read up on that too on this site.
There is also a clear difference between Phrasal Verbs and Prepositional Verbs. These two are also different from Phrasal-Prepositional Verbs. There are dedicated posts on each of these concepts. Do check them out for more information.
550 English Phrasal Verbs (Definition, List, Meanings and Examples)
We will consider as many Phrasal Verbs as we can for proper understanding. The meaning of each of the listed Phrasal verb is given and illustrative examples are provided:
List of Phrasal Verbs (1)
- Argue someone down – defeat someone in a debate
- Sally could always argue him down if she had to.
- Argue something down – reduce something, such as a bill or a price, by arguing
- I tried to argue the price down, but it did no good.
- Tom could not argue down the bill.
- Argue something out – to settle something by discussing all the important points.
- We are going to have to argue this out some other time.
- Must we argue out every single detail of this contract?
- Ask someone over – to invite someone who lives close by to come to one’s home [for a visit].
- Can we ask Tom over?
- He has been asked over a number of times.
- Atone for something – to make amends for an error.
- You must atone for the bad things you have done.
- Average something up – calculate the average of a set of figures
- Please average up all the monthly expenses for the previous year.
- Back someone or something out – guide or move someone or something backward out of something or some place.
- Judy backed the car out of the garage.
- Back someone up – provide someone with help in reserve; support someone;
- Will you please back up Nancy over the weekend?
Give additional support or evidence about something. (Support or strengthen the facts.)
- That backs up my story, all right.
- Ball someone or something up – interfere with someone or something; mess someone or something up
- Who balled this television up?
- Ball something up – roll something up into a ball
- She balled the clay up and stuck it to the clown’s face as a nose.
List of Phrasal Verbs (2)
- Bandy something about – spread something, such as someone’s good name, around in a bad perspective; toss words around in a gossipy fashion.
- Stop bandying words about and start telling the truth!
- Bang someone up – beat someone up; assault someone; damage someone
- The crooks banged him up a little bit.
- The crash banged up the passengers in the car.
- Bang something in – crush something; dent or collapse something
- Who banged the side of the washing machine in?
- Bang something out – play something on the piano, loudly, banging on the keys; to type something on a keyboard by pounding on the keys
- Let me bang this melody out and see if you can guess who wrote it.
- Please bang out the school song good and loud.
- Bang something up – crash or wreck something; damage something
- Don’t bang my best skillet up!
- Bank something up – heap or mound up something so that it presses against something.
- Walter banked the coals up against the side of the furnace.
To heap or mound up something to guard against something
- They banked dirt and rubble up against the oncoming attackers.
- Bark something out – say something harshly to someone
- The sergeant barked the orders out at the recruits.
- Bash someone or something around – treat someone or something roughly (physically or figuratively); to beat on or abuse someone or something (physically or otherwise).
- Stop bashing me around, and let’s talk.
- Battle something out – fight about something to a conclusion
- They battled the matter out and came to an agreement.
- Bear someone up – sustain or encourage someone
- Your encouragement bore me up through a very hard time.
- Beg something off – decline an invitation politely
- We all begged off the dinner invitation.
List of Phrasal Verbs (3)
- Belt a drink down – drink an alcoholic drink rapidly
- She belted a couple of drinks down and went out to face her guests.
- Belt something out – sing or play a song loudly and with spirit
- She really knows how to belt out a song.
- Bite someone’s head off – speak sharply and with great anger to someone
- Don’t bite my head off! Be patient.
- Blab something around – gossip something to others; spread some news or secret
- It’s true, but don’t blab it around.
- Break down – fall apart; stop operating
- The car broke down on the long trip.
- Break even – when income to equal expenses (money was not made or lost)
- The car broke down on the long trip.
- Break out – burst forth suddenly, as with a fire, a riot, giggling, shouting, etc.
- A fire broke out in the belfry.
- A round of giggling broke out when the teacher tripped.
- Break something off – end a relationship abruptly
- After a few long and bitter arguments, they broke off their relationship.
- Break up – fall apart; be broken to pieces, divorce
- In the greatest storm of the century, the ship broke up on the reef.
- Butter someone up and butter up to someone – to flatter someone; to treat someone especially nicely in hopes of receiving special favours.
- A student tried to butter the teacher up.
- She buttered up the teacher again.
- Call someone down – reprimand a person; to bawl someone out.
- The teacher had to call down Sally in front of everybody.
- Call in – telephone to some central place, such as one’s place of work, as to check for messages.
- I have to call in to the office at noon.
List of Phrasal Verbs (4)
- Call someone in – request that someone come to have a talk
- We will have to call a heart specialist in for a consultation.
- Call someone or something in – call on the special talents, abilities, or power of someone or something
- They had to call a new doctor in.
- Yes, they had to call in a specialist.
- Call something down (on someone) – Fig. to invoke some sort of divine punishment onto someone.
- The preacher sounded as though he was calling down the wrath of God on us.
- Call something down (to someone) – shout something to a person on a lower level
- The worker called a warning down to the people below.
- Call something up – summon information from a computer.
- With a few strokes on the computer keyboard, Sally called up the figures she was looking for.
- Carry someone away – cause a person to lose control
- The excitement of the parade carried us all away.
- Chalk something up (to something) – recognize something as the cause of something else
- We chalked her bad behaviour up to her recent illness.
- Clean one’s act up – reform one’s conduct; to improve one’s performance
- We were told to clean our act up or move out.
- Clean someone out – get or use up all of someone’s money
- The bill for supper cleaned me out, and we couldn’t go to the flick.
- Cook something up – prepare a batch of some kind of food by cooking; devise or concoct something.
- Fred cooked up a scheme that was supposed to earn him a lot of money.
- Doctor someone up – give someone medical treatment, especially first aid
- Give me a minute to doctor Fred up, and then we can continue our walk.
List of Phrasal Verbs (5)
- Doll someone up – to dress someone up in fancy clothes.
- She dolled her children up for church each Sunday.
- Dope someone or an animal up – to give drugs to someone or an animal.
- Her parents doped her up with medicine so she would sleep through the night.
- Double up – (with pain) to bend at the waist with severe pain.
- The man doubled up with pain when he was stabbed.
- Drag someone or something down – to debase someone or something; to corrupt someone or something.
- The bad acting dragged the level of the performance down.
- Drag something out – to make something last for a long time.
- Why does the chairman have to drag the meeting out so long?
- Don’t drag out the meetings so long!
- Drag something out of someone and drag something out – to force someone to reveal something; to extract an answer or information out of someone laboriously.
- Why don’t you just tell me? Do I have to drag it out of you?
- We had to drag out the information, but she finally told us.
- Drag something up – to pull something close, such as a chair, stool, etc., to sit in.
- Drag up a chair and sit for a while.
- Draw something out – to make something have greater length.
- He drew out a long strand of melted cheese and tried to drop it into his mouth.
- Draw something up – to pull something close by, such as a chair, stool, etc.
- Draw a chair up and sit down.
- She drew up a pillow and sat on the floor.
Fig. to draft a document; to prepare a document.
- Who will draw a contract up?
List of Phrasal Verbs (6)
- Dream something away – Fig. to waste away a period of time having fantasies.
- I just want to sit in the sun and dream the day away.
- Don’t dream away your life!
- Dream something up – Fig. to invent something; to fabricate something.
- I don’t know what to do, but I’ll dream something up.
- Please dream up a solution for this problem.
- Dress someone down – to bawl someone out; to give someone a good scolding.
- The drill sergeant dressed down the entire squadron for failing inspection.
- Dress someone or something up – to make someone or something appear fancier than is actually so.
- The publicity specialist dressed the actress up a lot.
- Drink something in – Fig. to absorb something; to take in information, sights, a story, etc.
- Terry and Amy drove up to the top of the hill to drink the sights in.
- Drive someone or something back – to force someone or something away; to force someone or something to retreat.
- The infantry drove the attackers back into the desert.
- They drove back the invading army.
- Drone something out – to make a loud and low-pitched noise; to say something in a low-pitched and monotonous manner.
- The announcer droned the winning numbers out.
- Drop away – Fig. (For a group of people) to decline in number over time through disinterest or attrition.
- His friends gradually dropped away as the years passed.
- Drop someone or something off – (some place) Fig. to give someone or a group a ride to some place.
- Can I drop you off somewhere in town?
- I dropped off the kids at the party.
- Drown someone or an animal out – (for a flood) to drive someone or an animal away from home.
- The high waters almost drowned the farmers out last year.
List of Phrasal Verbs (7)
- Drown someone or something out – (for a sound) to be so loud that someone or something cannot be heard.
- The noise of the passing train drowned out our conversation.
- Drum something up – to obtain something by attracting people’s attention to one’s need or cause.
- I shall try to drum up support for the party.
- You shall have to drum up new business by advertising.
- Dry out – Fig. to allow alcohol and the effects of drunkenness, especially if habitual, to dissipate from one’s body.
- He required about three days to dry out completely.
- Dub something in – to mix a new sound recording into an old one.
- The actor messed up his lines, but they dubbed the correct words in later.
- Dust someone off – Sl. to punch or beat someone.
- We dusted them off one by one.
- Ease off (for something) – to diminish.
- The rain began to ease off.
- The storm seems to have eased off a little.
- Ease someone out of something and ease someone out – Fig. to get someone out of an office or position quietly and without much embarrassment.
- We eased the sheriff out of office without a fight.
- Eat someone up – Fig. (For an idea) to consume a person.
- The whole idea of visiting Australia was just eating her up.
- Eat something away – to erode something; to consume something bit by bit.
- The acid ate the finish away.
- Eat something out – to eat some kind of meal or a particular food away from home, as at a restaurant.
- We eat fish out, but we don’t cook it at home.
- We may eat out a meal or two, but certainly not every meal.
List of Phrasal Verbs (8)
- Eat something up – Fig. to consume something rapidly, such as money.
- Running this household eats my income up.
Fig. to believe something.
- Those people really eat that stuff up about tax reduction.
Fig. to appreciate something.
- The audience liked my singing; they really ate it up.
- Eke something out – to extend something; to add to something.
- He worked at two jobs in order to eke his income out.
- Empty someone out – to cause someone to empty the bowels, stomach, or bladder.
- This medication will empty you out.
- This stuff could empty out an army!
- Even something out – to make something even or level.
- Please even the gravel out.
- They evened out the surface of the road.
- Even something up – to make something even, square, level, equal, balanced, etc.
- I’ll even the table up.
- Explain something away – to explain something so that it is no longer a problem.
- You can try to explain it away if you want, but that won’t solve the problem.
- Face off – to prepare for a confrontation.
- The opposing candidates faced off and the debate began.
- Fade down (for sound) – to diminish.
- The roar of the train faded down as it passed and fled into the night.
- Fade something down – to turn down a sound. (Broadcasting.)
- The radio engineer faded the music down and the announcer’s voice began.
- Fade something in – to bring a picture, sound, or both into prominence. (Broadcasting.)
- The technician faded the picture in and the program began.
- Fade something out – to diminish something altogether. (Broadcasting.)
- At the end, you should fade the music out completely.
- Fade something up – to increase the sound gradually. (Broadcasting.)
- The director faded the music up and then down again before the announcer spoke.
List of Phrasal Verbs (9)
- Fake someone out – to deceive someone; to fool someone.
- You really faked me out. I never would have guessed it was you.
- Fall through (for something, such as plans) to fail.
- Our party for next Saturday fell through. I hope our plans don’t fall through.
- Fan something out – to spread something out so that all parts can be seen better. (As one opens a wood and paper fan.)
- Todd fanned the cards out so we could see which ones he held.
- Farm someone out – (for someone in control) to send someone to work for someone else.
- I have farmed my electrician out for a week, so your work will have to wait.
- Feel someone out – (about someone or something) Fig. to find out what someone thinks about someone or something. (This does not involve touching anyone.)
- I will feel him out about what he thinks about going to Florida.
- Fence someone or something off – (from something) to separate someone or something from something else with a fence or barrier.
- We fenced the children’s play area
- Ferret something out – (from something) Fig. to fetch something out from something.
- We will have to ferret the mouse out from behind the stove.
- Fiddle something away – to waste something.
- Don’t fiddle away the afternoon. Get to work.
- Fight someone or something off – to repel an attack from someone or something.
- We fought the enemy attack off, but they returned almost immediately.
- She fought off the mosquitoes all evening.
- Figure something up – to add up the amount of something.
- Please figure the bill up. We have to go now.
- File something down – to level off a protrusion by filing.
- File this edge down so no one gets cut on it.
List of Phrasal Verbs (10)
- Fill someone in – (on someone or something) to tell someone the details about someone or something.
- Please fill me in on what happened last night.
- Fill something in – to add material to an indentation, hole, etc., to make it full.
- You had better fill the crack in with something before you paint the wall.
Fig. to write in the blank spaces on a paper; to write on a form.
- Please fill this form in.
- Fill something out – Fig. to complete a form by writing in the blank spaces.
- Please fill this form out and send it back to us in the mail.
- Finish someone or something up – Fig. to finish doing something to someone or something.
- I will finish this typing up in a few minutes.
- Finish something off – Fig. to eat or drink up all of something; to eat or drink up the last portion of something.
- Let’s finish the turkey off.
- Fire something off – (to someone) Fig. to send something to someone immediately, by a very rapid means.
- Fire a letter off to Fred, ordering him to return home at once.
- I fired off a letter to Fred as you asked.
- Fire something up – Fig. to start something such as an engine.
- Fire this thing up, and let’s get going.
- Firm something up – Fig. to make a monetary offer for something more appealing and attractive and therefore more “solid” and likely to be accepted.
- You will have to firm the offer up with cash today, if you really want the house.
- Firm up – Fig. to become more stable or viable; to recover from or stop a decline.
- The economy will probably firm up soon.
List of Phrasal Verbs (11)
- Fix someone or something up – to rehabilitate someone or something.
- The doctor said he could fix me up with a few pills.
- Fizzle out – Fig. to fade or become ineffectual gradually.
- The party began to fizzle out about midnight.
- Flake off ((of) something) (for bits of something) to break away from the whole, perhaps under pressure or because of damage. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.)
- Little bits of marble began to flake off the marble steps.
- Flash something around – to display something so everyone can see it. (Usually something one would hold in one’s hand.)
- Don’t flash your money around on the streets.
- Fog something up – to make something made of glass become covered with a film of water vapour.
- The moisture fogged the windshield up, and we had to stop to clean it off.
- Fold up – Fig. (for someone) to faint.
- She folded up when she heard the news.
Fig. (for a business) to cease operating.
- Our shop finally folded up because of the recession.
- Gasp something out – to utter something, gasping.
- Frank was just able to gasp out the instructions before he passed out.
- Get along – (for people or animals) to be amiable with one another.
- Those two just don’t get along.
- They seem to get along just fine.
To leave; to be on one’s way.
- I’ve got to get along. It’s getting late.
- Get something down – to manage to swallow something, especially something large or unpleasant.
- The pill was huge, but I got it down.
- I get down all the pills despite their size.
- Get something out – Fig. to manage to get something said.
- He tried to say it before he died, but he couldn’t get it out.
List of Phrasal Verbs (12)
- Get something up – to organize, plan, and assemble something.
- Let’s get a team up and enter the tournament.
- Give out – to wear out and stop; to quit operating.
- My old bicycle finally gave out.
- I think that your shoes are about ready to give out.
- To be depleted.
- The paper napkins gave out, and we had to use paper towels.
- The eggs gave out, and we had to eat cereal for breakfast for the rest of the camping trip.
- Give someone or something away – to reveal a secret about someone or something.
- I thought no one knew where I was, but my loud breathing gave me away. The cherry juice on his shirt gave him away.
- Give someone or something up – (for lost) to abandon someone or something as being lost; to quit looking for someone or something that is lost.
- After a week we had given the cat up for lost when suddenly she appeared.
- Give someone or something up – (to someone) to hand someone or something over to someone; to relinquish claims on someone or something in favour of someone else.
- We had to give the money we found up to the police.
- Give something off – to release something, such as smoke, a noise, an odour, fragrance, etc.
- The little animal gave a foul smell off.
- Give something out – Fig. to make something known to the public.
- When will you give the announcement out?
- Give something up – to forsake something; to stop using or eating something.
- I gave coffee up because of the caffeine.
To quit doing something.
- Oh, give it up! You’re not getting anywhere.
List of Phrasal Verbs (13)
- Gobble something up – to use up, buy up, or occupy all of something.
- The shoppers gobbled all the sale merchandise up in a few hours.
- Goof around – to act silly
- The kids were all goofing around, waiting for the bus.
- Goof off – to waste time.
- John is always goofing off. Quit goofing off and get to work!
- Grind someone down – Fig. to wear someone down by constant requests; to wear someone down by constant nagging.
- If you think you can grind me down by bothering me all the time, you are wrong.
- Gross someone out – to disgust someone.
- Those horrible pictures just gross me out.
- Jim’s story totally grossed out Sally.
- Guzzle something down – to drink something rapidly and eagerly.
- He guzzled the beer down and called for another.
- Hack something up – Fig. to damage or mangle something.
- Who hacked my windowsill up?
- Ham something up – Fig. to make a performance seem silly by showing off or exaggerating one’s part. (A show-off actor is known as a ham.)
- Come on, Bob. Don’t ham it up!
- Hammer something home – Fig. to try extremely hard to make someone understand or realize something.
- The boss hopes to hammer the firm’s poor financial position home to the staff.
- Hand something down – from someone to someone to pass something down through many generations.
- I hope we can make it a tradition to hand this down from generation to generation.
- Hand something in – to submit something by hand.
- Did you hand your application form in?
- Hand something off – (to someone) Fig. to give something to someone else to do or complete.
- I’m going to hand this assignment off to Jeff.
List of Phrasal Verbs (14)
- Hand something out – (to someone) to give something out to someone.
- The judge was known for handing heavy fines out.
To pass something, usually papers, out to people.
- The teacher handed the tests out to the students.
- Hang on – to wait awhile.
- Hang on a minute. I need to talk to you.
- Hang on. Let me catch up with you.
To survive for a while (for an illness) to linger or persist.
- This cold has been hanging on for a month.
Be prepared for fast or rough movement. (Usually a command.)
- Hang on! The train is going very fast.
- Hang on! We’re going to crash!
To pause in a telephone conversation.
- Please hang on until I get a pen.
- Hang out – (some place) to spend time in a place habitually.
- Is this where you guys hang out all the time?
- Hang up – (for a machine or a computer) to grind to a halt; to stop because of some internal complication.
- Our computer hung up right in the middle of printing the report.
- I was afraid that my computer would hang up permanently.
To replace the telephone receiver after a call; to terminate a telephone call.
- I said good-bye and hung up.
- Heat up – Fig. to grow more animated or combative.
- The debate began to heat up near the end.
- Hit someone up – (for something) to ask someone for a loan of money or for some other favour.
- The tramp hit up each tourist for a dollar.
- Hit something off – to begin something; to launch an event.
- She hit off the fair with a speech.
- Hold on – to be patient.
- Just hold on. Everything will work out in good time.
List of Phrasal Verbs (15)
- Hook something up – to set something up and get it working. (The object is to be connected to a power supply, electronic network, telephone lines, etc.)
- Will it take long to hook the telephone up?
- Hurl something around – to throw something, such as words, around carelessly.
- Don’t just go hurling foul words around like they didn’t mean anything.
- You are just hurling around words!
- Ice something down – to cool something with ice.
- They are icing the champagne down now.
- Ice something up – to cause something to become icy.
- I hope the cold doesn’t ice the roads up.
- Ink something in – To fill in an outline with ink.
- Please ink the drawing in with care.
To write something in ink.
- Please ink your name in on the dotted line.
- Iron something out – Fig. to ease a problem; to smooth out a problem. (Here problem is synonymous with wrinkle.)
- It’s only a little problem. I can iron it out very quickly.
- Itch for something – Fig. to desire something.
- I’m just itching for a visit from Amy.
- We are itching for some chocolate.
- Jam something up – to clog up something; to impede or block the movement of or through something.
- Rachel jammed traffic up when her car stalled.
Fig. to force something upwards in haste or anger.
- Who jammed the window up?
- Jostle someone around – to push or knock someone around.
- Please don’t jostle me around.
- Jostle someone aside – to push or nudge someone aside.
- Poor little Timmy was jostled aside by the crowd every time he got near the entrance.
- Jumble something up – to make a hodgepodge out of things.
- Who jumbled my papers up?
List of Phrasal Verbs (16)
- Keep one’s end up – Fig. to carry through on one’s part of a bargain.
- You have to keep your end up like the rest of us.
- Keep someone on – Fig. to retain someone in employment longer than is required or was planned.
- She worked out so well that we decided to keep her on.
- Keep someone up – Fig. to prevent someone from going to bed or going to sleep.
- I’m sorry, was my trumpet keeping you up?
- Keep something down – Fig. to retain food in one’s stomach rather than throwing it up.
- I’ve got the flu and I can’t keep any food down.
Fig. to keep spending under control.
- I work hard to keep expenses down.
- Kick someone or something aside – Fig. to get rid of someone or something.
- He simply kicked aside his wife and took up with some young chick.
- Kick something around – Fig. to discuss something; to chat about an idea.
- We got together and kicked her idea around.
- Kick something off – Fig. to begin something; to hold a party or ceremony to mark the start of something.
- The city kicked the centennial celebration off with a parade.
- Kick up – to cause trouble or discomfort.
- The ignition in my car is kicking up again. I will have to have it looked into.
- Aunt Jane’s arthritis is kicking up. She needs to see the doctor again.
- Kiss someone or something off – Fig. to dismiss someone or something lightly; to abandon or write off someone or something.
- I kissed off much money on that last deal.
- Knock someone up – Inf. to make a woman pregnant.
- They said it was Willie who knocked her up.
List of Phrasal Verbs (17)
- Knock something off – to manufacture or make something, especially in haste.
- I’ll see if I can knock another one off before lunch.
- They knocked off four window frames in an hour.
To knock off some amount from the price of something, lowering its price.
- The store manager knocked 10% percent off the price of the coat.
- Can’t you knock something off on this damaged item?
- To copy or reproduce a product.
- The manufacturer knocked off a famous designer’s coat.
- They are well-known for knocking off cheap versions of expensive watches.
- Knock something out – to create something hastily.
- He knocked a few out as samples.
- He knocked out a few of them quickly, just so we could see what they were going to look like.
Fig. to put something out of order; to make something inoperable.
- The storm knocked the telephone system out.
- Lace someone up – to tie someone’s laces; to help someone get dressed in a garment having laces.
- Would you please lace me up? I can’t reach the ties in the back.
- Ladle something up – to scoop something up in a ladle.
- Jerry ladled a cool dipper of water up and quenched his thirst.
- Lap something up – Fig. (For someone) to accept or believe something with enthusiasm.
- Of course, they believed it. They just lapped it up.
- Lash someone or something down – to tie someone or something down.
- The villain lashed Nell down to the railroad tracks.
- He lashed down the innocent victim.
- Last something out – to endure until the end of something.
- Ed said that he didn’t think he could last the opera out and left.
List of Phrasal Verbs (18)
- Laugh something off – to treat a serious problem lightly by laughing at it.
- Although his feelings were hurt, he just laughed the incident off as if nothing had happened.
- Lay someone away – (Euph.) to bury someone.
- Yes, he has passed. We laid him away last week.
- Lay someone up – to cause someone to be ill in bed.
- A broken leg laid me up for two months.
- Lay something in – to get something and store it for future use.
- They laid a lot of food in for the holidays.
- Lay something out – Fig. to explain a plan of action or a sequence of events.
- Let me lay it out for you.
- Lay out the plan very carefully, and don’t skip anything.
Fig. to spend some amount of money.
- I can’t lay that kind of money out every day!
- Lay something up – to acquire and store something.
- Try to lay as much of it up as you can.
- I am trying to lay up some firewood for the winter.
(For something) to disable something.
- The accident laid up the ship for repairs.
- Lead off – to be the first one to go or leave.
- You lead off. I’ll follow.
- Mary led off and the others followed closely behind.
- Leave something on – to continue to wear some article of clothing.
- I think I will leave my coat on. It’s chilly in here.
To allow something (that can be turned off) to remain on.
- Who left the radio on?
- Let someone off – to permit someone to disembark or leave, a means of transportation.
- The driver let Mary off the bus.
- “I can’t let you off at this corner,” said the driver.
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- Level out (for something that was going up and down) to assume a more level course or path.
- The road levelled out after a while and driving was easier.
- Level something down – to make something level or smooth.
- The huge earthmoving machines levelled the hill down in preparation for the building of the highway.
- Level something up – to move something into a level or plumb position.
- Use a piece of wood under the table’s leg to level it up.
- Lift someone or something up – to raise someone or something.
- I helped lift him up and put him on the stretcher.
- Light up – to become brighter.
- Suddenly, the sky lit up like day.
- The room lit up as the fire suddenly came back to life.
(For someone) to become interested and responsive in something.
- We could tell from the way Sally lit up that she recognized the man in the picture.
- Lighten something up – to make something lighter or brighter.
- Some white paint will lighten this room up a lot.
- Limber someone or something up – to make someone or something more flexible or loose.
- Let me give you a massage; that will limber you up.
- Line someone or something up – Fig. to schedule someone or something (for something).
- Please line somebody up for the entertainment.
- We will try to line up a magician and a clown for the party.
- Liquor someone up – to get someone tipsy or drunk.
- He liquored her up and tried to take her home with him.
- Liquor up – to drink an alcoholic beverage, especially to excess.
- Sam sat around all evening liquoring up.
- log on – to begin to use a computer system, as by entering
- What time did you log on to the system this morning?
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- Make something out – to see, read, or hear something well enough to understand it.
- What did you say? I couldn’t quite make it out.
- Make something up – to redo something; to do something that one has failed to do in the past.
- Can I make the lost time up?
- Can I make up the test that I missed?
To assemble something.
- We will ship the parts to China where we will make up the computers with cheap labour.
- Have they finished making up the pages for the next edition of the magazine?
To think up something; to make and tell a lie.
- That’s not true! You just made that up!
- I didn’t make it up!
To mix something up; to assemble something.
- John: Is my prescription ready? Druggist: No, I haven’t made it up yet.
- Make something up – from something to create something from something.
- I will make some stew up from the ingredients available in the fridge.
- Map something out – to plot something out carefully, usually on paper.
- I have a good plan. I will map it out for you.
- Mark someone down – (for a teacher) to give someone a low score.
- He’ll mark you down for misspelled words.
- I marked down Tom for bad spelling.
- Mark someone or something off – and mark someone or something out – to cross off the name of someone or something.
- They were late, so I marked them off.
- Mark something down – Fig. to reduce the price of something.
- We are going to mark all this merchandise down next Monday.
- Marry someone off – (to someone) to manage to get someone married to someone and out of the house or family.
- Her parents wanted nothing more than to marry her off to a doctor.
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- Mask something out – to conceal or cover part of something from view.
- The trees masked the city dump out, so it could not be seen from the street.
- Mellow out – to become less angry.
- When you mellow out, maybe we can talk.
- Come on, man, stop yelling and mellow out!
To become generally more relaxed.
- Gary was nearly forty before he started to mellow out a little and take life less seriously.
- Nail something down – to secure something down by nailing it.
- Please nail the floorboard down or someone will trip over it.
- I’ll nail down these floorboards.
- Nail something up – to put something up, as on a wall, by nailing.
- Please nail this up. I’ll nail up this picture for you.
To nail something closed; to use nails to secure something from intruders.
- Sam nailed the door up so no one could use it.
- Nick something up – to make little dents or nicks in something, ruining the finish.
- Someone nicked the kitchen counter up.
- Nurse someone or an animal along – to aid or encourage the well-being or return to health of someone or an animal.
- She nursed the old man along for a few years until he died.
- She nursed along the invalid.
- Offer something up – (to someone or something) to give something to someone or something as a mark of devotion, thanks, etc.
- We offered up our gratitude to the queen.
- Open someone up – Fig. to perform a surgical operation requiring a major incision on someone.
- The doctor had to open George up to find out what was wrong.
- Open something out – to unfold or expand something; to open and spread something out.
- When she opened the fan out, she saw it was made of plastic.
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- Open something up – Fig. to begin examining or discussing something.
- Do you really want to open it up now?
- Now is the time to open up the question of taxes.
Fig. to reveal the possibilities of something; to reveal an opportunity.
- Your letter opened new possibilities up.
Fig. to start the use of something, such as land, a building, a business, etc.
- They opened the coastal lands up to resort development.
- We opened up a new store last March.
Fig. to make a vehicle go as fast as possible. (As in opening up the throttle.)
- We took the new car out on the highway and opened it up.
To make something less congested.
- They opened the yard up by cutting out a lot of old shrubbery.
- Open up – Fig. to become available.
- A new job is opening up at my office.
Fig. to go as fast as possible. (As in opening up the throttle.)
- I can’t get this car to open up.
To become clear, uncluttered, or open.
- The sky opened up, and the sun shone.
- Order something in – to have something, usually food, brought into one’s house or place of business.
- Do you want to order pizza in?
- Pace something off – to mark off a distance by counting the number of even strides taken while walking.
- The farmer paced a few yards off and pounded a stake into the soil.
- Pace something out – Fig. to deal with a problem by pacing around.
- When she was upset, she walked and walked while she thought through her problem.
- When Ed came into the room, she was pacing a new crisis out.
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- Pack someone off – (to someone or something) to send someone away to someone or some place.
- Laura just packed all the kids off to summer camp.
- She packed off the kids to their camp.
- Pack something down – to make something more compact; to press something in a container down so it takes less space.
- The traffic packed down the snow.
- Pack up – to prepare one’s belongings to be transported by placing them into a container; to gather one’s things together for one’s departure.
- If we are going to leave in the morning, we should pack up now.
- I think you should pack up and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
- Pad something out – Fig. to make something appear to be larger or longer by adding unnecessary material.
- If we pad the costume out here, it will make the person who wears it look much plumper.
- Paint something out – to cover something up or obliterate something by applying a layer of paint.
- The worker painted the graffiti out.
- Pair off – (for two people or other creatures) to form a couple or pair.
- Everyone should pair off and discuss the issue for a while.
- Pant something out – to tell something while panting for breath.
- Laura had been running but she was able to pant the name of the injured person out.
- Pare something down – (to something) to cut someone down to something or a smaller size.
- I will have to pare the budget down to the minimum.
- I hope we can pare down the budget.
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- Pass someone or something up – to fail to select someone or something. The committee passed Jill up and chose Kelly.
- They passed up Jill.
To travel past someone or something.
- We had to pass the museum up, thinking we could visit the next time we were in town.
- Pass something on – Fig. to tell someone something; to spread news or gossip.
- Don’t pass this on, but Bill isn’t living at home any more.
- Paste something up – to repair something with paste.
- See if you can paste this book up so it will hold together.
- Paste up the book and hope it holds together for a while.
To assemble a complicated page of material by pasting the parts together.
- There is no way a typesetter can get this page just the way you want it; you’ll have to paste it up yourself.
- Patch someone up – to give medical care to someone.
- That cut looks bad, but the doctor over there can patch you up.
- patch something up – Fig. to “repair” the damage done by an argument or disagreement
- and Mrs. Smith are trying to patch things up.
- Pay someone back – Fig. to get even with someone (for doing something).
- I will pay her back for what she said about me.
- Fred eventually will pay Mike back. He bears grudges for a long time.
- Pay something down – Fig. to reduce a bill by paying part of it, usually periodically.
- I think I can pay the balance down by half in a few months.
- Pep someone or something up – to make someone or something more vigorous.
- Nancy needs to take some vitamins to pep her up.
- The coffee break pepped up the tired workers.
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- Perk someone up – to make someone more cheery or refreshed.
- A nice cup of coffee would really perk me up.
- Perk something up – to refresh or brighten something; to make something more lively.
- A bit of bright yellow here and there will perk this room up a lot.
- Perk up to become invigorated; to become more active.
- After a bit of water, the plants perked up nicely.
- Peter out (for something) to die or dwindle away; (for something) to become exhausted gradually.
- When the fire petered out, I went to bed.
- Pick someone or something apart – Fig. to analyse and criticise someone or something negatively.
- You didn’t review her performance; you just picked her apart.
- Pick someone or something off – Fig. to kill someone or something with a carefully aimed gunshot.
- The hunter picked the deer off with great skill.
- The killer tried to pick off the police officer.
- Pick something over – Fig. to look through something carefully, looking for something special.
- The shoppers who got here first picked everything over, and there is not much left.
- Piddle something away – Fig. to waste away money or a period of time.
- Please don’t piddle all your money away.
- Piece something out – Fig. to add missing parts to a story, explanation, or narrative to make it make sense.
- Before she passed out, she muttered a few things and we were able to piece the whole story out from that.
- Pile something up – to crash or wreck something.
- Drive carefully if you don’t want to pile the car up.
- The driver piled up the car against a tree.
To make something into a heap.
- Carl piled all the leaves up and set them afire.
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- Pipe down – to become quiet; to cease making noise; to shut up. (Especially as a rude command.)
- Pipe down! I’m trying to sleep.
- Plod along – to move along slowly but deliberately.
- I’m just plodding along, but I am getting the job done.
- The old man plodded along, hardly able to stand.
- Plonk something down – to slap something down; to plop something down.
- He plonked a dollar down and demanded a newspaper.
- Plough something up – to uncover something by ploughing.
- The farmer ploughed some old coins up and took them to the museum to find out what they were.
- Plump something up – to pat or shake something like a pillow into a fuller shape.
- He plumped up his pillow.
- Point something up – Fig. to emphasize something; to emphasize one aspect of something.
- This is a very important thing to learn. Let me point it up one more time by drawing this diagram on the board.
- Post something up – to record a transaction in an account.
- I’ll post this charge up right away, and then you can check out.
- Pot something up – to put plants into pots.
- If you would like one of these tomato plants, I’ll pot one up for you.
- Pound something out – Fig. to play something loudly on the piano, perhaps with difficulty or clumsily.
- Here, pound this one out. A little softer, please.
Fig. to type something on a keyboard.
- I have finished writing it. Can I borrow your laptop so I can pound it out?
- Primp (oneself) up to get dressed up; to fix oneself up by combing, brushing, adjusting, etc.
- Let me stop in the powder room and primp myself up a bit.
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- Pucker up – to tighten one’s lips together into a circle as if to kiss.
- He puckered up and kissed her once, and then again.
Fig. (for something) to shrink up and get wrinkled.
- The top edge of the drapes puckered up and I don’t know how to straighten it out.
- Puff someone or something up – to boost or promote someone or something.
- Judy puffed Nell up so much that Nell could not begin to live up to her reputation.
- Put roots down – (some place) to settle down somewhere; to make a place one’s permanent home.
- I’m not ready to put roots down anywhere yet.
- I’m ready to put down roots some place.
- Put someone under – Fig. to anesthetize someone.
- They put him under with ether.
- Put something in – to submit something, such as an order, request, or demand.
- I put in a request for a new monitor.
- Puzzle something out – to figure something out.
- I can’t puzzle out the meaning of this argument.
- Quiz out (of something) – to earn permission to waive a college course by successful completion of a quiz or exam.
- Andrew was able to quiz out of calculus.
- Raffle something off – to give something away by a drawing or raffle.
- They are going to raffle off a television set this weekend at the school.
- Rain something down – (on someone or something) to pour something, such as criticism or praise, onto someone or something. (Based on rain down on someone or something.)
- The employees rained criticism down on the personnel manager for the new policy on sick leave.
- Rake something in – Fig. to take in a lot of something, usually money.
- Our candidate will rake votes in by the thousand.
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- Rake something off – to steal or embezzle a portion of a payment or an account.
- They claimed that no one was raking anything off and that the money was only mislaid.
- Ram something down – to pack something down by pounding, as with a ram.
- The worker used a pole to ram the earth down and pack it tight.
- Read someone out – (for something) to chastise someone verbally for doing something wrong.
- The coach read the player out for making a silly error.
- Ream something out – to widen or clean an interior cavity or channel by scraping, grinding, or drilling.
- Ream the opening out so the flow will be faster.
- Rein someone or something in – to bring someone or something under control; to slow down or hold back someone or something.
- Fred is getting out of hand. The boss undertook to rein him in a bit.
- The boss is trying to rein in Jane’s enthusiasm.
- Rein up (for a horse rider) – to stop.
- The equestrian reined up and dismounted.
- We all reined up and waited for the cars to pass by.
- Render something down – to cook the fat out of something.
- Polly rendered the chicken fat down to a bit of golden grease that she would use in cooking a special dish.
- Jane rendered down the fat for use later.
Fig. to reduce or simplify something to its essentials.
- Let’s render this problem down to the considerations that are important to us.
- Can’t we render down this matter into its essentials?
- Ride something out – to endure something unpleasant. (Originally referred to ships lasting out a storm.)
- It was a nasty situation, but the mayor tried to ride it out.
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- Rig something up – to prepare something, perhaps on short notice or without the proper materials.
- We don’t have rig something up what’s needed to make the kind of circuit you have described, but I think we can rig something up anyway.
- Rile someone up – to get someone excited and angry.
- He riles up everyone he talks to.
- Ring the curtain up – Fig. to raise the curtain in a theatre. (Alludes to sending the signal to raise the curtain.)
- The stagehand rang the curtain up precisely on time.
Fig. to start a series of activities or events.
- I am set to ring up the curtain on a new lifestyle.
- Roll along – Fig. (For something) to progress smoothly.
- The project is rolling along nicely.
- Roll one’s sleeves up – Fig. to prepare to get to work.
- Let’s roll our sleeves up and get this job done!
- Roll something over – Fig. to renew a financial instrument as it expires.
- Are you going to roll over your certificates of deposit?
- Room together (for two or more people) – to share a room, as in a college dormitory.
- Sarah and I roomed together in college.
- Rope something off – to isolate something with a rope barrier.
- The police roped the scene of the accident off.
- Rough someone up – to beat someone up; to maltreat someone.
- Am I going to have to rough you up, or will you cooperate?
- Rough something in – to construct or draw something initially, temporarily, or crudely.
- The carpenter roughed the doorways in without consulting the plans.
- Round something down – to reduce a fractional part of a number to the next lowest whole number.
- Please round down all figures having fractions less than one-half.
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- Round something off – to change a number to the next higher or lower whole number.
- I rounded off.
- Round something off – (with something) to finish something with something; to complement something with something.
- We rounded off the meal with a well-made dessert.
- Round something out – to complete or enhance something.
- We will round the evening out with dessert at a nice restaurant.
- Round something up – to collect a group of people or things; to organize people or things into a group.
- See if you can round some helpers up.
- Rub something in – Fig. to keep reminding one of one’s failures; to nag someone about something.
- I like to rub it in. You deserve it!
- Run along – to leave.
- I have to run along now. Good-bye.
- Run off – to flee.
- The children rang our doorbell and then ran off.
- They ran off as fast as they could.
To have diarrhoea.
- He said he was running off all night.
- One of the children was running off and had to stay home from school.
(For a fluid) to drain away from a flat area.
- By noon, all the rainwater had run off the playground.
- Run something back – to wind something back to the beginning.
- Can you run the tape back and listen to it again?
- Run something off – to get rid of something, such as fat or energy, by running.
- The little boys are very excited. Send them outside to run it off.
To duplicate something, using a mechanical duplicating machine.
- If the master copy is ready, I will run some other copies off.
- Rush something off – (to someone or something) to send something quickly to someone or something.
- I will rush your order off to you immediately.
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- Rust away – to dissolve away into rust.
- In a few years, this car will rust away if you don’t take care of it.
- Rust out – to develop holes or weak places owing to rust.
- Our hot water heater rusted out and flooded the basement.
- Rustle something up – to manage to prepare a meal, perhaps on short notice.
- I think I can rustle something up for dinner.
- Sally forth – to go forth; to leave and go out.
- The soldiers sallied forth from behind the stone wall.
- Salt something away – Fig. to store something; to place something in reserve.
- I need to salt some money away for my retirement.
- Salt something down – to place salt on something, such as icy roads.
- I won’t go out until they have salted the roads down.
- Sand something down – to make something smooth by rubbing it with sandpaper. (To act on the main body of the object, not the imperfections.)
- You should sand the board down before you paint it.
To remove bumps or imperfections on the surface of something by rubbing them with sandpaper. (To act on the imperfections, not the main body of the object.)
- Sand these bumps down, will you?
- Scab over (for a wound) to form a scab.
- The wound soon scabbed over and the injury was well on its way to healing.
- Scale something down – to reduce the size or cost of something.
- The bad economy forced us to scale the project down.
- Scare someone or something up – to search for and find someone or something.
- Go out in the kitchen and scare some food up.
- Scratch someone or something out – to mark out the name of someone or something.
- I scratched John out and wrote in George instead.
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- Scratch someone or something up – to damage or mar someone or something by scratching.
- Being thrown clear of the car in the accident didn’t break any bones, but it scratched her up a lot.
- Scream someone down – to scream loudly at someone; to outscream someone.
- They screamed her down and drove her from the platform.
- Screw someone or something up – Inf. to interfere with someone or something; to mess up someone or something.
- Try again and don’t screw it up this time.
- Screw someone up – Inf. to confuse someone mentally.
- Please don’t screw me up again!
- Screw up – Inf. to mess up.
- I hope I don’t screw up this time.
- The waiter screwed up again.
Inf. a mess; a blunder; utter confusion. (Usually screw-up.)
- This is the chef’s screw-up, not mine.
- Scrounge someone or something up – Fig. to find someone or something somewhere; to dig someone or something up.
- I can’t think of anyone just now, but I will scrounge someone up.
- Scrunch down – to squeeze or huddle down into a smaller shape.
- Mary scrunched down, trying to hide behind the chair.
- Scrunch something up – to crush or crunch up.
- I pounded the biscuits and scrunched them up into crumbs.
- Scuff something up – to scrape or scratch something.
- Please don’t scuff up my freshly polished floors!
- See someone off – to accompany one to the point of departure for a trip and say good-bye upon departure.
- We went to the train station to see Andy off.
- See something through – to follow through on something until it is completed.
- Mary is prepared to see the project through.
- Seize something up – to grab or take something.
- The crow seized the freshly hatched chick up and flew away.
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- Seize up – to freeze or halt; to grind suddenly to a stop.
- The engine seized up, and the car coasted to a stop.
- Sell out – (for an item) to be sold until there is no more.
- All the plastic hangers have sold out.
- Sell someone out – and sell someone down the river to betray someone; to reveal damaging information about someone.
- Bill told everything he knew about Bob, and that sold Bob down the river.
- You’ll be sorry if you sell me out.
- Sell something off – to sell all of something.
- We ended up with a large stock of out-of-style coats and we had to sell them all off at a loss.
- Sell something out – to sell all of something.
- Have they sold their supply out yet?
- Send someone or something along – to help someone or something continue along; to send someone.
- I knew it was time for Johnny to go home, so I sent him along.
- Send someone or something up – Fig. to parody or ridicule someone or something.
- Comedians love to send the president or some other famous person up.
- Send someone up – Fig. to mock or ridicule, particularly by imitation.
- Last week, he sent the prime minister up.
- Serve something out – to carry out one’s duty or responsibility for the whole time, all the way to the end.
- She was unable to serve her term out.
- Serve something up – to distribute or deliver food for people to eat.
- The cook served the stew up and then passed around the bread.
- Set in – to begin; to become fixed for a period of time.
- A severe cold spell set in early in November.
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- Set someone off – Fig. to cause someone to become very angry; to ignite someone’s anger.
- That kind of thing really sets me off!
- Your rude behaviour set off Mrs. Franklin.
Fig. to cause someone to start talking or lecturing about a particular subject.
- When I mentioned high taxes it really set Walter off. He talked and talked.
- Set someone up – to lead, by deception, a person to play a particular role in an event; to arrange an event, usually by deception, so that a specific person suffers the consequences for the event; to frame someone.
- I had nothing to do with the robbery! I was just standing there.
- Somebody must have set me up!
- John isn’t the one who started the fight. Somebody set up the poor guy.
- Set something back – and put something back – to set something, like a timepiece, to a lower number. (Put is less common.)
- It’s that time of year when you must set your clocks and watches back!
- Set back your clock tonight.
- Set something forth – to explain something; to present some information.
- She set her ideas forth in an organized and interesting manner.
- Set something off – Fig. to cause something to begin.
- The coach set the race off with a shot from the starting pistol.
Fig. to make something distinct or outstanding.
- The lovely stonework sets the fireplace off quite nicely.
- Set something up – Fig. to establish or found something.
- We set up a fund to buy food for the needy.
- Set to – to begin to fight; to attack or commence someone or something.
- The two boys set to almost as soon as they met each other.
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- Settle down – to settle into a stable way of life; to get married and settle into a stable way of life.
- Tom, don’t you think it’s about time you settled down and stopped all of this running around?
- Settle in – to become accustomed to one’s new surroundings; to get used to living in a place or a new dwelling.
- I need a little time to settle in, then I can think about buying a car.
- Sew someone or something up – Fig. to complete one’s dealings with or discussion of someone or something.
- It’s time to sew this up and go home.
- I think we can sew up the shipping contract this afternoon and get on to someone else.
- Shake a disease or illness off – Fig. (for the body) to fight off a disease or illness.
- I hope I can shake off this flu pretty soon.
- Shake someone down – to blackmail someone. (Underworld.)
- Fred was trying to shake Jane down, but she got the cops in on it.
- The police chief was trying to shake down just about everybody in town.
To put pressure on someone to lend one money.
- We tried to shake down Max for a few hundred, but no deal.
- Shake someone up – to shock or upset someone.
- The sight of the injured man shook me up.
- Shape someone up – to make someone behave or perform better.
- I’ve got to shape myself up to improve my health.
- Shape up – to improve; to reform.
- I want to get things shaped up around here.
- I guess I’d better shape up if I want to stay in school.
To assume a final form or structure.
- The game plan for the election was beginning to shape up.
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- Shook up – upset; shocked.
- I always get shook up when I see a bad accident.
- Shoot something down – Fig. to foil a plan through criticism; to counter an idea with criticism.
- He raised a good point, but the others shot him down immediately.
- Shoot something out – to stick, throw, or thrust something outward.
- The diamond shot bright shafts of light out when the sun fell on it.
To settle a matter by the use of guns.
- Bill and the cowboy went out in the street and shot it out.
- Shore someone up – Fig. to prop up or support someone.
- Mary’s solid character and personality helped shore her up during her recent problems with the law.
- Shore something up – to prop up or support something.
- The storm weakened the foundation of our house, and we had to have workers shore up the house.
- Shout someone or something down – to overwhelm someone or something by shouting.
- Mary shouted Sally down.
- Ann brought up a very important suggestion, but Bob shouted it down.
- Show someone up – to make someone’s faults or shortcomings apparent.
- John is always trying to show someone up to make himself look better.
- Sign in – to indicate that one has arrived somewhere and at what time by signing a piece of paper or a list.
- Please sign in so we will know you are here.
- Sign off – (for a broadcaster) to announce the end of programming for the day; (for an amateur radio operator) to announce the end of a transmission.
- Wally signed off and turned the transmitter off.
Fig. to quit doing what one has been doing and leave, go to bed, quit trying to do something, etc.
- I have to sign off and get to bed. See you all.
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- Sign on – to announce the beginning of a broadcast transmission.
- The announcer signed on and then played the anthem.
- Sign out – to indicate that one is leaving a place or going out temporarily by signing a piece of paper or a list.
- I forgot to sign out when I left.
- Sign someone in – to record that someone has arrived somewhere and at what time by recording the information on a paper or a list.
- I will sign you in. What is your name?
- Sign someone on – to employ someone; to recruit someone as an employee.
- How many workers did the manager sign on?
- Sign someone up – (for something) to record the agreement of someone, including oneself, to participate in something.
- Has anyone signed you up for the office picnic?
- Sign someone up – (with someone or something) to record the agreement of someone to join someone, a group of people, or an organization.
- I want to sign George up with our softball team.
- Sign something away – to sign a paper in which one gives away one’s rights to something.
- Valerie signed her rights away.
- Sign something in – to record that something has been received at a particular time by recording the information on a paper or a list.
- I have to sign this package in, then I will be right with you.
- Silt up (for a body of water) to become filled with silt.
- The river moved too fast to silt up.
- Simmer down – Fig. (for someone) to become calm or less agitated.
- I wish you would simmer down.
- Sink down – to sink or submerge.
- The sun sank down and darkness spread across the land.
- She sat in the chair and sank down, enjoying her moment of relaxation.
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- Sink in – Fig. (for knowledge) to be understood.
- I pay careful attention to everything I hear in calculus class, but it usually doesn’t sink in.
- Sit something out – not to participate in something; to wait until something is over before participating.
- Oh, please play with us. Don’t sit it out.
- Size someone or something up – to observe someone or something to get information.
- The comedian sized the audience up and decided not to use his new material.
- I like to size up a situation before I act.
- Skate around – to skate here and there in no particular direction.
- Let’s go over to the pond and skate around.
- Sketch something in – to draw in the image of someone or something.
- I sketched a figure of a woman in so that she appears to be standing beneath the tree.
- Slack off – to taper off; to reduce gradually.
- Business tends to slack off during the winter months.
(For someone) to become lazy or inefficient.
- Near the end of the school year, Sally began to slack off, and her grades showed it.
- Slap someone down – Fig. to squelch someone; to rebuke or rebuff someone.
- I had a great idea, but the boss slapped me down.
- Slash and burn – Lit. of a farming technique where vegetation is cut down and burned before crops are planted. (Hyphenated before nominals.)
The small farmers’ slash-and-burn technique destroyed thousands of acres of forest.
Fig. of a crude and brash way of doing something. (Hyphenated before nominals.)
- The new manager’s method was strictly slash and burn.
- Sleep in – to oversleep; to sleep late in the morning.
- If you sleep in again, you’ll get fired.
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- Sleep something away – to spend or waste a specific period of time sleeping.
- You can’t sleep the whole day away!
- Sleep something off – to sleep while the effects of liquor or drugs pass away.
- Bill is at home sleeping off the effects of the drug they gave him.
- Slick something up – to tidy up something or some place.
- I have to slick this house up a little.
- Slide by – to get along with a minimum of effort.
- She didn’t do a lot of work – she just slid by.
- Slink away – to creep or slither away furtively.
- The fox slunk away, leaving the henhouse quietly.
- Slink off – to creep away furtively.
- Carl was embarrassed and tried to slink off, but the ushers spotted him.
- Slip by someone or something – to move by someone or something quickly or unnoticed; to move through a tight area or past someone or something in a tight area.
- The hall was narrow, and I could hardly have slipped by.
(For time) to pass quickly or unnoticed.
- Goodness, almost an hour has slipped by! How time flies.
- Slip out – (for someone) to exit quietly without bothering anyone.
- I slipped out during intermission.
(For information) to be spoken without realizing that it is secret or privileged.
- The secret about her divorce slipped out when we were discussing old friends.
- Slither along – to slink or crawl along.
- The snake slithered along, unmindful of our presence.
- Slither away – to sneak or crawl away, like a snake.
- The little lizards slithered away soundlessly.
- Slop over – (for a liquid) to splash out of or overflow a container.
- Her cup slopped over and spilled its contents on the kitchen table.
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- Slosh over – (for a liquid) to splash over its container.
- The water in the wading pool sloshed over and made the grass slippery.
- Slosh something around – to cause a liquid to rush or splash in a container.
- The chef sloshed the dressing around a few times and poured it on the salad.
- Slouch down – to slump or droop down.
- Don’t always slouch down, Timmy! Stand up straight.
- Slouch over – to lean or crumple and fall to one side; (for someone) to collapse in a sitting position.
- He slouched over and went to sleep in his chair.
- Slough something off – to brush or rub something off.
- The snake sloughed its old skin off.
- It sloughed off its skin.
Fig. to ignore or disregard a negative remark or incident.
- I could see that the remark had hurt her feelings, but she just pretended to slough it off.
- Sluice something down – to rinse something down; to flood the surface of something with water or other liquid to clean it.
- John sluiced the driveway down.
- Sluice something out – to rinse something out; to flood the inside of something to clean it.
- Sluice the wheelbarrow out, will you?
- Smack someone down – Fig. to rebuke someone.
- She smacked him down by telling him that he didn’t fit in there anymore.
- He has a way of smacking down people who ask stupid questions.
- Snuggle down (into something) – to nestle into something, such as a warm bed.
- Toby snuggled down into his nice warm bed.
- Snuggle down (with someone) – to nestle (into something) with someone else.
- Billy snuggled down with his sister in the big feather bed.
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- Snuggle (up) against someone or something – to press or cuddle against someone or something, as if to keep warm.
- Tiffany snuggled up against Tad and asked him to give her some chewing gum.
- He snuggled against the warm wall on the other side of the fireplace.
- Sob something out – to speak something out while sobbing.
- Wally sobbed his story out while the police made notes.
- Sober someone up – Fig. to cause someone to face reality.
- The harsh reality of what had happened sobered him up.
- The arrival of the police sobered up all the revellers.
- Sober up – to recover from alcohol or drug intoxication.
- Barlow had one hour to sober up and get to the station.
- Sock someone or something in – (for fog) to cause someone or something to remain in place.
- The heavy fog socked us in for six hours.
- Sock something away – to place something, such as money, into reserve; to store something in a secure place.
- I try to sock a little money away each month for my vacation.
- I will sock away some money.
- Soften someone up – Fig. to prepare to persuade someone of something.
- I will talk to Fred and soften him up for your request.
- Sort oneself out to pull oneself together; to figure out what to do about one’s problems.
- I need a few days to sort myself out.
- Sound someone out – to try to find out what someone thinks (about something).
- I don’t know what Jane thinks about your suggestion, but I’ll sound her out.
- Soup something up – to increase the power of something.
- He souped his car up so it will do nearly 155 miles per hour.
- If only I could soup up this computer to run just a little faster.
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- Space someone out – to cause someone to become giddy.
- The circus clowns just spaced me out.
- Spell someone down – to win over someone in a spelling match.
- Frank spelled everyone else down and won the spelling bee.
- Spell something out – Fig. to give all the details of something.
- I want you to understand this completely, so I’m going to spell it out very carefully.
- Spice something up – Fig. to make something more interesting and lively.
- She spiced up each lecture with a joke.
- Spiel something off – to recite a list of things very rapidly; to recite something very rapidly.
- I used to be able to spiel the names of the presidents off.
- Spiff something up – to polish and groom something very well; to make something clean and tidy.
- See if you can spiff this place up a little.
- Spirit someone or something away – (somewhere) to sneak someone or something away to another place.
- The police spirited the prisoner away before the crowd assembled in front of the jail.
- Spirit someone or something off – (to some place) to hurry someone or something away, presumably unnoticed, to another place.
- Aunt Jane spirited the children off to bed at half-past eight.
- Splay out to – spread out; to extend out at an angle.
- His feet splayed out so much that it was hard to see how he could stand up.
- The legs of the table splayed out and gave it sturdy support.
- Splice something together – to connect things together, usually by twisting or tying a joint between the two.
- I spent over an hour splicing the two ends of the ropes together, and it didn’t hold for even a minute.
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- Split people up – to separate two or more people (from one another).
If you two don’t stop chattering, I’ll have to split you up.
- Spout something out – Fig. to blurt something out; to speak out suddenly, revealing some important piece of information.
- She spouted the name of the secret agent out under the effects of the drug.
- She spouted out everything we wanted to know.
- Spruce someone or something up – Fig. to refurbish or renew someone or something.
- Do you think we should spruce this room up a little?
- Sputter out (for a flame) to go out in little puffs.
- The fire sputtered out after midnight and we all got very cold before dawn.
- Square someone away – to get someone or something arranged or properly taken care of.
- See if you can square Bob away in his new office.
- Squirrel something away – Fig. to hide something or store something in the way that a squirrel stores nuts for use in the winter.
- I squirreled a little money away for an occasion such as this.
- Stamp something out – Fig. eliminate something.
- The doctors hope they can stamp cancer out.
- Stare someone down – pressure someone to capitulate, back down, or yield by staring.
- Don’t try to stare me down. I have nerves of steel.
- Stave someone or something off – hold someone or something off; to defend against the attack of someone or something.
- The citizen was not able to stave the mugger off.
- Step something down – reduce the intensity or amount of something by one step or grade.
- See if you can step the lights down a little.
- Step something up – make something more active.
- I hope we can step the pace of business up in the next few days.
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To make something go or run faster.
- The engineer stepped the motors up and the production line moved even faster.
- Stick someone or something up – to rob someone or a business establishment. (Presumably with the aid of a gun.)
- Max tried to stick the drugstore up.
- Stick something out – to endure something; to stay with something. (The ‘something’ can be vaguely expressed using it.)
- I will stick it out as long as I can.
- Stow away – to conceal oneself in a vehicle, originally a ship, in order to travel without paying.
- Don got to this country by stowing away on a cargo ship.
- Straighten out – to become straight. The road finally straightened out. To improve one’s behaviour or attitude.
- I hope he straightens out before he gets himself into real trouble.
- Straighten someone out – to cause someone to behave better or to have a better attitude; to reform someone.
- You are terrible. Someone is going to have to straighten you out!
To help someone become less confused about something.
Can you straighten me out on this matter?
- String someone along – to maintain someone’s attention or interest, probably insincerely.
- You are just stringing me along because you like to borrow my car. You are not a real friend.
- Suck someone in – and take someone in – to deceive someone.
- I think that someone sucked in both of them. I don’t know why they bought this car.
- Swallow someone or something up – Fig. to engulf or contain something.
- The vast garage seemed to swallow the cars up.
- Sweat something off – Fig. to get rid of excess fat or weight by exercising or taking a steam bath to produce sweat.
- I think I can sweat a lot of this fat off.
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- Sweat something out – Fig. to endure something unpleasant.
- It was an ordeal, but I sweated it out. Fig. to endure suspense about something.
- She sweated the two-hour wait out until she heard the results of her bar exams.
- Switch someone or something off – to cause someone or something to be quiet or stop doing something.
- I got tired of listening to her, so I punched the button and switched her off.
- Tamp something down – to pat or pack something down.
Tamp the soil down over the seeds after you plant them.
- Tear someone or something down – to criticize or degrade someone or something.
- Tom is always tearing Jane tamp something down
- Tear someone up – Fig. to cause someone much grief.
- The news of Tom’s death really tore Bill up.
- Tear something up – to rip someone or something to pieces.
- The two drunks tore the bar up in their brawling.
- Tease something out – Fig. to separate threads or hairs by combing.
- The hairdresser teased Jill’s hair out carefully.
- Tee off – to start the first hole in a game of golf.
- It’s time to tee off. Let’s get on the course.
Fig. to begin (doing anything); to be the first one to start something.
- The master of ceremonies teed off with a few jokes and then introduced the first act.
- Tell someone off – to scold someone; to attack someone verbally. (This has a sense of finality about it.)
- I was so mad at Bob that I told him off.
- Thaw out – to warm up from being frozen.
- How long will it take for the chicken to thaw out?
- Thicken something up – to make something, such as a fluid, thicker.
- I have to thicken this gravy up before we can serve dinner.
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To make something wider.
- See this line here? You need to thicken it up so that it shows more clearly.
- Take off – Fig. (for someone) to leave in a hurry.
- She really took off from there quickly.
- I’ve got to take off—I’m late.
Fig. (for something) to start selling well.
- The fluffy dog dolls began to take off, and we sold out the lot.
Fig. to become active and exciting.
- Did the party ever take off, or was it dull all night?
- Take someone aside – to remove someone temporarily from the group for the purposes of discussing something privately.
- I’m sorry he insulted you. I’ll take him aside and talk to him about it.
- Take someone on – to enter into a fight or argument with someone.
- I pretended to agree because I really didn’t want to take him on.
To employ someone.
- I think we could take you on as an assistant editor, but it doesn’t pay very well.
- Take someone out – to date someone.
- I hope he’ll take me out soon.
- She wanted to take out her guest for the evening.
Sl. to kill someone. (Underworld.)
- Guttmann told Lefty to take Max out.
- Take someone up – to discuss or deal with someone.
- Are we going to take Bill up today at the board meeting?
- Take something apart – Fig. to damage or ruin something.
- The wreck took both cars apart.
- The high wind took apart the roof and the fence.
Fig. to criticize something severely.
- The critic took the play apart.
- Take something up – (for someone or a group) to deliberate something.
- When will the board of directors take this up?
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- Talk someone down – to win at debating someone.
- Liz was able to talk her opponent down.
- She talked down her opponent.
To direct a novice pilot to make a safe landing by giving spoken instructions over the airplane’s radio.
- The people on the ground talked down the amateur pilot successfully.
To convince someone to lower the price of something.
- Talk someone or something up – to promote or speak in support of someone or something.
- I’ve been talking the party up all day, trying to get people to come.
- They keep talking up the candidate as if he represented a real change.
- Talk something through – to discuss something in detail.
- Let’s talk the issue through and get it decided.
To get something approved by talking convincingly.
- The board was reluctant to approve it, but I talked it through.
- Tally something up – to add something up.
- Please tally everything up and tell me the total.
- Thin something out – to make something less dense; to scatter something.
- You will have to thin the young plants out, because there is not room for all of them.
- Think something out – to think through something; to prepare a plan or scheme.
- This is an interesting problem. I’ll have to take some time and think it out.
- Think something through – to run over and try to settle something in one’s mind.
- Let me think this through and call you in the morning.
- Think something up – to contrive or invent something.
- Don’t worry. I’ll think something up in time to get it done.
- Thrash something out – Fig. to discuss something thoroughly and solve any problems.
- The committee took hours to thrash the whole matter out.
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- Throw someone off – to interrupt and confuse someone; to mislead someone.
- The interruption threw me off, and I lost my place in the speech.
- Little noises throw me off, please try to be quiet.
- Throw something up – build or erect something in a hurry.
- They sure threw that building up in a hurry.
To vomit something.
- He threw up his dinner.
- Tie something up – Fig. conclude and finalize something.
- Let’s try to tie up this deal by Thursday.
Fig. to block or impede something, such as traffic or progress.
- The stalled bus tied traffic up for over an hour.
- Tighten up – Fig. (for someone or a group) become miserly.
- The government tightened up and our budget was slashed.
- We almost went out of business because the bank tightened up.
Fig. (for someone or something) become more restrictive.
- The boss is tightening up on new hiring.
- Time someone in – record someone’s arrival time.
- I timed you in at noon. Where were you?
- Time someone out – record someone’s departure time.
- Harry had to time everyone out because the time clock was broken.
- Toddle along – to walk along in an unconcerned manner.
- Kathleen was just toddling along, minding her own business.
To walk away.
- Why don’t you toddle along now and let me get some work done?
- Tone someone or something up – make someone or something stronger or fitter muscularly.
- I suggested an exercise that would tone him up and make him feel better.
- The exercises toned up his tummy muscles.
- Tone something down – cause something to have less of an impact on the senses of sight or sound; to lessen the impact of something prepared for public performance or consumption.
- This is rather shocking. You had better tone it down a bit.
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- Tool up – to become equipped with tools.
- The factory tooled up to make the new cars in only two weeks.
- Tool something up – to equip a factory or production line with particular tools and machines, as for new products.
- The manager closed down the factory so she could tool it up for the new models.
- Top something off – to add to the difficulty of something.
- I had a bad day, and to top it off, I have to go to a meeting tonight.
- Touch someone or something off – Fig. to ignite or excite someone or something; to excite anger or chaos.
- She is very excitable. The slightest thing will touch her off.
- Touch something up – to fix up the minor flaws in something; to repair a paint job on something.
- It’s only a little scratch in the finish. We can touch it up easily.
- Toughen someone or something up – to cause someone or something to be stronger, more uncompromising, or more severe.
- A few days behind the service counter at the discount store will toughen her up quickly.
- Having to deal with complaints toughened up the clerk quickly.
- Trade something off – Fig. to sacrifice something in an exchange.
- You may end up trading job security off for more money.
- Trigger someone off – to cause someone to become angry.
- Your rude comments triggered her off.
- Your comments triggered off Bob’s temper.
- Trigger something off – to set something off, such as an explosion.
- We were afraid that the sparks from the engine would trigger an explosion off.
- The sparks triggered off an explosion.
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- Trot something out – Fig. to mention something regularly or habitually, without giving it much thought. (Fig. on the image of trotting out a pony for display.)
- When James disagreed with Mary, she simply trotted her same old political arguments out.
- True something up – straighten something up; put something into true plumb.
- Please true this door frame up better before you hang the door.
- Trump something up – promote or boost something.
- They think they have to trump something up to get people to see it.
- They trumped up the movie so much that many people were disappointed when it finally came out.
To think something up; to contrive something.
- Do you just sit around trumping charges up against innocent people?
- Tune someone or something out – put someone or something out of one’s consciousness; to cease paying attention to someone or something.
- I had to tune the radio out in order to concentrate.
- Tune something up – Fig. adjust an engine to run the best and most efficiently.
- Please tune up this engine so it will run more economically.
- Tune something up – tune up (for one or more musicians) to bring their instruments into tune.
- You could hear the orchestra behind the curtain, tuning up.
- Turn someone or something in – (to someone or something) submit or refer someone or something to someone or a group, especially in some official capacity.
- The good citizen turned his neighbour in for watering his lawn during the wrong hours.
- Turn someone or something over to someone or something – release or assign someone or something to someone or something; to transfer or deliver someone or something to someone or something.
- The deputy turned the bank robber over to the sheriff.
- I turned over the money I found to the police.
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- Urge someone along – to encourage someone to continue or go faster.
- We urged them along with much encouragement.
- Urge someone forward – to encourage someone to move forward.
- The generals urged the troops forward.
- Use someone up – Fig. to use all the effort or talent a person has.
- I used myself up. I’m done. I can’t function anymore.
- Use something up – to consume or use all of something.
- Use the flour up. I have more in the cupboard.
- Usher someone or something into some place and usher someone or something in – to escort or lead a person, a group, or something into a place.
- The guard ushered the group into the palace.
- Usher someone or something out of some place and usher someone or something out – to escort or lead someone or a group out of a place.
We ushered them from the room.
- Vacuum something out – clean an enclosed area out with a vacuum cleaner.
- Can you vacuum out the car?
- Vacuum something up – (from something) clean something up from something with a vacuum cleaner.
- He vacuumed up the birdseed from the kitchen floor.
- Venture forth – Fig. to set out; to go forward; go out cautiously.
- George ventured forth into the night.
- I think I will venture forth. It looks safe.
Fig. to go forth bravely.
- Let us venture forth and conquer the enemy.
- Vomit something out – Fig. (for something) spill forth a great deal of something.
- The volcano vomited the lava out for days.
- Vote someone or something down – defeat someone or something in an election.
- The community voted the proposal down.
- Vote something through – get something through a set of procedures by voting in favour of it.
- They were not able to vote the bill through.
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- Wait something out – to wait until something ends.
- I will wait the summer out, and if nothing happens, I’ll write again.
- Wake someone or an animal up – to cause someone or an animal to awaken.
- Please don’t wake me up until noon.
- Wake up – to awaken, to become alert.
- Wake up! We have to get on the road.
- Walk off to walk away – to leave on foot abruptly.
- She didn’t even say good-bye. She just walked off.
- Wall someone or something in – to contain someone or something behind or within a wall. (Implies a constriction of space, but not necessarily an inescapable area.)
- The count walled his prisoner in permanently.
- Jane decided to wall in the little garden at the side of the house.
- Wall someone or something off – to separate or segregate someone or something by building a wall.
- She sat right across from me at her desk, listening to every phone call I made. Finally, the manager walled her off so we now can carry on our business in privacy.
- Wall something up – to seal something up behind a wall.
- We simply walled the old furnace up. It was cheaper than removing it. To fill up an opening, such as a window or door, by building a wall.
- We will have to hire someone to wall the doorway up.
- Warm someone or something up – Fig. to help someone get physically prepared to perform in an athletic event. (As if exercising or loosening up someone’s muscles.)
- The referee told the coach to warm his team up so the game could begin.
- You have to warm up the team before a game.
- Be sure to warm yourself up before playing.
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- Warn someone off – to advise a person to stay away.
- We placed a guard outside the door to warn people off until the gas leak could be fixed.
- Wash (someone) out – to deplete the strength or vitality
- Wash someone up – to terminate someone in something.
- This error is going to wash you up as an account executive.
- Problems like this have washed up quite a few careers.
- Wash something out – Fig. to rain on or flood an event so that it must be cancelled.
- Rain washed the game out.
- The storm washed out the picnic.
To wash or erode something out or away.
- The flood washed the new bushes out.
- Waste something away – to use something up wastefully; to dissipate something.
- He wasted all his money away and had to live in poverty.
- Water something down – to dilute something.
- Who watered the orange juice down?
- Jim watered down the orange juice.
Fig. to reduce the effectiveness or force of something.
- Please don’t water my declaration down.
- Wave someone or something aside – make a signal with the hand for someone or something to move aside.
- The police officer waved us aside and would not let us turn into our street.
- The officer waved aside the spectators.
- Wave someone or something off – to make a signal with the hand for someone or something to remain at a distance.
- There was someone standing in front of the bridge, waving everyone off.
- Wear down – Fig. to break down with wear; to erode.
- The steps had worn down so much that each one was curved and slanted dangerously.
- Wear off (for the effects of something) – to become less; to stop gradually.
- The effects of the painkiller wore off and my tooth began to hurt.
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- Wear out – to become worn from use; to become diminished or useless from use.
- My car engine is about to wear out.
- Wear someone down – Fig. to exhaust someone.
- This hot weather wears me down.
- The steamy weather wore down the tourists and made them stay in their hotels.
Fig. to reduce someone to submission or agreement by constant badgering.
- Finally they wore me down and I told them what they wanted to know.
- Wear someone out – Fig. to exhaust someone; to make someone tired.
- If he wears out everybody on the team, nobody will be left to play in the game.
- Wear something out – to make something worthless or non-functional from use.
- I wore my shoes out in no time at all.
- Weed someone or something out – Fig. to remove someone or something unwanted or undesirable from a group or collection.
- We had to weed the less productive workers out one by one.
- The auditions were held to weed out the actors with the least ability.
- Weigh someone down – Fig. (for a thought) to worry or depress someone.
- All these problems really weigh me down.
- Weigh someone or something down – to burden someone or something.
- The heavy burden weighed the poor donkey down.
- Whip around – to reverse suddenly. (As with the tip of a whip.)
- A branch whipped around and tore my shirt.
To turn around very quickly and suddenly.
- John whipped around when he heard the noise.
Whip up – prepare, create, or put something together
- Wind down – start running or operating slower.
- Things will begin to wind down at the end of the summer. As things wind down, life will be a lot easier.
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- Wind something down – to slow something down; to make something less hectic.
- Let’s wind this party down and try to get people to go home. It’s really late.
- Wind someone up – get someone excited
- That kind of music really winds me up!
- to get someone set to do a lot of talking. (Fig. on winding up a clock.) The excitement of the day wound Kelly up and she talked almost all night.
- Wind something up – tighten the spring in something such as a watch or a clock.
- Wind up your watch before you forget.
Fig. to conclude something.
- Today we’ll wind that deal up with the bank.
- Wipe out – crash
- I wiped out on the curve.
- The car wiped out on the curve.
- Wipe someone out – to kill someone
- Max intended to wipe Lefty’s gang out.
- Lefty wiped out Max’s gang.
- Wipe something up – clean something up by wiping
- Please wipe that spilled milk up.
- Jim wiped up the spill.
To clean something dirty by wiping.
- The floor was sticky so I wiped it up.
- Wire something in – send something into a central point by telegram
- I can’t mail my story to my editor in time, so I will have to wire it in.
- Wire something together – bind the pieces of something together with wire; to bind things together with wire
- I wired the car’s exhaust pipe together, hoping to get a few more miles out of it.
- Wire something up – repair or reattach something with wire, especially something electrical
- I will wire this light fixture up and it will work like new.
List of Phrasal Verbs (56)
- Wish someone or something away – wish that someone or something would go away
- You can’t just wish him away. You’ll have to ask him to leave!
- Don’t try to wish away the difficulties of your life.
- Wolf something down – eat something very rapidly and in very large pieces like a wolf
- Liz would never wolf down her food.
Work oneself up – allow oneself to become emotionally upset
- Don’t work yourself up over Sally. She’s not worth it.
- Work someone over – threaten, intimidate, or beat someone
- Walt threatened to work Sam over.
- Max had worked over Sam, and Sam knew that this was no idle threat
- Work someone up – get someone ready for something, especially medical treatment
- The staff worked up three patients for surgery that morning.
- The doctor told the nurse to work Mr. Franklin up for surgery.
- Work something down – lower or reduce something, especially an amount of money
- Over a few months, they worked the price down, and the house soon was sold.
- Work something off – get rid of anger, anxiety, or energy by doing physical activity
- I was so mad! I went out and played basketball to work my anger off.
Fig. to pay off a debt through work rather than by money.
- I had no money so I had to work the bill off by washing dishes.
- Work something out – (with someone) to come to an agreement with someone; to figure out with someone a way to do something.
- I think we can work this out with you so that all of us are satisfied.
- Work something over – to rework something.
- He saved the play by working the second act over.
- Would you work over this report and see if you can improve it?
List of Phrasal Verbs (57)
- Work something up – to prepare something, perhaps on short notice
- We need to make a presentation. Do you think you can work something up by then?
- Wrap something up – to complete work on something; to bring something to an end.
- I will wrap the job up this morning. I’ll call you when I finish
- Write someone or something off – to drop someone or something from consideration
- I wrote off that piece of swampy land as worthless. It can’t be used for anything.
- Write something off – to absorb a debt or a loss in accounting
- The bill couldn’t be collected, so we had to write it off.
- The bill was too large, and we couldn’t write off the amount.
- Write something up – prepare a bill, order, or statement.
- Please write the order up and send me a copy.
- Yank around – to harass someone; to give someone a hard time
- Please stop yanking me around.
- Yank something off – to pull or jerk off something, such as a piece of clothing.
- She yanked her jacket off.
- Zero in (on) – to aim directly at someone or something
- The television camera zeroed in on the little boy scratching his head.
- The commercial zeroed in on the glass of cola.
- Zone off – create a special zone in an area
- The council zoned part of the land off for a park.
- Zoom along – to move along very rapidly
- The bus zoomed along rapidly all night long.
- Zoom off – to leave in a hurry.
- I have to zoom off.
- Zoom up – drive or pull up to a place
- A car zoomed up, and seven kids got out.
Phrasal Verbs: An Exhaustive List?
Wow! What a long list of Phrasal Verbs we have got here! The ironical thing, however, is that we still have as much Phrasal Verbs in English that are not listed here! A language scholar, Richard A. Spears, PhD has put together an exhaustive compilation (presumably) of English Phrasal Verbs and their meanings from where I sourced the ones listed above. Expand your knowledge by taking a look at it; he calls it Essential Phrasal Verb Dictionary.