PHRASAL VERBS

L'Assemblée Nationale ; —or — Grand Co-operati...

L’Assemblée Nationale ; —or — Grand Co-operative Meeting at St. Ann’s Hill. — Respectfully Dedicated to the admirers of “A Broad-Bottom’s Administration.” Print shows a reception given by Charles James Fox and wife for various groups and friends of the Prince of Wales, all opposed to the government. Caricature of James Gillray, 1851. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Explosions in the Sky

Explosions in the Sky (Photo credit: greenplastic875)

Redu, le village en hiver.

Redu, le village en hiver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Phrasal Verb Meaning Example
back away Move backwards, in fear or dislike When he saw the dog, he backed away.
back down Withdraw; concede defeat. Local authorities backed down on their plans to demolish the cinema.
back up 1) Give support or encouragement2) make a copy of (file, program…) 1) If I tell the boss we’ve got too much work, will you back me up?
2) It is recommended to back up all files.
bail out 1) Pay money to secure someone’s release2) Rescue from financial difficulties 1) When he was arrested, his family refused to bail him out.
2) The government bailed out the bank.
bank on Base your hopes on something/someone. Don’t forget the date. I’m banking on your help.
beef up Improve or make more substantial He beefed up his presentation with diagrams and statistics.
black out Faint; lose consciousness When he fell off the horse, he blacked out.
block off Separate using a barrier. The area was blocked off during the demonstration.
blow up 1) Explode.2) Be destroyed by an explosion. 1) The terrorists said the bomb wouldblow up at 9 o’clock.
2) The car blew up but luckily there was nobody in it.
boil down to Be summarized as The problem boils down to a lack of money.
boot up  Start a computer by loading an operating system or program. Just give me a few minutes to boot up the computer.
break away Escape from captivity. A few horses broke away from the paddock.
break down 1) Go out of order, cease to function.2) Lose control of one’s emotions. 1) John’s car broke down on the way to the airport.
2) The parents broke down when they heard the bad news.
break into Enter by force. The burglars broke into the house around midnight.
break off 1) Stop, discontinue2) Stop speaking 1) It was decided to break off diplomatic relations with that country.
2) She broke off in the middle of a sentence.
break out Start suddenly. Riioting broke out as a result of the strike.
break out of Escape from a place by force. Three prisoners broke out of jail.
break up Come to an end (marriage, relationship…) After her marriage broke up, Emma went to live in London.
bring up Raise (a child). She stopped working in order to bring upher children.
brush up on Improve, refresh one’s knowledge of something. Mary decided to brush up on her Spanish before going to South-America.
bump into Meet by accident or unexpectedly. Pedro bumped into his English teacher at the supermarket.
burn out 1) Stop (something) working2) Become exhausted from overworking 1) The fuse has burnt out.
2) Tom will burn himself out if he doesn’t slow down.
butt in (on) Interrupt impolitely. It’s rude to butt in on a conversation.
Phrasal Verb Meaning Example
call back Return a phone call  I’ll call you back as soon as possible.
call off Cancel The meeting was called off because of the strike.
call on/upon Formally invite or request. I now call upon the President to address the assembly.
calm down Become more relaxed or less angry/upset. He was angry at first, but he eventuallycalmed down.
carry on Continue. He carried on gardening in spite of the rain.
carry out 1) Do something as specified (plan, order, threat…)
2) Perform or conduct (test, experiment …)
1) The plan was carried out to perfection.
2) Tests are carried out to determine the efficiency of a new drug.
carry over Postpone until later. As regards holiays, can we carry over days from one year to the next?
check in Register at a hotel or airport. For security reasons, you have to check intwo hours before your flight.
check out 1) Pay one’s bill and leave (a hotel)2) Investigate or verify. 1) Is Mr. Bush still at the hotel? No, hechecked out this morning.
2) I don’t know if the address is still valid.
I’ll check it out.
clam up Refuse to speak. When the teacher arrived, she clammed up.
clamp down on Act strictly to prevent something. The government decided to clamp down onsmoking in public areas.
close down Stop operating (company, restaurant, cinema …) When the factory closed down, the employees lost their jobs.
come across 1) Find by chance.2) Appear, seem, make an impression. 1) Julie came across some photographs of her grandparents in the attic.
2) The candidate came across as a dynamic person during the interview.
come forward Present oneself. The police have asked any witnesses to come forward.
come up against Be faced with or opposed by. The project came up against a lot of criticism.
conk out 1) Stop working.2) Stop or fall asleep (from exhaustion). 1) The car conked out on the motorway.
2) He was so exhausted, he conked out in front of the TV.
count on Rely or depend on. I’m counting on the taxi driver to find the theatre.
cross out Remove by drawing a line through. In some exercises you are asked to cross outthe incorrect word.
cut down on Reduce in number or size. The doctor told him to cut down oncigarettes.
cut out 1) Remove using scissors.
2) Stop doing something.
1) She cut out a picture in a magazine.
2) I’m going to cut out eating sweet food.
deal with Handle, take care of (problem, situation) The manager is good at dealing with difficult customers.
die down Calm down, become less strong. When the applause died down, she started to sing.
dig into 1) Try to find deep inside something.2) Start to do something.

3) Take from something.

1) He dug into his pocket and found a coin.2) It was time to dig into the work that had accumulated on her desk.

3) Dad had to dig into his savings to repair the roof.

dig up 1) Break up the soil/remove by digging.2) Discover or reveal information. 1) He tried to dig up the tree by its roots.2) Some newspapers often try to dig upscandalous information.
dish out Distribute or give away a lot. He spent the day dishing out invitations to tourists.
do without Manage without. The shops are closed so we’ll have to
do without sugar.
drag on Last longer than expected. We expected a short speech but it dragged onand on!
drag out 1) Make something longer than necessary.2) Make someone reveal or give information unwillingly. 1) Let’s decide now and not drag out this discussion.2) The police finally dragged out a confession from the suspect.
draw up Write (contract, agreement, document). An agreement as drawn up and signed by the two parties.
dress up 1) Wear elegant clothes.2) Disguise oneself. 1) Do people dress up to go to the opera in your country?
2) Children love to dress up at Halloween.
drift apart Become less and less close. We were childhood friends but we drifted apart over the years.
drift off Gradually fall asleep. He sat back, closed his eyes and drifted off.
drive at Insinuate;  be trying to say. What exactly are you driving at?
drop behind Fall into a position behind others. Our sales have dropped behind those of our competitors.
drop in Visit, usually on the way somewhere. I sometimes drop in to see my grandparents on my way home from school.
drop off 1) Deliver someone or something.2) Fall asleep. 1) I’ll drop you off at the bus stop if you like.2) Granddad often drops off in front of the TV.
drop out Leave school without finishing. She decided to go to art school, then dropped out after the first term.
drown out Be louder in order to cover another sound. She turned up the music to drown out the noise of the children outside.
hand back Return She read the article and then handed it back.
hand down Pass on (by tradition, inheritance…) My clothes were handed down to me by my older sister.
hand in Submit (report, homework) All application forms must be handed inbefore the end of the month.
hand out Distribute Samples will be handed out at the end
of the demonstration.
hand over Give to someone in authority. The boy was forced to hand over the mobile phone he had stolen.
hang back Be reluctant to do something All the children rushed towards the clown except one boy who hung back.
hang on Wait Hang on a minute. I’m early ready.
hang on (to) Keep a hold on something Hang on to that rope and you’ll be ok.
hang out Spend time in a particular place or with a group of friends Where does he hang out these days?
Who does he hang out with?
hang up End a telephone conversation Don’t hang up. I haven’t finished yet.
head off Start to go somewhere. He headed off to the train station.
head for Go/move in a certain direction. The boat was heading for the rocks.
hit at Aim a blow at something. He hit at the wasp with a newspaper.
hit back Retaliate / reply to an attack When he was attacked, the boy hit back.
hit on/upon Find unexpectedly or by inspiration She hit upon an idea for her new collection.
hold on 1) Wait2) Grip tightly 1) Hold on please. I’ll put you through to Mr. Brown.
2) She held on to the railing as she crossed the bridge.
hold up Show as a example  She held up the diagram for all to see.
hook up Fasten (a garment) I need help to hook up my dress.
hook up (with) Link broadcasting facilities Many networks are hooked up by satellite.
hurry up Be quick / act speedily Hurry up! We’ll miss the bus!
take after Resemble in appearance or character Jamie really takes after his dad.
take care of Look after I’ll take care of your plants while you’re away.
take off Leave the ground The plane took off at 7 o’clock.
take on Hire or engage staff Business is good so the company is taking on extra staff.
take out Remove / extract She took out a pen to note the address.
tell off Reprimand / criticize severely The teacher told her off for not doing her homework.
test out Carry out an experiment The theory hasn’t been tested out yet.
think over Consider I’ll have to think over the proposal before I decide.
throw away Discard as useless or unwanted. You can throw away that book – it’s a load of rubbish!
throw up Vomit / be sick I nearly threw up when I saw the injured passengers.
tire out Exhaust completely The children tired out their grandmother.
touch down Land on the runway The plane touched down exactly on time.
toy with Think about, without serious intent I’ve been toying with the idea of starting to walk to work.
track down Find by searching The police finally tracked down the main suspect.
trade in Give as part payment for a new article. traded in my car for a new model.
try on Put on or wear something to see if it suits
or fits
I’m not sure about the size.  Can I try it on?
turn away Refuse entrance to someone Hundreds of fans were turned away from the football stadium.
turn down 1)Lower the volume.2)Refuse 1)Please turn down the music;  it’s too loud.
2) I couldn’t turn down an offer like that!
turn off Stop by turning a switch, tap or knob. Turn off the lights please before you leave.
turn up 1) Arrive, apppear2) Raise the volume 1) She turned up an hour late.2) Could you turn up the radio please?
use up Finish a product ( so that there’s none left) The kids have used up all the toothpaste.
vie with Compete or rival with someone The athletes vied with each other for first place.
vouch for Express confidence in, or guarantee something You can give the keys to Andy.  I can vouch for him.
ward off Keep away or repel (something dangerous or unpeasant). I take plenty of vitamin C to ward off colds.
warm up 1) Reheat something.
2) Make more lively or more relaxed.
1) She warmed up some left-over soup.
2) He told a  few jokes to warm up the atmosphere.
wash up Wash the dishes after a meal. Who’s going to help me wash up?
watch out Be careful Watch out! There’s a car coming.
water down 1) Dilute or make weaker by adding water2) Make less severe 1) If you water down the medicine it will be easier to take.
2) He watered down his remarks so as not to offend anyone.
wear out 1) Become unusable
2) Become very tired
1) Julie wore out her shoes sightseeing.
2) At the end of the day Julie was worn out.
whip up Prepare quickly. I can whip up something to eat if you’re hungry.
wolf down Eat greedily and quickly. The boys wolfed down the whole cake in no time!
work out 1) Do physical exercise
2) Find a solution or calculate something
1) I work out twice a week at the gym club.
2) It’s expensive but I haven’t worked out the exact cost yet.
wind up Finish or put an end to something – Before winding up his speech he thanked everyone for their presence.
– He decided to wind up his business and retire.
wind up Arrive finally in a place. We finally wound up in a village with a spectacular view.
wipe off Clean (board, table) The teacher asked Lee to wipe off the board.
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