<< Back to Index

An Extensive List of Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verb Meaning Example
abide by To respect or obey a decision, a law or a rule If you want to keep your job here, you must abide by our rules.
account for To explain, give a reason I hope you can account for the time you were out!
add up To make sense, seem reasonable The facts in the case just don’t add up.
advise against To recommend not doing something I advise against walking alone in this neighborhood.
agree with To have the same opinion as someone else. I agree with you. I think you should go as well.
allow for To take into consideration We need to allow for unexpected charges along the way.
appeal to
  1. To plead or make a request
  2. To be attractive or interesting
  1. He appealed to the court to change its decision.
  2. A vacation of sunbathing doesn’t appeal to me.
apply for To make a formal request for something (job, permit, loan etc.) He applied for a scholarship for next semester.
back away To move backwards, in fear or dislike When he saw the bear, he backed away in fright.
back down To withdraw, concede defeat Local authorities backed down on their threats to build on that part of the beach.
back up
  1. To give support or encouragement
  2. To make a copy of (file, program, etc.)
  1. I’m going to be very strict with him. I hope you’ll back me up on this?
  2. You should back up all your computer files in a secure location.
bank on To base your hopes on something / someone I’m banking on you to help with the charity event.
black out To faint, lose consciousness Jenna fell in the parking lot and blacked out.
block off To separate using a barrier. The police blocked off the street after the explosion.
blow up
  1. To explode
  2. To get angry
  1. Tommy blew up the red balloon.
  2. Don’t blow up at me. It’s not my fault.
boil down to To be summarized as It all boils down to who has more power.
boot up To start a computer by loading an operating system or program You need to boot up your computer before you begin to work.
break away To separate from a crowd One of the wolves broke away from his pack.
break down
  1. To go out of order, cease to function
  2. To lose control of one’s emotions
  1. The washing machine broke down so we had to call in the repair technician.
  2. John broke down when he heard the news.
break into To enter by force Burglars broke into my car last night.
break out To start suddenly Rioting broke out after the government raised the fuel prices again.
break out of To escape from a place by force Several prisoners broke out of jail.
break up To come to an end (marriage, relationship) She broke up with Daniel after dating him for five years.
bring up To raise (a child) Sara is bringing up her children by herself.
brush up on To improve, refresh one’s knowledge of something I must brush up on my French before going to Paris next month.
bump into To meet by chance or unexpectedly I bumped into Adam at the bank. He says “hello”.
burn out
  1. stop (something) working
  2. become exhausted from over-working
  1. The light bulb burnt out. Please change it.
  2. She needs to work fewer hours. Otherwise she will burn out.
call back To return a phone call Could please call back in ten minutes?
call off To cancel The game was called off because of bad weather.
calm down To become more relaxed, less angry or upset It took Kylie several hours to calm down after she saw the accident.
carry on To continue The soldiers carried on walking in order to get to their post before dark.
carry out
  1. To do something as specified (a plan, an order, a threat)
  2. To perform or conduct (test, experiment)
  1. His orders were carried out to the letter.
  2. That company does not carry out tests on animals.
check in To register at a hotel or airport They said I must check in at least three hours before my flight.
check out
  1. To pay one’s bill and leave (a hotel)
  2. To investigate
  1. Donna checked out of the hotel this morning.
  2. I don’t know if this price is correct. I’ll check it out online.
clam up To refuse to speak When the police started asking questions, the suspect clammed up.
clamp down on To act strictly to prevent something The local authorities have decided to clamp down on illegal parking in handicapped parking places.
come across
  1. To find by chance
  2. To appear, seem, make an impression
  1. I was cleaning up and came across some old photos of you.
  2. The politician came across as a complete fool during the TV interview.
come forward To present oneself Has the owner of the winning lotto ticket come forward?
count on To rely or depend on (for help) You can count on me to keep your secret.
cut down on To reduce in number or size I’ve decided to cut down on the amount of sweets I eat.
cut out
  1. To remove using scissors
  2. To stop doing something
  1. She cut out a coupon from the newspaper.
  2. You need to cut out all red meat from your diet.
deal with To handle, take care of (problem, situation) Catherine is not good at dealing with stress.
die down To calm down, become less strong After the storm died down, we went outside to see the damage it had caused.
do without To manage without She didn’t get a salary this month, so she’ll have to do without extra treats.
drag on To last longer than expected The suspect’s trial dragged on longer than we had expected!
draw up To write (contract, agreement, document) They drew up a contract and had me sign it.
dress up wear elegant clothes Their wedding gave us a chance to dress up and get out of the house.
drop in To visit, usually on the way somewhere Why don’t you drop in to see us on your way home?
drop off
  1. To deliver someone or something
  2. To fall asleep
  1. I’ll drop off the papers later today.
  2. I often drop off in front of the TV.
drop out To leave school without finishing Zack dropped out of college and joined the army.
ease off To reduce, become less severe or slow down (pain, traffic, work) Traffic usually eases off about 7pm
end in To finish in a certain way; result in Her marriage ended in divorce.
end up To finally reach a state, place or action If you don’t improve your work habits, you’ll end up being fired.
fall through To fail; doesn’t happen His plans to trek through South America fell through when he got sick.
figure out To understand, find the answer He’s trying to figure out how to earn enough money to go on the trip to Spain.
fill out To complete (a form/an application) Please fill out the enclosed form and return it as soon as possible.
find out To discover or obtain information I’m going to to find out who’s responsible for the power cut.
focus on To concentrate on something Tom had difficultty focusing on work the day before his holiday started.
get along (with) To be on good terms; work well with It’s important to get along with your team supervisor.
get at To imply What are you getting at? Do you think I’m to blame?
get away To escape I think we should get away for the weekend.
get by To manage to cope or to survive Students without jobs have a hard time getting by.
get in To enter When did you get in last night?
get into (+noun) To enter How did you get into your car without the keys?
get off
  1. To leave (bus, train, plane)
  2. To remove
  1. You should get off the train in Kings Heath.
  2. I can’t get the ink stain off my shirt.
get on To board (bus, train, plane) I’m trying to get on the flight to Brussels.
get on with (something) To continue to do; make progress After they split up, she had a hard time getting on with her life.
get on (well) with (somebody) To have a good relationship with He doesnt get on very well with the other members of the committee.
get out To leave He had a hard time getting out of Newark because of the snow?
get out of To avoid doing something Edna’s trying to get out of working the night shift.
get over To recover from (illness, disappointment) Has she gotten over the flu?
get over To recover from (illness, disappointment) Mary had the chickenpox last week but she got over it.
get rid of To eliminate Please get rid of that old t-shirt. It’s so ragged.
get together To meet each other Let’s get together for your birthday on Saturday.
get up To rise, leave bed Will you please get up? You’ve got a class in 20 minutes.
give in
  1. To cease opposition; yield
  2. To To hand in; submit
  1. We will never give in to the terrorists’ demands.
  2. I’ll give in my paper tomorrow.
give up To stop doing something Morris gave up drinking 10 years ago.
go through To experience Andy went through a lot of pain after his mother died.
grow up To spend one’s childhood; develop; become an adult He’s like Peter Pan. He never really grew up at all.
hand in To submit (report, homework) Please hand in your papers before Friday.
hand out To distribute Susan volunteered at the shelter where she handed out warm clothes.
hang out To spend time in a particular place or with a group of friends Which pub does the team hang out at after the game?
hang up To end a phone conversation If you hang up now, I’ll never speak to you again.
hold on
  1. To wait
  2. To grip tightly
  1. Please hold on and a representative will answer your call.
  2. She was so scared on the rollercoaster ride that she held on for dear life.
hurry up To be quick, act speedily Hurry up and finish your lunch or we’ll miss the train.
iron out To resolve by discussion, eliminate differences The two countries met at the conference to iron out their differences.
join in To participate Yes David, you can join in the discussion any time you like.
join up
  1. To engage in, become a member of
  2. To meet and unite with
  1. There was a war on, so some kids were only sixteen when they joined up.
  2. Let’s separate now and join up later at the restaurant.
keep on To continue doing something If you keep on making that noise I will get annoyed.
keep up with To stay at the same level as someone or something I read the paper every day to keep up with the news.
kick off To begin, start The rugby match kicked off at 3 o’clock.
leave out To omit, not mention Please check your form again and make sure nothing is left out.
let down To disappoint I feel so let down because they promised me a puppy but all I got was a doll.
look after To take care of Andy can you look after your sister until I get back?
look down on To consider as inferior She’s such a snob. She always looks down on anyone who is poor.
look on To be a spectator at an event If you don’t want to take part in the game you can look on for now.
look for To try to find something Harry went to the shop to look for a new computer.
look forward to To await or anticipate with pleasure I’m looking forward to my birthday. It’s in two days time.
look up to To admire I always looked up to my father. He was a great man.
make fun of To laugh at/ make jokes about It’s not nice to make fun of people in wheelchairs.
make up To invent (excuse, story) That’s a good excuse. Did you make up it up yourself?
mix up To mistake one thing or person for another She had so many cats that she kept mixing up their names.
move in To arrive in a new home or office Did you hear? Our new neighbors are moving in this afternoon.
move out To leave your home/office for another one. When are you moving out? We need your office for the new guy.
nod off To fall asleep You were so tired after the game that you nodded off on the couch.
own up To admit or confess something Come on. Own up. We know you did it!
pass away To die Your grandfather passed away peacefully in his sleep last night.
pass out To faint He didn’t drink enough water so he passed out at the end of the race.
pay back To reimburse I’ll pay you back as soon as I get the loan.
put off To postpone, arrange a later date Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.
put on To turn on, switch on It’s very dark in here. Please put on the light on.
put out To extinguish The fire fighters were able to put out fire in ten minutes.
put up To accommodate, give somebody a bed I can put you up until the weekend but then I’m going away.
pick up To collect somebody I’ll pick you up at around 7:00 to take you to the airport.
point out To indicate/direct attention to something As I already pointed out, there was a mistake in your calculation.
rely on To count on, depend on, trust You can rely on me. I always arrive on time.
rule out To eliminate Since he had a sound alibi, the police ruled him out as a suspect.
run away To escape from a place or suddenly leave He ran away from home and joined the circus.
run into To meet by accident or unexpectedly (also: bump into) I’m so glad I ran into you. I need to ask you something.
run out of To have no more of something. We’ve run out of milk. I’ll just pop next door to borrow some.
set off To start a journey; Let’s set off early to miss the rush hour traffic.
set up To start a business They set up their own company when they were still in high school.
shop around To compare prices Don’t buy that. Let’s shop around and see if we can find something cheaper.
show off To brag or want to be admired He’s such a show off. He has to tell everybody about his new computer.
show up To appear/arrive I don’t think she’ll show up tonight. Her daughter is sick.
shut up (impolite) To be silent, stop talking Shut up, you’re spoiling the movie!
sit down To take a seat I think you should sit down. It’s bad news.
stand up To rise from a sitting position The whole stadium stood up for the national anthem.
stick up for To defend My big brother always stuck up for me when I got into a fight.
take after To resemble, in appearance or character Angie really takes after her grandmother.
take care of To look after Please take care of my cat when I’m away.
take off To leave the ground The plane will take off as soon as the fog lifts.
take on To hire or engage staff I hear they’re taking on extra staff for this event.
take out To remove; extract Please take out your mobile phones and turn them off.
tell off To reprimand/criticize severely The coach told her off for not trying hard enough.
think over To consider Take your time and think it over before you decide.
try on To wear something to see if it suits or fits Go ahead, try it on and see if it fits?
turn down To refuse I asked her out but she turned me down flat.
use up To finish a product (so that there’s none left) Your parents used up all the coffee!
watch out To be careful Watch out! There’s a dog in the road.
wear out
  1. To become unusable
  2. To become very tired
  1. Julie wore out her shoes running the marathons.
  2. Julie was worn out after all that running.
work out
  1. To do physical exercise
  2. To find a solution or calculate something
  1. You should work out twice a week at the gym.
  2. Can you work this out? I’m no good at math.
wipe off To clean (board, table). I’ll wash up if you wipe off the table.