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What are phrasal verbs?

1. A phrasal verb is a verb plus a preposition or adverb which

creates a meaning different from the original verb.

I ran into my teacher at the movies last night. RUN + INTO = MEET
He ran away when he was 15. RUN + AWAY = LEAVE HOME

2. Some phrasal verbs are intransitive. An intransitive verb cannot

be followed by an object.

He suddenly showed up. "SHOW UP" CANNOT TAKE AN OBJECT

3. Some phrasal verbs are transitive. A transitive verb can be

followed by an object.

I made up the story. "STORY" IS THE OBJECT OF "MAKE UP"

4. Some transitive phrasal verbs are separable. The object is placed

between the verb and the preposition. In this Phrasal Verb
Dictionary, separable phrasal verbs are marked by placing a *
between the verb and the preposition / adverb.

I talked my mother into letting me borrow the car.
She looked the phone number up.

5. Some transitive phrasal verbs are inseparable. The object is

placed after the preposition. In this Phrasal Verb Dictionary,
inseparable phrasal verbs are marked by placing a + after the
preposition / adverb.

I ran into an old friend yesterday.
They are looking into the problem.

6. Some transitive phrasal verbs can take an object in both places.

In this Phrasal Verb Dictionary, such phrasal verbs are marked with
both * and + .

I looked the number up in the phone book.
I looked up the number in the phone book.

7. WARNING! Although many phrasal verbs can take an object in

both places, you must put the object between the verb and the
preposition if the object is a pronoun.

I looked the number up in the phone book.
I looked up the number in the phone book.
I looked it up in the phone book. CORRECT
I looked up it in the phone book. INCORRECT

account for FORMAL

If you account for something, you explain how it came to be the way it is.
act as
to perform the same function as a particular person or thing
act for
If you act for someone, you represent them.
act on
If you act on somebody's advice, you do as they suggest.
act out
If you act out, you express your feelings through acts or words.
If a part of your body or a piece of equipment acts up, it doesn't work properly.
add to
If something adds to something, it makes it better, greater, stronger or more
extreme in some way.
add up
to add two or more numbers in order to find the total amount

add up to
If two or more numbers add up to another number, this is the total you get if you
add them together.
adhere to FORMAL
If you adhere to a law, a rule or a contract, you obey it or follow it.
advise against FORMAL
to suggest to someone that they should not do something they are thinking of
advise of FORMAL
If you advise someone of something, you tell them about it.
agree with
If a certain place or lifestyle agrees with you, it suits you and is good for you.
aim at
If you aim a product or a creative work at a particular group of people, you see
those people as your market or your audience.
allow for
to consider something, or take it into account, when making plans or making a
allude to FORMAL
to mention or refer to something or someone in an indirect way
amount to
to be similar to, or to have the same effect as
answer back
to reply rudely to someone who is in a position of authority, such as a teacher, a
parent or a coach
answer for
to be held responsible for something
appeal for
to ask for something, usually in order to help deal with a crisis or an emergency
appeal to
If something appeals to you, you like it.
apply to
If something applies to you, it is relevant to you or you are affected by it.

arrive at
to reach a result, a conclusion or a decision after considering relevant factors or
ask after
If you ask after someone, you ask about them when you talk to someone who's
seen them recently.
ask for
to let someone know that you'd like them to give you something
ask out
If you ask somebody out, you ask someone you like to go on a date with you.
ask over
If you ask some people over, you invite them to your house.
associate with
If you associate with someone, you regularly spend time with them.
attach to
to believe that something has importance or significance in relation to
something else
attend to
to deal with something or someone
attribute to
to believe that something results directly from a certain event or fact
auction off
to sell something to the highest bidder at an auction
average out at
to come to a certain amount on average
back down
to decide not to do something because of opposition, or because of pressure
from authorities
back out
If you back out of something like an agreement or a deal, you decide not to
follow through on it.
back up (1)
to make an extra copy of digital information on disc, flash drive, external hard
drive, etc. in case the original data is lost

back up (2)
If you back up what you say, you use evidence or examples to show that it's
bail out (1)
to help out someone or something that's in serious trouble, especially financial
bail out (2)
to give money to a court so that an accused person doesn't have to stay in jail
until their trial begins
bank on
If you bank on something happening or someone doing something, you depend
on it or count on it.
base on (1)
to use specific information, ideas or past experiences as a basis for making a
base on (2)
to use something as source material
bear on
to have relevance to, or influence on, something
bear out
to show that someone is correct or that something is true
beat up
to hurt someone by punching, kicking or hitting them with a hard object
become of
If you ask what has become of someone you haven't seen or heard from for a
long time, you want to know what's happened to them.
beef up
to make something stronger or more powerful
begin with
If an activity or an event begins with something, that's the first thing that
believe in
If you believe in something, you're sure that it's true or it really exists.
belong to
If something belongs to a person, it is owned by that person.
bend down
to move the upper part of your body forwards and downwards
bet on
to be sure that something will happen
bite off
to separate something from whatever it's attached to by biting it
black out
to lose consciousness
blow away
to surprise or amaze someone
blow out
If a flame blows out, it goes out because someone blows on it or because of the
blow up (1)
If you blow up something, you use explosives to damage or destroy it.
blow up (2)
to fill with air or gas in order to inflate something
blow up (3)
to make a photograph larger
border on
If something like an action or an attitude borders on something more extreme, it
is close to being that extreme.
bow out
to resign from a job, or to end a career, usually after a long time
break down (1)
If a machine or a vehicle breaks down, it stops working because of a mechanical
break down (2)
If someone breaks down, they start crying.
break into
If someone breaks into a building or a vehicle, they force their way in, usually
to steal something.
break out
to escape from somewhere like a jail or a detention centre
break up
If you break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you end your relationship
with him or her.
breathe in
to fill your lungs with air by drawing it in through your nose or mouth
breathe out
to push air out from your lungs through your nose or mouth
brighten up (1)
to make a place or a thing look more cheerful and more lively
brighten up (2)
to become happier and feel more cheerful
bring about
If you bring about something, you cause it to happen or you make it happen.
bring back (1)
to bring something with you when you return from somewhere
bring back (2)
to make something from the past come back, such as a memory, a feeling, an
idea, etc.
bring down
to cause a government or a leader to lose power
bring forward
to change the date or time of an event so that it happens earlier than originally
bring off
to succeed in doing something that's difficult
bring on
to cause something like an illness or a painful emotion
bring out (1)
to release a new product
bring out (2)
to make a quality in someone or something show itself
bring up (1)
If you bring somebody up, you raise them from childhood to young adulthood.

bring up (2)
to raise a new topic for discussion, or to mention a particular subject or issue in
a conversation
brush up
to revise your knowledge of something that you learned in the past
buckle up
to fasten a seatbelt in a car or on a plane
bugger off INFORMAL
If you tell someone to bugger off, you're telling them to go away in a very
impolite and aggressive way.
build on (1)
to add to what you've already succeeded in doing
build on (2)
to add a new section to a house or a building
build up (1)
to work at something and make it get stronger or bigger
build up (2)
to gradually increase
bump into
to meet somebody by chance
burn down
If something like a building or a forest burns down, it's completely destroyed in
a fire.
burn out (1)
If a fire burns out, it slowly dies down until it stops burning altogether.
burn out (2)
to work too hard and suffer from physical and mental exhaustion
butt in
to start talking when somebody else is already talking
butt out INFORMAL
If you want to tell someone quite forcefully to mind their own business, you can
tell them to butt out.

butter up
to say nice things to someone before asking them to do something for you or to
give you something
buy out
to buy somebody's share of a company or a partnership in order to take control
of it
buy up
to buy all or a lot of something that is in limited supply
call back
If you call someone back, you return their telephone call.
call for
If a person or an organisation calls for something, they state in public that it's
needed, or should be done.
call off
to cancel an event that was planned or scheduled
call on
to visit someone for a short time
call out
If you call out, you use a loud voice to tell something to someone who's far
away, or tell something to a large group.
calm down
If a person who is excited or agitated calms down, they become calmer and less
excited or agitated.
care for (1)
If you care for someone, you like them a lot and have a strong affection for
care for (2)
If you care for someone or something, you look after them and make sure they
have what they need.
care for (3) FORMAL
If you ask someone if they would care for something, you want to know if
they'd like to have something.
carry on
to continue doing something

carry out
If you carry out a task or a piece of work, you do whatever is needed to
complete it.
catch on (1)
If something catches on, it becomes popular.
catch on (2)
If you catch on, you suddenly understand something that you couldn't
understand at first.
catch up (1)
If you catch up with someone who is ahead of you, you go faster than them until
you reach them.
catch up (2)
If two people meet again after a while and catch up, they tell each other what
they've been doing.
cater to
to provide people with what they need
change into
to change from one state or form into another
change over
to stop using one thing or one system and start using another one instead
charge with
If someone is charged with a crime, they are officially accused of committing it.
chase up
to try to find out what is being done about something, or what has happened to
chat up INFORMAL
to talk to someone in the hope of beginning a romantic relationship with them
cheat on
to be disloyal to your spouse or partner by having sex with someone else
cheat out of
to get something from somebody by cheating them
check in
If you check in, you give your details at a hotel's reception desk, or at an
airline's check-in counter, when you arrive.

check into
to register your details after arriving for treatment at a hospital, a rehabilitation
centre or a health resort
check on
to look at someone or something to make sure that nothing is wrong
check out (1)
to pay the bill and leave after staying at a hotel, a hospital or a rehabilitation
check out (2) INFORMAL
to look at something, or go somewhere, to see what it's like
check through
to examine something carefully to make sure nothing is wrong, or to look for
cheer on
to shout loudly to encourage someone, especially someone who's playing sport
or competing in a race
cheer up
to feel happier after being sad
chop down
If you chop down something like a tree, you cause it to fall by cutting through
its base.
chop up
to cut something into pieces with an axe or a knife
clean out (1)
to clean the inside of something
clean out (2) INFORMAL
If you have been cleaned out, all your money has been taken by someone, or
spent on something.
clean up
to make something clean and tidy
clear out (1)
to tidy a place by removing things that shouldn't be there
clear out (2) INFORMAL
to leave a place, usually for a long time or forever

clear up
If an illness or a condition like acne clears up, it improves until it's no longer a
close down
If a business closes down, or if someone closes it down, it stops operating.
come about
to happen, especially partly or totally by chance
come across (1)
to find something or meet someone by chance
come across (2)
If somebody comes across as being a certain type of person, they appear that
way to other people.
come along (1)
to arrive or to appear
come along (2)
to make progress or to improve in some way
come along (3)
to go with somebody when they're going somewhere
come apart
to separate into several pieces, or to break into several parts
come around
to visit somebody, usually at their home
come back
to return to a place
come down
to move to a lower level or a lower position
come from (1)
to be born and raised in a place
come from (2)
to be made in or obtained from a particular place or thing
come in (1)
to enter a room or a building
come in (2)
If something like a train or plane comes in, it arrives at a station or an airport.
come into
to be given something after its owner dies
come of
to be the result of an event or situation
come off (1)
If something comes off, it becomes separated from the thing it's usually attached
come off (2)
to result in the intended outcome
come on (1)
to make progress or to improve in some way
come on (2)
If a light or a computer comes on, it starts working.
come on (3)
If a TV or radio show comes on, it starts.
come out (1)
to become available
come out (2)
to become known
come over (1)
to visit a place, or to move from one place or country to another
come over (2)
to seem to be a particular type of person
come through
to survive a difficult or dangerous situation or time
come to (1)
to regain consciousness after an accident or an operation
come to (2)
to add up to a particular total
come to (3)
If a thought or an idea comes to you, you remember it or you think of it
come under
to suddenly experience or suffer something dangerous or unpleasant
come up (1)
to walk up to someone or something
come up (2)
If an issue or a name comes up in something like a conversation, a meeting, or a
report, the issue or name is discussed or mentioned.
come up (3)
to appear, occur, or become available
come up against
to face a difficult situation or a difficult opponent
come up with
to think of something like a plan, an idea or a solution to a problem
count on
to depend on someone or something to do what is expected or needed
cover up
to try to stop people finding out about something bad
crack down
to start enforcing a law or a rule more strictly
cross off
to remove a name or an item from a list by drawing a line through it
cross out
If you cross something out, you draw a line through it with a pen or a pencil,
usually because it's wrong or is no longer necessary.
cry out
to scream or yell because of pain or fear
cut back
to reduce the amount of money spent on something, or to reduce the size or
scale of something
cut down
to reduce the amount, number or size of something
cut off (1)
to stop the supply of something like electricity, water, gas or telephone service.
cut off (2)
to isolate somebody or something by making transport or communication very
difficult or impossible
cut out (1)
to remove an area of paper or cloth from a larger sheet by cutting
cut out (2)
to stop doing something, such as eating fatty foods or gambling or taking drugs,
usually in order to improve one's health or one's life
cut out (3) INFORMAL
If you tell someone to "Cut it out! , you want them to stop doing something
cut up
to cut something into small pieces
date back
If something dates back to a certain time, it was made at that time or it started at
that time.
date from
If something dates from a certain time, it was made at that time.
dawn on
If something dawns on you, you realize it, or become aware of it, for the first
deal in (1)
to buy and sell something in order to make money
deal in (2) INFORMAL
If you say "Deal me in" it means you want to join in an activity.
deal with
If you deal with a problem or a difficult situation, you do what needs to be done
to solve or resolve it.
decide against
to decide not to do something you were thinking of doing, or not to choose
something or someone you were thinking of choosing
decide on
If you decide on something, you choose one thing from among two or more
possible options.
delight in
If you delight in doing something, you get a great deal of pleasure from doing it.
delve into
to try to find information by examining something thoroughly
depend on (1)
If one thing depends on another, it cannot happen without the other, or it is
greatly affected by the other.
depend on (2)
If you depend on someone, you rely on them to give you what you need.
describe as
to say that something is a certain kind of thing or that someone is a certain type
of person
deter from
to make someone less likely to do something, or to discourage someone from
doing something
devote to
to decide to spend a certain portion of your time or money on something
die away
If a sound dies away, it gradually gets softer and softer.
die down
If something dies down, it gradually becomes weaker in strength or lower in
volume or magnitude.
die off
If a group of people, animals, or plants dies off, all of them die over a period of
time and none are left.
die out
If something like a species of animal or a language is dying out, it is
disappearing and could soon be lost forever.
to start eating with enthusiasm, or gusto
dig up
If you dig up something, you get it from under the ground by digging.
dip into
to take money from an amount that has been saved or put aside for a specific
dish out (1) INFORMAL
to give things to people, often without thinking about the effects or the costs of
doing so

dish out (2) INFORMAL

If you dish out something like criticism or advice, you give it often and without
much thought.
dispose of FORMAL
to get rid of something you don't need or don't want any more
divide up
If you divide something up, you separate it into smaller parts so that everyone
gets a share.
do about
If you do something about a problem, you do something to fix it or solve it.
do away with (1)
If you do away with something, you get rid of it.
do away with (2) INFORMAL
to kill or to murder somebody
to cause someone to feel very tired or worn out
do up (1) INFORMAL
If you do up an old building, car, boat, etc., you make it look new again by
repairing it, painting it, and so on.
do up (2)
If you do up a zip, a button, or a shoelace, you secure it in some way.
do with (1)
to put something somewhere
do with (2)
to make use of something
do without
If you do without something, you manage to get by without it.
doze off
If you doze off, you fall asleep without meaning to.
drag on
to continue for longer than seems necessary or usual
draw on
to use part of a supply of something, or to utilize something that has been
gained over time
draw out
to make something last longer than usual or longer than necessary
draw up
to prepare and write a plan, a contract, guidelines or a list of some sort
dream of
If you dream of something you'd really like to be, to do, or to have, you imagine
it becoming a real part of your life.
dream up
to imagine something like a plan or a story in great detail
dress up
If you dress up, you put on formal clothes for a special occasion.
drive away
to cause someone or something to leave a place
drive off
to leave in a car
drive out
to force someone or something out of a place
drop by INFORMAL
to make a short, casual visit somewhere
drop in
If you drop something in somewhere, you stop to leave it there and then keep
drop off (1)
to drive someone to a place they need to go to and leave them there
drop off (2)
to fall asleep
drop off (3)
to become fewer in number or less in amount or intensity
drop out
to leave a course of study before completing it
drown out
If a sound is drowned out, it can't be heard because of an ever louder sound.

drum up
to stimulate something like support for a project, enthusiasm for an idea, or
sales for a business
dry up
If something like water or oil dries up, or its source dries up, it means it's all
gone and there is none left.
dumb down INFORMAL
to make something like a movie or a novel easier to understand so more money
can be made from it
dwell on
If you dwell on something bad or unpleasant, you think about it too much or
you talk about it too much.
dying for
If you're dying for something, you really feel like it or you want it very much.