top … off




top out



top ... up

To complete something with one last act, e.g. They decide to top off the day’s session with a meal at a restaurant.

To fill up a partly full tank with fuel.


To reach an upper limit, e.g. No one knows if oil price has topped out.


To add more drink to one’s glass or mug.

To add to an amount, etc. to bring it up to a required level.

To fill up a partly full container.


toss off


toss … off

To produce something quickly and effortlessly, e.g. He can toss off a simple meal within minutes.

To drink something rapidly or all at once.

To masturbate.


tot … up

To total up amounts, numbers, etc, e.g. She totted up the bill with the use of a calculator.


total … up

To find the total of something such as amounts, numbers, etc. by adding, e.g. He totaled up the bill without using a calculator.


touch at

touch down

touch … for



touch ... off



touch on/upon



touch ... up

(Ship) to call briefly at a port.

(Aircraft, etc.) to land on the ground.

To ask someone to lend or give one something, especially money.


To cause something to happen suddenly, e.g. A cut in personal income tax touched off rumours of an impending general election.


To mention or refer briefly to a subject when talking, writing, etc.


To improve something by doing something to it.

To stroke someone gently without their consent for sexual pleasure.


toy with

To think of something for a short while and not seriously, e.g. He has been toying with the idea of working overseas.


track … down

To find someone or something that one has been searching very hard for, e.g. The police finally managed to track down the vandal.


trade … in




trade ... off



trade on/upon 

To use a used article, especially a car, as part payment for another, e.g. He traded his car in for a newer one.


To counterbalance an action against another in order to produce a satisfactory result, e.g. They have to trade off the cost of new machinery to step up production against the possibility of production not being able to meet the demand.


To take advantage of someone or something.


traffic in

To deal in illegal goods, especially drugs.


treat of

treat with

(Book, article, etc.) to be about a particular subject.

To negotiate an official agreement with someone.


trespass on

To take advantage of someone or something.


trick … into

To deceive someone into doing something, e.g. I was tricked into parting with one hundred pounds by a so-called friend.


trim off

To cut small irregular or unwanted parts or edges off something to make it neater.


trip up

To make or cause one to make a mistake, e.g. The questions are designed to trip you up.

To cause someone to fall by blocking his foot with yours while he is walking.


trot … out

To use same excuses, reasons, etc. repeatedly, e.g. He trots out the same excuses whenever he is late.


truckle to

To be or behave excessively obedient to someone.


trump … up

To falsely accuse someone of something.


trust in

trust to


trust … with

To have faith in someone or something.

To commit someone or something to the protective care or guardianship of someone or something else.

To have faith in someone to do something.


try for

try … on




try ... out




try out for

To attempt to achieve or get what one desires.

To put on something to see if it fits or suits one, e.g. Have you counted how many dresses she has tried on? So many and yet she hasn’t decided on any.


To test the suitability or effectiveness of something or someone by using or testing them, e.g. He tried out the new car to experience its performance before deciding whether or not to buy it. / They tried him out to see if he could do the job.


To put oneself forward for selection for a particular role.


tuck … away




tuck in



tuck into 



tuck ... up

To put someone or something in a quiet, concealed or secure place.

To eat a lot quickly and in an enjoyable way.


To eat in an enjoyable manner.

To conceal the edge of a piece of clothing in something, e.g. tuck in one’s shirt.


To eat something eagerly.


To arrange bedclothes around someone, especially a child, in bed.


tucker out

To become or make someone very tired.


tune in

tune out


tune … up

To watch or listen to a television or radio broadcast.

To ignore or stop listening or paying attention to someone or something.

To bring something to the most efficient condition.


turf … out

To get rid of someone or something.


turn against

turn … against


turn around




turn away


turn back



turn down






turn in










turn into





turn off







turn on











turn out 










turn over 



turn ... over 











turn to





turn up

To oppose someone or disagree with something.

To incite someone to oppose someone else or to disagree with something.

To revive something, especially a company, e.g. The new manager was able to turn the company around in less than two years.

To make to face opposite direction, e.g. I thought someone was following me, and I turned around to see who it was.

To refuse someone entry to a place such as a stadium, etc. because it is full.

To return, e.g. We had to turn back halfway through the journey because of extreme heavy rain and flooding.


To reduce the level of what something is producing or doing, e.g. Every day he has to be told to turn the television down.

To reject someone’s proposal, suggestion, offer, etc., e.g. She has turned down his marriage proposal for the tenth time.


To go to bed, e.g. We have to turn in now in order to wake up early.

To inform the police the whereabouts of a criminal, e.g. His guilty conscience has certainly played the chief part in making the murderer turn himself in.

To return something, stolen or missing, etc., to the police or its owner.

To give something, especially a completed piece of work, to someone who requested it, e.g. At the end of an examination, we have to turn in our exam papers to the person in charge.


To change someone into someone else, e.g. The parents tried unsuccessfully to turn their son into a teacher like them as the son believed he was not made for it.

To change something into something else, e.g. The freezer has turned water into ice.


To do something repulsive or boring, e.g. His frequent picking of the nose turn his friends off.

To end the supply or operation of something such as water, television, etc. by turning the tap, switch, etc., e.g. The tap is dripping, can you turn it off tight?

To leave one road and drive into another, e.g. We have to turn off at the next exit to reach our destination.


To start the supply or operation of something such as water, television, etc. by turning the tap, switch, etc., e.g. Someone turned the television on and nobody is watching it.

To suddenly attack or vent one’s anger on someone, e.g. I’m not responsible for the rumour about her, so why is she turning on me?

To excite or stimulate someone, especially sexually, e.g. Some guys are easily turned on by a woman who is busty.

To make someone interested in something, e.g. He was the one who turned me on to that excellent documentary.


To produce an unexpected result, e.g. It turned out that he was my classmate at college.

To go somewhere to do something, e.g. Many turn out to cast their votes because of the fine weather.

To expel someone from a place, e.g. They turned him out of the lecture hall for his disruptive behaviour.

To put out an electric light by pushing a switch etc., e.g. He turns out the light and closes his eyes to sleep.

To produce something, e.g. The new machine turns out twice as many units as the previous one.


To turn upside down, e.g. The car swung around the bend at a great speed and turned over.


To hand someone to the police, e.g. The villagers turn the wanted man over to the police.

To hand something to the police or its rightful owner, e.g. We found a wallet and turned it over to the police.

To give someone the ownership of or responsibility for something, e.g. He is slowly turning the business over to his son as he anticipates his retirement.

To do an amount of business in a particular period, e.g. That company has been turning over $4 million a year for the past five years.

To change television channels, e.g. Can you turn over to the other channels and see what they have?


To get help, advice, etc. from someone, e.g. He turned to a consultant for advice on management of his business.

To go to a particular page in a book, e.g. The students are asked to turn to page 13.


To suddenly appear after having been lost or searched unsuccessfully for, e.g. The villagers were shocked to suddenly see the long missing man turn up at the market.

To arrive somewhere, e.g. The politician turned up at a public rally late as usual.

To search thoroughly for something, e. g. They searched every inch of the area for the murder weapon and more evidence, but nothing new turned up.

To increase the volume, heat, power, etc. of television, oven, air-conditioner, etc., e.g. This is the third time you turn up the television, can you see that I’m reading?


urge … on

To encourage someone or something to continue to do something.


use up

To consume or expend the whole of something, e.g. I bought a bottle of brake oil and someone used it up.


vamp … up

To improve something such as making a story more exciting by modifying it.


venture on/upon

To do something that involves risks.


verge on/upon

To be very close or similar to, e.g. His behaviour sometimes verges on madness.


vest … with

To give someone the legal right to power, property, etc.


visit … on

To punish someone.


wad … up

To compress soft material such as paper, cloth, etc. into a small lump.


wade in

wade through

To intervene or become involved in something.

To read or deal laboriously with a lot of boring papers or written work.


wait around



wait behind


wait on



wait ... out


wait up


To stay where one is and do nothing until an expected event occurs, such as the person one waits for arrives, etc.


To stay back until all the others have left.


To attend to or serve food to someone, especially customers in a restaurant.


To wait for something to end, e.g. We had to stay back in college where we waited out the heavy rain.


To await the return of someone, e.g. She waited up for her husband’s return so they could go to the cinema together.


wake up


wake up to

To come out or be caused to come out of a sleep, e.g. He uses two alarm clocks to wake him up every morning.

To become aware or alert to what goes on, e.g. More and more people are waking up to the reality of climate warming.


walk all over

walk away



walk away with



walk in


walk into



walk off


walk off with



walk away with



walk over



walk out 





walk out on

To treat someone thoughtlessly and unfairly.

To move from and not get involved in a dispute, bad situation, etc.


To win something, e.g. She walks away with the first prize in tonight’s contest.


To enter a place such as a building, etc., especially unexpectedly or uninvited.


To move into something quickly and hard, e.g. He walked into a glass door and slightly hurt himself.


To leave someone by moving away from them.


To take along one’s winning, e.g. She walks off happily with the first prize money.


To steal something secretly and quietly, e.g. Someone walked away with the marble statue at the party without anyone noticing it.


To take advantage of or treat someone badly, e.g. He allows others to walk all over him by not defending his rights.


To go outside.

To leave a place suddenly or angrily, especially because one is unhappy over something.

To go on strike.


To leave one’s spouse, e.g. She walked out on her husband after discovering he has a lover.


wall … in

wall … off

wall … up

To enclose an area with walls.

To separate an area from another by building a wall.

To turn a window, doorway, etc. into a wall by filling it with bricks, cement, etc.


waltz off with




waltz through

To take something deliberately without permission or unintentionally, e.g. He waltzed off with the receptionist’s pen after using it.


To do something such as an exam, test, etc. very well and with ease, e.g. She waltzed through her final examination with flying colours.


want for

To not have something desirable or essential.


ward … off

To prevent someone or something from harming one, e.g. He warded off every blow from his opponent in a martial art contest.


warm to




warm up






warm up to

To become more interested in or enthusiastic about someone or something, especially someone whom one has just met.


(Food, house, etc) to make warm or warmer by reheating it.

To make engine, etc. reach a required temperature for it to be operational, e.g. I usually warm up the car before I drive it.

To prepare one’s body for a physical activity, e.g. warming up before a race by doing light stretching exercises.


To become more interested in or enthusiastic about someone or something, especially someone whom one has just met.


warn against


warn … off

To advise someone against doing something because it may have bad or dangerous consequences.

To advise or use threats to tell or order someone to stay away or refrain from doing something.


wash … down





wash ... off




wash ... out




wash up

To clean something large with plenty of water, e.g. spent the whole afternoon washing down the garage.

To drink something to facilitate swallowing, e.g. medicine, or food such as steak and chips, washed down with plain water or red wine.


To clean something such as dirt, dust, stain, etc. from a surface with water, e.g. Jack washed the dirt off his face and hair after he fell headlong into a muddy drain.


To cause the postponement or cancellation of something, especially a sport event, because of heavy rain, e.g. The outdoor jumble sale was washed out by a sudden downpour.


To do the dishes after a meal, e.g. Now whose turn is it to wash up?

To clean one’s hands and face, e.g. She habitually washes up before she says her prayers.

To bring something up to the shore, e.g. The waves washed up the dead body of an unknown creature on the beach.


waste away

To become progressively and abnormally weaker and thinner.


watch for

watch out




watch out for



watch over

To look out for something.

To be careful or to tell someone to be careful, e.g. She ought to be careful when passing comments, which are always highly critical of other people


To keep looking and waiting for someone or something.

To be alert, e.g. watch out for strangers loitering close to one’s house.


To guard or protect someone or something.


water … down

To make something less assertive or controversial by modifying certain details, especially to achieve an agreement.


wave … aside

wave … down

wave … off

To disregard someone’s opinion, idea, etc.

To hail the driver of a vehicle to stop.

To move one’s hand to signal goodbye to someone as they leave.


wean … off




wean .... on

To make someone give up a habit or addiction, e.g. Some infants are weaned off their mothers’ milk as early as at four months.


To be strongly influenced by something from a very early age.


wear away

wear down





wear off




wear on



wear out

To erode something.

To gradually worsen the condition of something or someone, e.g. The stair carpet has worn down in places.

To overcome someone or something by persistence, e.g. He is very secretive about his earnings, but gradually his siblings wear him down.


To gradually lose the effectiveness or intensity of something, e.g. pain, anaesthesia, the effects of drugs or alcohol, novelty of a product, emotional feelings, etc. gradually wears off.


(Time) to pass very slowly.


To tire someone out completely, e.g. Chasing and catching butterflies the whole afternoon has worn me out.

To become damaged by constant use, e.g. My right shoe wears out faster then my left shoe.


weed … out

To get rid of someone or something that is longer effective.


weigh … down



weigh in



weigh on


weigh ... out




weigh ... up

(Load, feelings, etc.) to weigh heavily on someone, e.g. an employed person weighed down with frustration.


(Boxer or jockey) to be officially weighed before or after a contest.


To be depressing or burdensome to someone, e.g. Her incurable illness is beginning to weigh on her.


To measure an amount of something by weight, e.g. The seller weighed out a kilogram of sugar and handed it over to a customer.


To consider carefully the qualities, importance, etc. of something before making a decision.


wheel … out

To publicly introduce or display someone or something for a specific purpose, e.g. A politician is very fond of having famous personalities accompanying him in his election campaign.


whip through


whip up

To finish a job very quickly, e.g. He whipped through the work faster than all the other workers combined.

To deliberately excite, stimulate a particular feeling or provoke a reaction in someone, e.g. to whip up support for someone.

To make something very quickly, especially a meal.


whisk … away/off

To take or remove something or someone quickly from a place, e.g. On arrival at the airport, the foreign head of state was whisked away.


whittle …away/off

To gradually make or become smaller or less in amount, degree, value, size, or weight, e.g. to whittle away the powers  or  list of someone or something.


wimp out

To cowardly refrain from doing something.


win … around

win … back

win out/through

win … over

To gain someone’s attention, support, or love.

To regain what one had before, e.g. to win back her love

To manage to succeed or achieve something by effort.

To gain someone’s support, attention or favour


wind down




wind up

To relax after working very hard.

To slowly lessen the activities of a business or organization prior to its closure.


To close down a company or organization.

To end something such as a meeting, activity, etc.

To deliberately annoy or tease someone.

To be in a bad situation one created, e.g. to wind up in court over something one has committed.


wink at

To pretend not to notice something bad or illegal, especially something one tacitly approves.


winkle … out

To obtain something from someone, e.g. winkled secret information out of someone.


wipe … down

wipe … off





wipe out







wipe up

To completely clean or dry a surface by rubbing with a cloth.

To subtract an amount from a value or debt.

To clean or dry by rubbing with a cloth, e.g. He wiped droppings of birds off the windscreen of his car with a damp cloth.


To completely destroy or eliminate something, e.g. A gigantic swarm of locusts wiped out a huge area of crops within hours.

To ruin someone financially, e.g. His compulsive gambling over the years has wiped out his vast fortune.

To clean or dry something, e.g. He wiped out the sweat on his forehead with a cloth.


To dry or remove moisture, dirt, etc. from the surface of something, e.g. My sick dog vomited on the floor and I had to wipe it all up.


wise up

To become or make someone become alert or aware of the unpleasant truth about a situation.


wish away

wish for

To desire something unpleasant will not happen.

To secretly want or desire something and hope it will be realized.


witness to

To state that something is true or that one actually sees something happened, e.g. to be a witness to a person’s good character or witnessed the accused loitering near the scene of the murder.


work … in


work … off


work on



work out












work ... over


work up








work up to

To try to include something, e.g. to put washing his car in his list of things to do.

To reduce one’s frustration by venting it on others.

To discharge a debt by working.

To be engaged in doing something, e.g. He spent the whole night working on his research paper.


To calculate something, e.g. have to work out how much they can afford for a new house.

To think about something and solve it, e.g. He managed to work it out without help from anyone.

To understand someone’s character, e.g. No one seems able to work out why he behaves this way every time he gets back from work.

To plan carefully about doing something, e.g. I have worked out who is going to do what in this project.

To develop in a positive way, e.g. Things begin to work out for them and they find they are happier together.

To engage oneself in a programme of regular exercises, e.g. He works out twice a week in a gymnasium.


To beat someone up repeatedly.


To develop a state of excitement, anxiety, etc. over something, e.g. He works himself up into a state of anxiety about his forthcoming first job interview.

To develop or improve something by putting in hard effort, e.g. He intends to work up some findings to support a ban on animal research.

To develop a feeling, e.g. Whenever she thinks of him, it really works up her anger and hatred.


To proceed gradually towards doing something, e.g. I don’t want to do it but I am still working up to it because it has to be done.


worry at/out

To think at length about a possible solution to a problem.


wrap up

To completely cover up something with wrapping paper, cloth, etc., e.g. to wrap up a birthday present.

To put on warm clothes, e.g. If we know it’s freezing in here, we would have wrapped up warm.

To be engrossed in something, e.g. Work wraps up all his attention that he hardly has time to socialize.

To complete or finish something, e.g. They wrapped up their week-long piece of research work with a leisurely drink.


wriggle out of

To avoid doing something by devious means.


write back



write ... down



write in




write into





write off

To reply to someone’s letter, e.g. My grandpa is always prompt in writing back.


To jot something down on a piece of paper for later use, e.g. I wrote down her telephone number on my business card.


To write to an organization, etc. for a purpose, e.g. to write in asking for more information, to complain, to give one’s view or to comment as requested, etc.


To include someone’s name in the list of candidates in order to vote for them.

To include something in something else such as a document, agreement, etc., e.g. I requested him to have my occupation written into the document.


To dismiss someone or something as a failure, unnecessary, unimportant, etc., e.g. Some observers have written it off as another white elephant.

To decide an asset no longer has any value, e.g. The management agreed the machines that were badly damaged in the fire should be written off.

To cancel bad debts or possible bad debts, e.g. Some of the poor nations’ debts were written off as apparently they were unable to settle them.


x out

To mark out a mistake in a piece of writing.


yield … up

To gradually give out more information, e.g. The ocean depths yield up more and more information as exploration is stepped up.


zero in on

To focus all of one’s attention on someone or something.

To aim a gun towards someone or something.


zip up

To fasten a piece of clothing with a zip, e.g. I have to change my trousers as I cannot zip up; the zipper jammed.


zoom in/out

(Camera) to change from a picture that is close to one that is distant or vice versa.