Phrasal Verbs


pivot on

To depend on something such as an event, idea, etc.


plan ahead



plan for




plan on





plan ... out

To decide on or arrange something in advance, e.g. She has planned ahead so that if she falls ill, there’ll be someone to do her work.


To make preparation for something, e.g. He planned for a big turnout at the evening’s outdoor performance but it was a total disaster due to heavy rain.


To expect something as planned, e.g. She plans on achieving grade A in all her subjects in the final examination.

To intend to do something as planned, e.g. We plan on going to Niagara Falls this Summer and take at least one hundred photographs there.


To make a careful plan after considering all relevant factors.


plant … out

To place a young plant to grow outdoors.


plaster … over

To apply plaster to a hole, an old surface, etc.


play about/around



play along


play … along


play at


play ... back



play ... down


play off



play ... off


play on



play up



play ... up


play up to


play with

To behave in an irresponsible manner; to have a casual relationship with someone.


To pretend to cooperate for a selfish reason.


To deceive or mislead someone in order to gain an advantage.


To assume a role playfully.


To listen to one’s own recording of something.


To make something appear less important or serious than it really is.


To compete between two rivals in an extra match to determine their final positioning or decide an outcome.


To involve another person in a dispute for a selfish purpose.


To exploit someone’s weak and vulnerable point so as to gain selfishly.


To fail to work or operate properly or to cause problems.

To devote all of one’s physical and mental powers in a particular activity.


To exaggerate the importance of someone or something.


To behave in a way that brings benefit to oneself.


To tamper with something.

To treat someone inconsiderately for one’s own amusement.


plough … back



plough into



plough on



plough through



plough ... up

To use profit made in a business for business purposes, usually to expand it.


(Vehicle, etc) to be driven violently into something or someone such as a crowd, etc., especially by a driver who loses control of the vehicle.


To continue doing something that requires considerable time and effort.


To persist in something such as studying a textbook, etc. despite the considerable time and effort required.


To break up the surface of the ground by repeated walking on it.


pluck at

To pull something quickly and repeatedly with the fingers.


plug away

plug … in/into




plug up

To keep working hard at something.

To connect a piece of electrical equipment to another or into a socket, e.g. Why do you turn on the new television? I haven’t plugged it into the socket.


To block or become blocked with something, e.g. Someone threw potato peelings down the drain, and they plugged up the pipe.


plump for

plump … up

To make a selection after proper consideration.

To make something such as pillows, cushions, etc. bigger and softer by shaking them.


plunge in

plunge into


To act quickly and rashly on a course of action.

To act suddenly without a careful thought.

To push something forcibly and deeply into something else, e.g. plunging a dagger into the victim’s chest.

To experience an unpleasant situation, e.g. the whole building was plunged into darkness.


ply … with

To keep providing someone food and drink.

To direct numerous questions at someone.


point … out







point to





point ... up

To make someone aware of a fact, e.g. A witness pointed out to the police the scene where the incident took place.

To indicate to someone a particular direction, e.g. Someone in response pointed out to me the road that leads to the hotel.

To draw one’s attention to something, e.g. He pointed out a spelling mistake on the signboard to me.


To use a finger, usually the forefinger, to indicate a particular direction, e.g. The child pointed to the woman on the photo as her mother.

To cite something as evidence, e.g. All the evidence pointed to him as the culprit.


To make known the truth or importance of something, e.g. the high drug abuse figures point up the need for more vigorous enforcement of the existing laws on drugs.


poke around/about



poke at

To look or search around a place for something or information about someone’s life, etc., e.g. poking about in the warehouse looking for something to steal.

To jab repeatedly with something sharp or pointed, e.g. to poke at a fire with a poker to make it burn better.


polish … off


polish … up

To finish something such as food, work, etc. quickly.

To kill or defeat someone.

To improve a skill or an ability by practising it.


ponce about/around

To move or behave in an idle, weak or effeminate manner.


poop out

To stop functioning.

To discontinue or not participate in an activity.


pop off

pop in/out

pop … on

pop up

To die suddenly.

To come/go briefly without advance warning.

To quickly put on a piece of clothing.

To appear suddenly and unexpectedly.


pore over

To be absorbed in the reading or study of something.


portion out

To divide something into parts for distribution.


pot … on

pot … up

To transplant a growing plant from a small pot to a large one.

To transplant a seedling into a flowerpot.


pounce on

To spring or seize something suddenly.

To notice a mistake and take swift advantage of it by expressing a critical assessment of it.


pour … out

To express one’s feelings to someone in an unrestrained way.


preside over

To be in charge of a situation.


press … for


press on/ahead

press … on/upon

To persist in asking for something.

To strive hard to achieve something.

To continue doing something in a determined way.

To insist on someone accepting an offer or gift.


presume on/upon

To unjustifiably regard something such as a good relationship with someone, etc. as entitling one to privileges, e.g. presuming on the relationship to borrow a large sum of money.


prevail on/upon

To persuade someone to do something.


prey on

(Animals and birds) to hunt and kill other animals and birds for food.

To exploit, influence or deceive weaker people.

To cause constant worry or distress to someone, e.g. the problem has been preying on my mind.


prick … out

To place a young plant in a specially prepared hole in the earth.


print … out

To produce a printed paper copy of information or document stored on a computer, e.g. I can’t print this document out now because my printer has no ink.


prize … out

To get or by using force to get information from someone.


proceed against

proceed from

To take legal action against someone.

To originate from something.


profit by/from

To learn from something that happens or to benefit from a situation.


prop … up

To support or assist someone or something that would otherwise fail or decline.

To lean against something.


provide against

provide for

To make plans in order to forestall a bad situation happening.

To prepare or arrange for the needs of someone.


psych … out



psych ... up

To intimidate an opponent by appearing overly confident or say things that will make him feel worried, nervous and less confident.


To get mentally prepared in order to build up one’s confidence for something challenging.


puff … out


puff up

To make something such as one’s cheeks, etc. swollen by filling them with air.

(Arm, leg, etc.) to swell due to injury or infection.

To make something swell by filling them with air.


pull ahead



pull apart



pull at




pull away





pull back



pull ... down



pull ... in








pull ... off





pull ... out








pull over





pull through


pull together




pull up

(Vehicle) to get in front of another, especially by moving faster.


To separate people or animals when they are fighting, e.g. Their argument suddenly developed into a fight and the others had to pull them apart.


To hold something and pull more than once; e.g. The wife pulled at the husband’s shirt as he was walking faster.

To draw in smoke while smoking by inhaling deeply.


To start a car, etc. and drive away; e.g. I waved to the driver as the car was pulling away.

To overtake another vehicle and leave it behind by driving faster, e.g. the ambulance is pulling away from the other vehicles on the highway.


To withdraw from an undertaking, e.g. to pull back from a joint venture due to an unsettled dispute.


To demolish a building, e.g. had to pull that pre-war building down as it had fallen into disuse.


(Vehicle) to stop at the side of the road, e.g. The driver pulled in as directed by a traffic policeman

(Train) to arrive at a station, e.g. As the train pulled in, more people move onto the platform.

(Show) attracts a lot of people, e.g. the circus has been pulling in big audiences daily.

To earn money, e.g. His new business has been pulling in a lot of money.


To succeed in doing something or winning something difficult, e.g. his sculpture pulled off the highest bid in the auction.

To drive to the side of the road or a side road, e.g. We pulled off the road for a bite before resuming our journey.


(Train) to depart from a station, e.g. There was much waving among the people as the train started to pull out of the station.

To retreat from an area, e.g. Most of the troops have been pulled out as the situation has improved considerably.

To withdraw from an undertaking, e.g. One of the partners has decided to pull out of the venture as it is no longer profitable to carry on.


To be ordered to drive a vehicle to the side of the road, e.g. The policeman waved to the driver to pull over.

To drive a vehicle to the side of the road, e.g. I pulled over and waited for them in the car.


To get through an illness or a difficult situation, e.g. He has managed to pull through from a recent bout of depression.


To work hard together in a task or undertaking, e.g. If they all pull together, they could easily finish the work ahead of schedule.


To bring a vehicle to a halt, e.g. The driver pulled up when signaled to do so by the policeman.


pump … into


pump out



pump … up

To shoot someone several times, e.g. A motorcyclist rode aside his car, pumped bullets into the driver and sped off.

To produce or emit something in large quantities or amounts, e.g. In a supermarket, prices after prices of the products on sale are pumped out of a speaker for the benefit of shoppers.

To fill something with air, liquid, gas, etc.

To play a piece of music louder.

To increase someone’s enthusiasm or excitement.


punch in



punch out

To record the time of arrival at the workplace on a card by making use of a special machine, e.g. As I’m late most of the time, I asked my closest trustworthy mate to punch in for me without anyone noticing it.

To record the time of departure from the workplace on a card, e.g. Some of my colleagues leave early and when the day’s work ends I punch out for them carefully without anyone noticing it.

To strike someone so hard with the fist that they fall over.


push ahead

push along

push around/about



push aside


push for



push forward


push in



push off


push on



push ... over


push ... through



push ... up

To carry on persistently with what one is doing.

To go from a place.

To order someone around without due respect for his feeling.


To cease thinking about an upsetting event.


To insist on making a request for something, or for something to be done which is felt to be necessary.


To advance or make progress constantly despite difficulties.


To dispense unasked for advice or join in a conversation, etc. which does not concern one.

To jump queue.


To leave or to tell someone rudely to leave.


To carry on with what one is doing.


To cause someone or something to fall to the ground by pushing them.


To get a bill accepted for discussion in parliament by an opposition member.


To cause an increase in something such as demand, prices, investment.


put about

put … aside

put … away









put back








put ... down

















put in











put ... off









put ... on







put out/put ... out
















put ... through



put ... to






put ... together




put ... up











put ... up to




put up with

To spread false information or unfounded rumours.

To save money regularly for a future purpose.

To keep someone in a prison or mental hospital, e.g. He was put away for good for a series of murders he committed.

To eat or drink large quantities of food or drink, e.g. Every day the child puts away twice the amount of his father.

To save money, e.g. Every month he puts away a moderate sum of money as saving for the future.

To return things to their storage space, e.g. The father nearly fell when he stepped on a toy that should have been put away.


To return something to its original place, e.g. The children have been taught to put back their toys when they have finished playing with them.

To postpone something, e.g. The football matches have to be put back due to adverse weather conditions.

To delay something, e.g. Heavy rains and flooding for the past weeks have put the construction work back by at least a month.


To lay something or someone on a surface, e.g. She put the baby gently down in the cot.

To criticize or belittle someone, e.g. Nobody wants to be around him as all he does is putting others down.

To put an end to an insurgency, revolt, etc., e.g. Reinforcements were called in to put down a regional rebellion.

To kill an animal in order to end its suffering, e.g. His dad’s job is to put down severely diseased animals.

To pay a specified sum as a deposit, e.g. The sales agent asked if I could put $10,000 down on the house.

To reason out, e.g. Her friends put her sudden depression down to the passing of her husband.

To stop doing something, e.g. Her father interrupted Jill by asking when she would put the phone down after she had talked for nearly an hour.

To find something interesting and absorbing, e.g. What a book it was; once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down until I completed it.


To put something in something else, e.g. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

To put someone somewhere, e.g. The children decided to put their old mother in an old folks’ home.

To invest time, money, effort, etc. into something, e.g. To date we have put $100,000 in the business.

To add permanent equipment to something such as a home, e.g. They are putting in an additional bedroom.

To request for something, e.g. The stolen wallet was handed over to the police, but the owner has not put in a claim for it.


To postpone something, e.g. They intend to put off having a baby until they can afford it.

To delay meeting someone, e.g. He’s been calling me day and night to meet him over a matter, but I keep putting it off.

To lose interest in doing something, e.g. The new assignment is challenging, but the distance he has to travel every day really puts him off.

To make someone feel offended, e.g. Everyone who knows her is put off by her excessively critical point of view.


To become fatter and heavier.

To wear a piece of clothing.

To press the brake when the driver wants the vehicle to stop.

To apply make-up, creams, etc.

To pretend to have a particular way of speaking.


To extinguish a fire, cigarette, etc., e.g. One of the men helping to put out the forest fire could be the arsonist responsible for it.

To agree to have sex with someone.

To upset or annoy someone, e.g. Jack borrowed my car and promised to return it the next day, but now three days later I’m really put out by not having got my car back.

To make extra work for or cause problems to someone, e.g. My neighbour really put me out when he called in the middle of the night to help push his car as it couldn’t start.

To put something outside the house, e.g. Every night before the elderly lady goes to bed, she puts her cat out.

To extend one’ arm, hand, leg or foot, e.g. He put out his arms and legs when he lay down; I tripped over one of his limbs and landed on top of him.

To produce something, e.g. The publisher is putting out a paperback edition of the book at the end of the month.


To connect someone by telephone to another; to finance one’s child’s education; to be made to undergo a bad experience.


To ask at a discussion, etc., e.g. Members of the audience were allowed to put questions to the individual panelists.

To affix one’s signature to a document, letter, etc.

To cause difficulty, inconvenience, etc, to someone, e.g. I would like to ask my friends to help me paint my house but hesitate to put them to such trouble.


To fit together the component parts of something, e.g. Putting the jigsaw puzzle pieces together is going to take a long time.


To provide accommodation temporarily to someone, e.g. While I was in the city for a week, I put up with my cousin.

To suggest a topic for discussion, etc.

To offer something for sale or auction, e.g. He is putting up his set of antique furniture for auction.

To finance an enterprise, etc., e.g. An unknown donor put up most of the money to build a public library.

To put something, e.g. Huge tents were put up to house the evacuees.

He intends to put up a real fight all the way despite being regarded as the underdog in the match.


To incite someone to do something stupid, illegal or dangerous, e.g. When Jack was arrested for injuring Jill’s ex-husband, he accused Jill of putting him up to it by threatening to leave him for good.


To endure an unpleasant situation or tolerate a nasty person, e.g. She’s been thinking how long she is going to put up with her husband coming home blind drunk.


puzzle out

To consider a difficult problem carefully with a view to solving it.


quarrel with

To disagree with someone or complain about something.


rack … up

To accumulate or increase something.


rain down

To fall in large quantities.


rake … in

rake … up



To make a lot of money.

To recall a past event that is best forgotten.

To gather someone or something together for a purpose such as forming a sport team, volunteering for a campaign, etc.


rally round

To bring or come together for a worthy cause.


ram … home

To forcibly inculcate through the process of study and comprehension.


ramble on

To talk or write at length in a tedious manner.


ration out

To distribute something in small controlled amounts.


rattle around

rattle … off

rattle on

rattle through

To be in a space that is in excess of what is needed.

To say or produce something quickly and easily.

To talk quickly and at length.

To do something very quickly.


react against

To respond with an extremely unfriendly attitude or a contrary course of action.


read into


read … out



read ... through


read ... up

To regard something as having a meaning or importance when this is not the case.

To say out what is written on something such as a list, etc. for people to hear.


To check for mistakes by careful reading of the whole thing.


To acquire information or knowledge by reading a lot about a subject.


reason … out



reason with

To find a solution to a problem by considering all the possibilities.


To persuade someone to be more sensible with rational argument.


rebound on/upon

To have an unexpected bad effect on someone.


reckon … in

reckon on



reckon with

To include all relevant data in one’s calculation.

To expect anything unforeseen to happen while plans are being made.


To take into account all that may happen


reconcile … to

To make someone able to accept an unpleasant or disagreeable thing or situation.


reduce … to

To change something into a shorter simpler form, e.g. the passage can be reduced to four paragraphs.

To lower the ranks of an army officer, e.g. to reduce an officer’s ranks to an ordinary soldier.

To destroy a building by burning or demolition, e.g. to reduce to ashes or rubble.

To degrade someone’s existence, e.g. to reduce one to squat on public land.


reel … in



reel ... off

To turn the reel of a fishing rod to draw in the line, e.g. to reel in a fish.


To say something quickly and easily, e.g. to reel off lists of team members.


refer to

To arrange someone to see a medical specialist, e.g. His doctor refers him to an ophthalmologist.

To mention or allude to someone, e.g. She was warned not to refer to him again.

To consult a source of information, e.g. He often refers to an encyclopedia for factual information.


reflect on/upon

To think deeply or carefully about, e.g. Sooner or later, one has to reflect on one’s future wellbeing.

To expose the good or bad side of someone, e.g. His behaviour reflects on his level of education.


regale … with

To entertain someone with conversation or story-telling, e.g. He often regales his friends with stories of his romantic involvements.


rein … in

To have strict control of something, or keep it within limits.

To control the movement of a horse by pulling on its reins.


rejoice in

To feel great joy, e.g. he rejoices in his examination success.

To have an extraordinary or strange-sounding name.


relate to

To show a direct connection between two things, e.g. Low wages are directly related to low level of education.

To be able to have a good relationship with others, e.g. He has difficulty relating to older people.

To feel sympathy for or identify with someone or something.

To be concerned with someone or something, e.g. It does not relate to what we are talking about.


relieve … of

To remove the post, duties, responsibility, command, etc. of someone.


rely on/upon

To trust someone or something fully to do what they have to do.

To be dependent on something to survive, e.g. They have to rely on the handicraft for their income.


remark on/upon

To pass comment on someone or something.


remind … of

To make someone remember about something because of a resemblance, e.g. the area reminds her of her early childhood days.


render … down

render … up

To purify fat by melting down.

To hand something to someone such as a ruler, enemy, etc.


repair to

To go to a place, e.g. to repair to the sitting room.


report back

To send or bring something back to someone, e.g. to investigate an incident and report back to one’s superiors.


reside in

(Power, right, etc.) to be present in someone or something.


resolve … into

To become or make something into separate parts.


resonate with

To be full of something such as meaning, feeling, sound, etc., e.g.  a household resonating with incessant shouting.


resort to

To choose and use a, especially bad, course of action to succeed in something or resolve a problem.


rest on/upon




rest with

To depend or be based on something, e.g. the success of the club rests on the number of members it has.

To direct one’s look on someone or something, e.g. to rest one’s eyes on the scenery.

To be answerable for something, e.g. the responsibility for day-to-day operation rests with the manager.


result in

To have a specified end or outcome, e.g. the accident resulted in the death of some passengers.


revel in

To take great pleasure in something, such as attention, praise, etc.


revert to

To return to a former state, condition, etc.


revolve around

To treat something as the most important purpose, e.g. her life revolves around her children.

To move in a circular orbit around something.


rid … of

To remove someone or something bad from a place such as one’s body, working place, etc.


ride … down

ride on


ride … out

ride up

To knock someone down when riding a horse.

To travel in or on a vehicle or horse.

To depend on someone or something.

To come safely through, especially a bad situation.

(Skirt, etc.) to move upwards exposing the body.


rig … out

rig … up

To provide someone with special clothes to wear.

To make something in a makeshift way.


ring back

ring in

ring off

ring out



ring round


ring ... up

To make a return call by telephone.

To telephone a place, especially one’s working place.

To end a telephone call.

To have something loud and clear come from something else.


To make telephone calls to a group of people for a specific purpose.


To make a telephone call to someone.


rinse out

To wash something, especially to get rid of soap from it.


rip off


rip through


rip ... up

To overcharge, cheat, or steal from someone, e.g. The souvenir shopkeeper really ripped us off.

To move somewhere at high speed and in a really violent way.


To tear something into pieces, e.g. Jill ripped up Jack’s photos when she found out he is dating other girls.


rise above



rise against

To deal with any unpleasant situations without being adversely affected by it.

To be sensible and refrain from immoral acts.

To attempt to seize power and replace the government.


roll around/round

roll away



roll ... back



roll … down



roll in



roll ... out




roll over



roll up


roll ... up

(Something that happens regularly) to happen again.

To stretch up to the horizon, e.g. green pastures rolling away into the distance.


To reduce the influence, importance, etc. of something.

To reverse the progress of something.


To open in specific cases, e.g. to roll down car’s window to open it.


To come in large numbers or quantities;

To arrive later than usual or expected without being concerned.


To lay out something flat and thin, e.g. to roll out the red carpet.

To officially launch a new product.


To change bodily position while lying down, e.g. to roll over to the left.


To arrive, e.g. to roll up late or unexpectedly.


To fold or shorten something, e.g. to roll one’s sleeves up.

To close a car’s window, e.g. to roll the window up.


romp through

To succeed in doing or finishing something quickly and easily.


roof … in/over

To put a roof over something, e.g. to roof in an area.


root for

root … out

root … up

To support a sport team by shouting and cheering.

To find and get rid of someone and something.

To dig and pull something such as weeds, etc. up with its roots.


rope … in


rope … off

To persuade someone despite their reluctance to participate in something, e.g. to rope in the neighbours to be vigilantes.

To isolate an area with ropes to prevent access, e.g. police roped off the area where the dead body was found.


rot away

To decay or cause something to decay completely, or break into pieces.


rough … in

rough … out

rough … up

To live in discomfort with only basic necessities.

To draw out a preliminary sketch without the details.

To attack someone and beat them up.


round … down

round … off




round … up

To reduce an exact figure to the nearest whole number.

To end something such as an entertainment, discussion, etc. in a satisfying or suitable way.

To smoothen the edges of something.

To reduce an exact figure to the nearest whole number.

To gather up a group of people or things for a specific purpose, e.g. to round up the illegal immigrants for detention.


rub along



rub down



rub off





rub ... out

To cope or get along with a situation or someone without difficulty.


To make something dry, smooth, or clean by rubbing with something else such as a cloth, sandpaper, etc.


To remove something such as rust, impurities, etc. from a surface by rubbing.

To transfer a feeling, quality, or habit onto someone else, e.g. one’s cheerfulness, enthusiasm, etc. seem to rub off on everyone else.


To erase something such as writing, stain, mark, etc. from a surface by rubbing it with something else such as eraser, cloth, sandpaper, etc.


ruck … up

To make or form folds, creases, etc. on something such as cloth, coat, etc., e.g. shirt is all rucked up after washing.


rule … out

To conclude that something is not possible, e.g. The unstable political situation rules out any increase in foreign investments.


run across


run after



run along


run around






run away





run away with







run down




run ... down












run into






run off







run off with





run on


run out








run over










run through






run to



run ... up










run up against

To meet or find someone or something by chance, e.g. I ran across my former classmate this morning.

To chase someone or something, e.g. His dog is very fond of running after cats.


To leave some place, e.g. He has to run along for an appointment.


To run within a particular area, e.g. He likes to run around in the park.

To spend considerable amount of time with someone whom one likes, e.g. Jack has been running around with his neighbour’s daughter.


To leave or escape from a place, e.g. the child ran away from home because of the abusive parents.

To avoid facing a problem or difficult situation, e.g. He has now learned to face his problem instead of running away from it.


To go away secretly or illegally with someone, e.g. He ran away with his neighbour’s daughter.

To win something such as a competition, match, etc. easily, e.g. Liverpool ran away with the European soccer championship again.

To steal something, e.g. the cashier has run away with the whole week’s takings.


To get knocked, and injured or killed by a vehicle, e.g. His dog was run down by a speeding car.

To reduce or become reduced, e.g. Our joint savings is running down.


To criticize or belittle someone or something, e.g. He has a habit of running others down.

To find someone or something after a long search, e.g. He finally ran me down at my new house in the same neighbourhood.

To lose or cause to lose power and stops or cause to stop functioning, e.g. The clock has stopped functioning as its batteries have run down.

To kill someone or something with a vehicle, e.g. He was run down by a speeding motorcycle while crossing a street.

To move quickly to another area for something, e.g. I’ll run down to the store for a couple of bottles of beer.


To knock someone or something with a vehicle, e.g. The brake of his car failed and the car ran into the van in front.

To meet someone by chance, e.g. I ran into my former classmate at the library yesterday.

To encounter problem, etc., e.g. They ran into difficulties midway in their climb up the mountain.


To leave hurriedly and secretly, e.g. He ran off from the detention centre without anyone’s notice.

To produce copies of something, e.g. We have to run off some more of this copy to meet additional demand.

To write something such as speech, poem, piece of music, etc. quickly and easily, e.g. He could run off a long speech in a couple of hours.


To go away with someone for a specific reason, e.g. He runs off with his girlfriend’s sister.

To steal, e.g. The villagers know he ran off with one of the horses.


To carry on longer than is expected, e.g. The meeting ran on well past midnight.


To cause none left, e.g. A sudden blackout has caused all shops in the area to run out of candles.

To become no longer valid, e.g. The agreement ran out last month.

To use up or be used up, e.g. The bakery sometimes runs out of sugar before new supply arrives.

To quickly leave a place, building, etc., e.g. He opened the door of the house and ran out

To knock and drive over someone or something with a vehicle, e.g. Our cat was run over by a car and died instantly.

To overflow, e.g. Someone fills a tank with so much oil that some runs over.

To exceed the expected time, e.g. The show ran over, and I missed the last bus.

To move from where one is to where someone is, e.g. When I saw my mother-in-law, I decided instantly not to run over to greet her.


To revise one’s lessons, e.g. The students run through the question-and–answer part again.

To push something through someone, e.g. It is not easy to run a sword completely through someone.

To go over something quickly, e.g. The shopkeeper runs through the list of items with the customer.


To cost a certain amount, e.g. The cost of the damage is estimated to run to five million pounds.


To make something quickly, e.g. They ran this project up well ahead of schedule.

To accumulate something such as bill, etc., e.g. Her parents bar her from using the telephone as she habitually ran up an enormous phone bill.

To move quickly to a higher level, e.g. They had a fun race to see who would be the first one to run up and reach the peak of the hill.

To move quickly to someone or something, e.g. When Santa Claus arrived, all the children ran up to him.

To raise a flag.


To experience or meet an unexpected problem, e.g. We ran up against some unforeseen difficulties when we built that patio.


rush about/around




rush into




rush ... out


rush ... through

To do something with urgent haste, e.g. Her family members were rushing around, making preparations on the day of her wedding.


To get hastily involved in something without sufficient consideration, e.g. He was invited to be the manager of a football team, but he does not want to rush into it before careful consideration.


To produce and distribute something very quickly.


To deal with something hurriedly.


rust away

To be gradually destroyed by rust.


rustle … up

To make something quickly.


sack out

To go to sleep or bed.


saddle up

saddle … with

To put a saddle on a horse.

To give someone a difficult or boring task.


sail through

To succeed easily at something, especially a test or examination.


sally forth

To set out to perform a challenging task.


salt … away

To secretly store something, especially money, for the future.


save on

To prevent wastage of something by minimizing the use of it.


savour of

To have a slight trace or indication of something.


saw at

saw … off

saw … up

To use a saw to cut something.

To remove something with a saw.

To use a saw to cut something into pieces.


scale … down

To reduce the size of operations of an organization, plan, etc.


scare … into

scare … away/off



scare up

To frighten or threaten someone into doing something.

To make or keep someone or something away by frightening them.


To make or do something from a limited source.


schlep around

To spend one’s time idling or lazing.


scope … out

To take a look at someone or something to understand their true nature.


score … out/through

To delete something by drawing a ling through it.


scrape by/along

scrape in/into


scrape through



scrape together/up


To manage to survive on the bare minimum.

To just manage to succeed in getting something, e.g. just scraped into a position or college.

To only just succeed in something such as passing an examination, etc.


To manage to accumulate, collect or get something with difficulty.


scratch … out

To cancel or strike out something by drawing a line through it.


scream at

To become blatantly obvious or conspicuous.


screen … out

To protect from something dangerous or harmful entering or passing through.

To investigate someone or something to ascertain their suitability for a job, position, etc.


screw around


screw … out of



screw ... over



screw up



screw ... up

To fool about.

To have sex with different partners.

To act dishonestly or unfairly in order to deprive someone of money or something valuable, e.g. The man was finally arrested after screwing many people out of their savings.


To cheat or treat someone unfairly.


To manage or handle a situation badly, wrongly or ineffectively, e.g. He volunteered to help me in my work but instead screwed it up.


To cause someone to be emotionally or mentally disturbed, e.g. It really screwed her up when her flight was seriously delayed by a bomb hoax.


scrub … out

scrub up

To thoroughly clean something such as a place, objects, etc.

To thoroughly clean one’s hands and arms before doing a surgery.


scrum down

To form a scrum during a game of rugby.


scrunch … up

To crush or squeeze something into a round, compressed mass.


seal … in



seal ... off

To close something securely to prevent what it contains from getting out.


To cut off an area and deny access to and from it.


search … out

To try to find something by looking.


section … off

To divide an area into distinct parts by marking border lines between them.


see about





see around/round



see in







see ... off





see ... out





see over




see through







see to

To attend to someone or deal with something, e.g. I would see about the food and drinks for the guests.

To inform or consult someone about a matter, e.g. I think I had better see someone in the government department about the potholes on the road leading to my house.


To visit a place and move about looking at it, e.g. They would like to see around the cave.


To notice a particular quality in someone or something, e.g. They see in him a young player with great potential.

To show the visitor the way in, e.g. He was told to see in only the members when they arrive.

To celebrate the new year, e.g. Each year millions of people throughout the world see in the new year.


To send someone off at the place of departure such as airport, railway station, etc.

To evict an intruder from a property, e.g. Security guards were notified to see him off the premises.


To accompany a guest to the door when he or she leaves.

To continue with something until it completes, not necessarily with enthusiasm, e.g. He is not enthusiastic but promised to see out the two-week campaign against smoking.


To examine something with a view to acquiring it, e.g. He is seeing over the antique furniture on behalf of a potential buyer.


To discover the truth about someone e.g. She could see through his deviant behaviour that he is not a suitable partner.

To provide help and care to someone who is in need, e.g. A home was set up in the area for the physically handicapped that should see them through the rest of their life.

To persist with something until it is completed, e.g. He allocates time from his busy schedule to see the project through.


To deal with something or do something for someone, e.g. see to the needs of the poor.


seek … out

To look for and find someone or something.


seize on/upon


seize up

To grasp eagerly and take advantage of something such as an opportunity, idea, excuse, etc.

(Machine parts) to become jammed due to lack of oil, etc.


sell off


sell … on



sell oneself


sell out


sell ... out


sell up

To get rid of unwanted things at cheap prices, especially when one needs the money.

To make someone enthusiastic about something such as an idea, new products, novelties, etc.


To offer sex in return for money.


To sell all of a particular product with none left, e.g. The latest model of dishwasher was sold out in the first week.


To desert one’s beliefs, principles, etc. for personal gains.


To betray someone for one’s own financial or material benefit.

To sell one’s assets and other possessions such as house, business, yacht, car, etc.


send away



send … back



send ... down





send for



send ... off









send ... on



send out





send ..,. up

To cause to go or be delivered to another place, e.g. He was sent away to live with his grandmother when he was little.

His duties include sending away numerous brochures.

To return something to where it came from, e.g. The letter was wrongly delivered so I sent it back to the post office.


To make something decreased in value, e.g. The company’s recent performance has sent its rating down.

To send someone to prison, e.g. He was sent down even for a minor offence.

To expel from a university, especially for immoral conduct.


To summon someone to appear before one or order something to be sent to one.


To order a player to leave the field by showing him a red card, as in a football game,  and be excluded from further participation in the match.

To cause to be delivered by post, e.g. He sent off the parcel yesterday.

To arrange someone to go to another place, e.g. They sent the children off to their grandparents for the weekend.

To order something to be delivered to one, e.g. We have sent off an order for some pizza.


To pass on something that has been received to anther place, e.g. The processed food is then sent on to the packing department.


To emit something, e.g. Stars send out gamma rays, radio waves, etc.

To arrange for something to go or be taken to another place, e.g. Most of the invitation cards have been sent out.


To cause something to increase in value, .e.g. Allowing greater foreign participation in the property sector has sent property prices up.


separate … out

To make or become apart or detached.


serve … out




serve ... up


To continue with something until it is complete, e.g. He has served out nearly half of his prison sentence.

To place food onto plates for handing over to someone such as customers, guests, etc.


To place food onto plates for people to eat.


set about


set … against



set … apart




set ... aside




set ... back



set ... down



set forth


set ... forth


set in



set off


set ... off



set on/upon



set out



set ... out



set to


set ... up





Start doing something that requires lots of efforts and time.

To attack someone with fists and legs.

To cause someone to fight or quarrel against another.

To offset something against, especially amount spent against tax in order to reduce the amount of tax payable.

To distinguish someone or something that are more superior compared to others, e.g. the Nobel Prize awards set the laureates apart from other people.


To keep something for a special purpose, e.g. a room in a library is set aside for only reading newspapers.

To annul a legal decision or order, e.g. A verdict of a lower court was set aside by a judge of a higher court.


To hinder the development of someone or something.

To cost someone a lot of money.


To write about something for the record.

To stop a vehicle for someone to get out.


To start a journey, etc.


To explain or describe something in writing or speech.


(Something unpleasant) to begin and seem to continue for a long time.


To go or embark on a journey.


To cause something such as a bomb, alarm, etc, to go off.

To make something such as a piece of clothing, etc. more attractive.


To attack someone violently.


To start a journey.

To begin to do or plan a course of action towards achieving a goal.


To lay something out so that they can be arranged in a particular order.


To start doing something eagerly and seriously.


To deliberately make an innocent person appear guilty or have done something wrong.

To make someone feel healthy and energetic.

To start a company, organization, etc.

To place or erect something such as a signboard, road block, statue, etc.


settle down





settle for




settle in/into


settle on/upon


settle up

To make or become calmer or quieter, e.g. She should settle down as the driving test is not going to cost her life.

To go for a more secure lifestyle, especially in having a permanent job and own house, e.g. He hasn’t decided to settle down and raise a family despite having a house and a secure job.

To accept or agree to something, usually less than satisfactory to either side, e.g. She had stated a sum for her starting salary, but had to settle for a slightly less amount.


To adapt to a new surrounding.


To decide or agree on something, e.g. They haven’t settled yet on the paint colour for the kitchen wall.


To agree on the final settlement on something such as sharing property, etc.

To pay for something such as a bill, account, etc.


sew … up

To remedy a fault by sewing it, e.g. sewing up a tear in a shirt.

To conclude a business transaction in a favourable way.

To have gained overall control over something.


shack up

To move in or start living with someone as a partner.


shade into

To be unable to distinguish where something ends and another begins.


shake down






shake ... off




shake on


shake ... out



shake ... up

To adapt to a new place.

To extort money from someone.

To sleep on the floor, on a seat, etc. instead of in a proper bed.

To search someone or something thoroughly.


To get rid of something such as an illness, problem, etc. that is bothering one, e.g. unable to shake off this gambling habit.

To escape from one’s pursuer.


To conclude something such as an agreement, etc. by shaking hands.


To shake something such as a shirt, cloth, etc. in order to remove any pieces of dirt, dust, etc. from it.


To make someone feel more enthusiastic, energetic and eager.

To make an organization, system, etc. more effective by introducing changes.


shape up

To develop or improve one’s behaviour, performance, physical fitness, etc. to the required standard.


sharpen … up

To improve something to the required standard, quality, etc.


shave … off

To remove hair off part of someone’s body by using a shaver or razor.

To reduce by a very slight amount, e.g. to shave half a second off the world record.


shell out

To pay a seemingly excessive amount of money for something.


shine through

(Personal quality or skill) to be plainly obvious.


shoot for/at


shoot … down

shoot off


shoot through



shoot up

To try to achieve a particular aim, e.g. to shoot for a five percent growth rate for this year.

To bring someone, an aircraft, etc. down by shooting.

To have to leave quickly or suddenly, e.g. He has to shoot off after receiving a telephone call.


To depart hurriedly.


To injure or damage someone or something by shooting them with bullets.

To increase rapidly in prices, number, etc., e.g. The prices of many food items have shot up; tall buildings are shooting up in many major cities across the world.

To inject oneself with a narcotic drug.


shop around

To look for the best price for the available quality goods.


shore … up

To help or support something that is likely to fail or is not working well.


shout … down



shout out

To prevent someone from speaking or being heard by shouting.


To say something suddenly in a loud voice.



shove off


shove up

To go away or to tell someone to go away.

To push a boat away from the shore.

To shift oneself to make space for someone else.


show … around


show off




show … off



show up



show ... up

To take and guide someone round a place and point out the interesting features, especially when he is new.

To display one’s abilities, accomplishments, or possessions in a boastful manner, especially to impress people and gain their admiration, e.g. He shows off his new car by sounding the horn unnecessarily.

To display something to others because one is very proud of it, e.g. His father bought Jack a large flashy car, and he is busy showing it off by driving all over town.


To turn up at a place where one is expected to, e.g. He finally showed up at the restaurant where others are waiting for him.


To expose someone as being bad or faulty.

To embarrass or humiliate someone.


shrink from

To avoid doing something difficult or unpleasant, e.g. shrink from making tough decisions.


shrug … off

To dismiss something as unimportant and without caring about it.


shuck off

To take off a piece of garment, e.g. He shucks off his jacket and plays a game of snooker.


shudder at

To think something is inappropriate or disagreeable, e.g. He shudders at what his parents would say when he tells them he’s dropped out of college.


shut … away




shut down


shut ... in


shut off






shut ... out






shut up

To isolate someone or something from being seen.

To put oneself in a place in order to be alone, e.g. He shut himself away in his room to continue with his work.


To cease or cause to cease business operation


To keep someone indoors or in a room.


To make something such as a machine, etc., stop operating, e.g. Someone accidentally pressed the wrong button on the remote control and shut off the television while everyone was watching it.

To stop or cut off supply, e.g. shutting off a tap, or a strike that closes a coal mine and shuts off coal supplies.


To deliberately prevent someone from participating in an activity, e.g. he felt he was being shut out when he was not invited to the party.

To prevent someone or something from entering a place, e.g. double-glazed windows shut out the cold and noise.

To prevent an opposing team from gaining points by scoring.


To make someone stop talking, e.g. They tried a few times to shut her up but failed.

To tell someone to stop talking, e.g. Wherever she is she tends to dominate the conversation, talking endlessly but no one would dare to tell her to shut up.

To keep someone from other people, e.g. He shut himself up in his room to prevent his cold from spreading to others.

To cease business activities for the day or permanently.


shy away from

To avoid doing something because of nervousness or lack of confidence, e.g. He shied away from an offer to speak at the club meeting.


sick … up

To vomit.


sicken of

To lose one’s desire for or interest in something.


sieve … out

To separate solid from liquid or small objects from large ones by using a sieve.


sift … out

To separate something from other things, e.g. It’s not always easy to sift out genuine products from fake ones.


sign away


sign for


sign in


sign off


sign on



sign ... on


sign out



sign … over



sign up




sign with

To sign a document giving one’s property or legal right to someone else.

To sign a document acknowledging receipt of something.

To sign as a player, especially for a football team.

To write one’s name in a book, sign a book on arrival at, or enter a place such as hotel, office, club, etc.

To end a letter, broadcast, etc. by writing one’s name, bidding farewell, etc.


To sign a document agreeing to work for an employer.

To sign officially that one is unemployed.


To recruit someone into one’s employment.


To write one’s name in or sign a book when leaving a hotel, office, club, etc.


To sign an official document conveying one’s property or rights to someone else.


To sign a document committing oneself to something such as a course of study, employment, specific petition, etc.



To enter legal agreement to play for a particular sports team.


silt up

To become filled with sand, mud, soil or other material.


sing along

sing out

sing up

To join in singing with someone who is already singing.

To sing loudly.

To request someone to sing more loudly.


single … out

To choose someone or something from a group of like people or things for favourable or adverse comment, or unfair treatment.


sink in

(Information, facts, ideas, words, etc.) to gradually become fully understood, e.g. His remark did not sink in immediatetly.


sit around/about

sit back

sit down





sit in




sit on


sit ... out




sit through



sit up

To sit down idling.

To be in a sitting and relaxing position in a comfortable chair.

To be in or get into a sitting position, e.g. I’m so busy I haven’t sat down since I got up from bed this morning.

To try to resolve a problem, e.g. They mutually agreed to sit down for a drink and sort out their disagreement over a certain matter.


To be at but not actively involved in a meeting.

To be temporarily doing something on behalf of someone.

To engage in a silent demonstration of protest.


To delay or fail to deal with something.


To not participate in an event, activity, etc.

To wait without taking action until an unpleasant or unwelcome situation is over.


To stay on until a meeting, talk, speech, performance, etc. ends, even if it is very long and boring.


To get into a sitting position from a lying position.

To stop oneself from going to bed and stay up very late.


size … up

To consider and judge about a person or situation.

To estimate or measure something’s dimensions.


skate over/around

To avoid addressing an issue or problem, or not according it the attention it deserves.


skin up

To make a cannabis cigarette.


skip out/off

To leave quickly and secretly in order to evade something such as paying bill, etc.

A person who defaults or absconds.


slag off

To strongly criticize someone, especially behind their back.


slam into

To crash hard into something, e.g. The car slammed into a tree.


slap … down

slap … on

To unjustifiably criticize someone.

To apply something hastily or carelessly on something else.


slaver over

To show excessive admiration for something in a silly way.


sleep around

sleep in

sleep … off


sleep through



sleep together



sleep with

To have sex with numerous people.

To wake up much later than usual in the morning.

To recover from something by sleeping, e.g. to sleep off the effects of drinking too much alcohol.

To sleep continuously without being awakened by anything that happens.

To sleep continuously at length.


To have sex.


To have sex with someone, especially someone whom one is not married to.


slice … off

To separate something from another by cutting easily with a sharp knife or edge.


slick … down/back



slick ... up

To make one’s hair flat, smooth, and glossy by using oil, or cream, etc.


To make someone or something smart, tidy, or stylish.


slip into




slip ... off


slip ... on


slip out



slip out of



slip up 

To put clothes on quickly.

To pass gradually to a worse condition, e.g. slip into unconsciousness or a coma.


To take clothes off quickly.


To put clothes on quickly.


To move away quickly, or secretly.

To say something without thinking or real intention to say it.


To accidentally slide or move out of position or from someone’s grasp.

To quickly get out of one’s clothes.


To make a careless mistake.


slob around

To idle and behave in a lazy, relaxed and unconcerned manner.


slobber over

To show one’s excessive interest in someone in an annoying way.


slop about/around

slop out

slop through

To wander in an aimless or slovenly manner; mess about.

(Prisoners) to empty out the contents of their chamber-pots.

To wade through a wet or muddy area.


slope off

To leave a place quietly, and inconspicuously in order to avoid work or duty.


slot in/into

To fit someone or something into something else such as a plan, organization, a new role, situation, etc.


slough … off

To get rid of something such as the outer layer of old skin, etc..

To banish one’s feelings, belief, etc., e.g. He was to slough off all feelings of guilt.


slow down

To become or make something such as a vehicle, etc. slower, e.g. Many a time his girlfriend asked him to slow down or she would get out of the car.


smack of

To have a flavour, smell, or suggestion of something, e.g. a piece of writing that smacks of hypocrisy.


smarten up

To make someone or something look neat, tidy and stylish.


smash … down

smash … in

smash … up

To knock something down violently.

To hit or collide with something violently or forcefully.

To deliberately damage or destroy something, e.g. smash the place up.


smell … out

To find something by smelling.

To detect or suspect by means of instinct or intuition.


smoke … out

To force someone or something out of a place by filling it with smoke.


smooth … away

smooth … over

To dispose of something such as problems, difficulties, etc.

To make a situation or the effects of something less unpleasant, harmful, or serious.


snap … on/off

snap out of

snap … up

To turn a light on/off

To get out of a bad or sad state to a better one.

To get or buy something quickly, especially because it is in short supply or very cheap.


snatch at

To seize something quickly.


sneak in/into


sneak on


sneak out


sneak up

To enter a place unnoticed, e.g. The boys managed to sneak past the ticket collector into the circus tent.

To officially inform someone or provide them with information about something or someone else’s misdeeds.

To exit a place unnoticed, e.g. The kids sneaked out of the church by crawling between the empty pews.


To creep stealthily up to someone.


sniff around/round

sniff out

To investigate something in a covert manner.

To find out something by investigation.


snuff … out

To extinguish or put an abrupt end to something.


soak … up

To use something such as a sponge, cloth, towel, etc. to absorb a liquid.

To learn something quickly and easily.


sober … up

To become or make someone become less drunk.


sock in

To be engulfed by adverse weather conditions, reducing visibility.