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PHRASAL VERB DICTIONARY


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PHRASAL VERBS – A


PHRASAL VERBS – Definition

PHRASAL VERBS are sometimes called two-word or three-word verbs, or verb phrases.

A Phrasal Verb is a verb plus a particle. A particle is a small word. Usually, but not always, the particle is a preposition.


Many Phrasal Verbs are idiomatic. This means that if you know the meaning of the individual words, it will not help you understand the meaning of the Phrasal Verb. When the words are put together, the meaning changes.

Phrasal Verb - give up smokingFor example, your friend tells you that he is going to give up smoking. You know that give means to make a present and that up is a direction. You are confused!

But if you know that the Phrasal Verb give up means to quit doing something, then you know that your friend plans to stop smoking.


 Many of our students have told us that they studied English for years in their home country, but when they arrived in Canada, they could not understand what people were saying!

One of the main reasons for this is that no one had taught them Phrasal Verbs.

Spoken English is filled with Phrasal Verbs and yet very few school teach them. If you want to have conversations with English speakers, you MUST learn Phrasal Verbs.


Here is a simple overview of the rules for Phrasal Verbs.

There are two kinds of Phrasal Verbs – inseparable and separable.


1. Inseparable Phrasal Verbs are easy. You use them the same way you would use any main verb.

eg. Check out means to pay your bill and return your key card when you leave a hotel. “We should check out at 11:00 am.”

 


2. Separable Phrasal Verbs can be kept together or separated.

Remember that basic sentence structure is: SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT

In a Separable Phrasal Verb the OBJECT goes between the two parts of the Phrasal Verb.

e.g., Hand in means to give something to someone in authority. “Please hand in your tests.” “Please hand your tests in.”

 


Some Phrasal Verbs have many meanings. Not all the definitions are included on this website.


Note: We used s.o. for someone and s.t. for something in the Phrasal Verb definitions.

Phrasal Verb List

What is the Meaning of ACT UP?

act up

Definition #1:

not work properly, for machines and body parts

Examples:

1. I couldn’t print the photos. My printer was acting up and kept printing everything crooked.

2. I won’t go running this weekend. My knee is acting up again.

Definition #2:

misbehave – for people

Example:

“My son’s teacher phoned us. He has been acting up in class.

Note: This phrasal verb is often used with forms that take the present participle (is acting up), which emphasizes activity.

present ACT UP
present participle ACTING UP
past ACTED UP
past participle ACTED UP

Phrasal Verb List

What is the Meaning of ADD UP?

add up

Definition:

If something adds up, it makes sense. It is probable or correct.

Examples:

1. My co-worker’s home is twice the size of mine. He drives a new expensive car, and dresses in very expensive clothes. We have the same job, I know we earn the same amount of money, and we are both single. It doesn’t add up. 
2. She says she is working a lot of overtime, but she never has any money. It doesn’t add up.

Note:  In Canada, if you work more than 40 hours in a week, you receive a higher wage for the extra hours.  (This is called overtime wages, or overtime.)

add up

add up something

add something up

Definition:

to look at the total of all the details (e.g., the information, numbers, etc.)

Examples:

1. All those chocolates I have been eating are adding up. I’ve gained two pounds!

2. I think you should add up these numbers again.

3. When I add everything up, I think it would be best if I worked from home.

 

present ADD UP
present participle ADDING UP
past ADDED UP
past participle ADDED UP

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of AGREE WITH?

agree with someone

Definition:

If something agrees with you, it makes you feel happy or healthy.

Note: This phrasal verb is more commonly used in the negative.

If a certain food or drink doesn’t agree with you, it makes you feel unwell.

Examples:

1. Holidaying at the ocean obviously agrees with you. You look great!

2. Is retirement agreeing with you?

3. Do you mind if we go home early? Something I ate at the restaurant isn’t agreeing withme.

4. I like garlic, but it doesn’t agree with me.

 

present AGREE WITH
present participle AGREEING WITH
past AGREED WITH
past participle AGREED WITH

Note: This can also be used as a regular verb + preposition to mean that you have the same idea or opinion as someone.  e.g., I agree with you.

Phrasal Verb List

What is the Meaning of ASK OUT?

Phrasal Verb-ASK OUTask someone out

Definition:

to invite someone to go on a date

Examples:

1. John is too shy to ask Jennifer out.

2. He asked her out three times last week. It’s very awkward because she isn’t interested in him. 

 

 

 

present – ASK OUT
present participle – ASKING OUT
past – ASKED OUT
past participle – ASKED OUT

Phrasal Verb Listing

PHRASAL VERBS – B


What is the Meaning of BACK OUT?

back out 

Definition:

to not keep a promise or commitment

Examples:

1. They thought they had sold their house, but the purchasers backed out of the deal before the final papers were signed.

2. I know you agreed to go out with her cousin, but she didn’t tell you what he was like. I think you should back out; he’s really strange!

present BACK OUT
present participle BACKING OUT
past BACKED OUT
past participle BACKED OUT

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BACK UP?

Definition 1:

If something backs up, it means the regular flow is slowed or stopped.

Examples:

1. Don’t pour grease down your kitchen drain or the water will back up.

2. Every day the traffic on the freeway starts to back up at 4:00 p.m.

back up someone/something
back someone/something up

Definition 2:

to drive, or move, in reverse

Note: For this definition, it is not always necessary to include the object (e.g., the car).

Examples:

1. Could you please back your car up a little?

2. Could you back up a little?  (This means back yourself up.)

Definition 3:

to support

Examples:

1. They had no scientific evidence to back up their claims.

2. My boss doesn’t believe me. I am glad that Cris will back me up.

Definition 4:

to make a second copy of computer information and store it in a separate place, so the information is safe if there are problems with your computer

Examples:

1. We back up all our data every Friday.

2. My computer got a virus and everything on my hard drive was destroyed. Fortunately, I had been regularly backing everything up.>

present —- BACK UP
present participle BACKING UP
past BACKED UP
past participle BACKED UP

 

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BANG UP?

 

bang up someone/something

bang someone/something up

Definition:

seriously damage someone or something

Examples:

1. He really banged up his knee in the hockey game.

2. I heard that your car got banged up.

present —- BANG UP
present participle BANGING UP
past BANGED UP
past participle BANGED UP

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BANK ON?

Definition:

to depend on

Examples:

1. We’re banking on a big crowd tonight to pay for the expense of producing the show.

2. My annual performance review at work is on Friday. I am banking on a raise, so I made plans to go car shopping on the weekend.

3. You shouldn’t bank on getting a pay raise even though your performance review was excellent. The company has not given anyone a raise in the past two years. I think the owners might be in financial difficulty.

present —- BANK ON
present participle BANKING ON
past BANKED ON
past participle BANKED ON

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BLANK OUT?

blank out

Definition:

to have your mind go blank or empty; to forget what you need at the moment; to be unable to remember what you were going to say or do at that moment

Examples:

1. I took one look at the exam and blanked out. I couldn’t remember anything that I had studied.

2. She probably thinks he’s a bit stupid. He’s so in love with her that every time she talks to him, he completely blanks out. It’s actually quite funny!

present —-BLANK OUT
present participle BLANKING OUT
past BLANKED OUT
past participle BLANKED OUT

Phrasal Verb Listing

 

 

What is the Meaning of BLOCK OUT?

block out someone/something
block someone/something out

Definition:

to stop someone, or something, from affecting you

Examples

1. She shut her bedroom door and turned up her music to block out the sound of them fighting.

2. I’m going to buy dark curtains to block the morning sun out.

3. She is trying to block out that painful memory.

present —-BLOCK OUT
present participle BLOCKING OUT
past BLOCKED OUT
past participle BLOCKED OUT

Phrasal Verb Listing

 

What is the Meaning of BLOW OVER?

blow over

Definition:

use this phrasal verb to talk about a storm, an argument or an unpleasant situation ending

Examples:

1. She is really angry with me.  I apologized and I’m hoping it will blow over.

2. According to the news, this storm will blow over by Monday.

present —-BLOW OVER
present participle BLOWING OVER
past BLEW OVER
past participle BLOWN OVER

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BLOW UP?

blow up

Definition 1:

to become very angry, shouting and yelling; to lose one’s temper

to lose one’s temper

Examples:

1. I don’t want to tell my dad that I quit school. He will blow up!

2. She is always blowing up at him for something. He doesn’t even listen to her anymore.

blow up

blow someone/something up

Definition 2:

explode

Examples:

1. Don’t put that boiled egg in the microwave. It will blow up!

2.The pressure inside increased until it blew the container up.

present —- BLOW UP
present participle BLOWING UP
past BLEW UP
past participle BLOWN UP

Many phrasal verbs have several meanings. The definitions for BLOW UP may not all be included here.

Phrasal Verb List

What is the meaning of BOIL OVER?

BOIL OVER - translate Phrasal Verb | Learning English Online

boil over 

Definition:

a liquid flows over the sides of the container (such as the pot) while boiling

Examples:

1. While she was talking on the phone, the potatoes boiled over.

2. The rice boiled over and made a sticky mess on the stovetop.

present BOIL OVER
present participle BOILING OVER
past BOILED OVER
past participle BOILED OVER

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BREAK DOWN?

break down

BREAK DOWN-learn phrasal verbs
Definition 1:

Phrasal Verb - What is the Meaning of BREAK DOWN

something mechanical, such as a machine or a vehicle, stops functioning

Examples:

1. This photocopier is a piece of junk. This is the third time this week it has broken down!

2. Their car broke down on the highway last night, so they had it towed to the garage.

Definition 2:

to lose control of your emotions because you are in extreme pain, anxiety or sorrow

Example:

1. I asked about her father’s health, and she broke down and started crying.

Definition 3:

to decompose

Example:

Don’t put plastic in the recycling bin. It doesn’t break down.

Definition 4:

to stop resisting someone’s persistent efforts

Example:

He has a gambling problem, and he has been begging his mother for money every day to help pay his debts. Finally, yesterday, she broke down and gave him some money.

present – BREAK DOWN
present participle – BREAKING DOWN
past – BROKE DOWN
past participle BROKEN DOWN

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BREAK EVEN?

break even

Definition:

to reach a point in a venture (e.g., a business) where the costs and the profits are equal

Examples:

1. We need to sell 200 tickets to break even.

2. After three years in business they are finally breaking even. They hope to make a profit in September.

present —- BREAK EVEN
present participle BREAKING EVEN
past BROKE EVEN
past participle BROKEN EVEN

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BREAK OFF?

break off something

break something off

BREAK OFF-learn phrasal verbsDefinition 1:

to separate part of something from the whole

Examples:

1. The wind broke off several branches.

2. I don’t think I will need a knife, thank you.  I can just break a piece off.

Phrasal Verb - What is the Meaning of BREAK OFF?

Definition 2:

to end formal talks, or a formal engagement to be married

Examples:

1. The union broke off negotiations with the company.

2. They broke their engagement off.

present —-BREAK OFF
present participle BREAK OFF
past BROKE OFF
past participle BROKEN OFF

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BREAK OUT?

break out

Definition 1:

the sudden start of something (often this refers to something undesirable, such as a forest fire, war, fighting, a riot, pimples or sweat)

Examples:

1. It is especially dry in Northern Alberta this month and a number of forest fires have broken out.

2. Riots broke out all over the city when the election results were announced.

3. My mom is 40 and she still breaks out every time she eats chocolate.  That’s kind of depressing. I hope it’s not genetic!

4. I break out in a sweat every time that teacher asks me a question.  He scares me!

Definition 2:

to escape from prison

Example:

Three prisoners broke out of the federal jail yesterday.

 

present —- BREAK OUT
present participle BREAKING OUT
past BROKE OUT
past participle BROKEN OUT

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BREAK THROUGH?

break through

BREAK THROUGH-learn phrasal verbsDefinition 1:

to force a way through something that is blocking the way

Example:

Rioters broke through the police barricade.

Definition 2:

to find a way through a problem, or a situation that is stopping you from moving forward

Example:

They are beginning to break through some barriers that have held them back for centuries.

Note: You can combine these two words to create a commonly used noun.   e.g., He has had a wonderful breakthrough in his physical therapy.

present– BREAK THROUGH
present participle– BREAKING THROUGH
past– BROKE THROUGH
past participle– BROKEN THROUGH

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the meaning of BRING UP?

bring up  s.t.

bring s.t. up

Definition:

to mention, or start to talk about, something

Examples:

1. Every time I bring up the idea, she gets quiet and won’t talk.

2. They were sorry that they brought up the topic of politics.  He didn’t stop talking after that.

3. Don’t bring up her boyfriend when you talk to her. They just broke up.

Note: Many phrasal verbs have more than one definition. Not all the definitions are shown here.

 

present —- BRING UP
present participle BRINGING UP
past BROUGHT UP
past participle BROUGHT UP

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the meaning of

BRUSH OFF?

brush off s.o./s.t.

brush s.o./s.t. off 

BRUSH OFF-learn phrasal verbsDefinition 1:

to ignore, or treat someone or something as though unimportant

Examples:

1. I don’t think you should be brushing off your low grade. It could have a big impact on your overall average.

2. Famous people have to learn to brush off some of the criticism they receive.

3. They went on a date, but he said she’s difficult to get to know. Whenever he asked her anything personal, she just brushed him off.

Definition 2:

dust your body or clothing with your hand to clean it

Examples:

1. After we played with the dogs, we had to brush ourselves off.

2. Before he went onstage to give his acceptance speech, his brother brushed a small piece of lint off his suit jacket.

Note:  Many phrasal verbs have more than one meaning.  Not all the definitions are shown here.

present —-BRUSH OFF
present participle BRUSHING OFF
past BRUSHED OFF
past participle BRUSHED OFF

Phrasal Verb Listing

What is the Meaning of BUCKLE DOWN?

buckle down

BUCKLE DOWN-Edmonton English SchoolDefinition:

be serious about doing something;

take on a task or job with determination

Examples:

1. I have got to focus, buckle down, and get this job done.

2. He needs to buckle down and study. His exam is on Friday and he isn’t ready for it.

present —-BUCKLE DOWN
present participle BUCKLING DOWN
past BUCKLED DOWN
past participle BUCKLED DOWN

Phrasal Verb Listing

BUCKLE UP and BUCKLE IN

These two phrasal verbs are similar, and can sometimes be interchanged.

If you are giving someone instructions to fasten their seatbelt, use buckle up.

Buckle in is used for child or infant car seats, because the child sits “inside” the special seat.

What is the Meaning of BUCKLE UP?

buckle someone up / buckle up someone

BUCKLE UP-Edmonton English SchoolDefinition:

Buckle up means to fasten your seat belt in a vehicle

Examples:

1. Everyone has to buckle up. It’s the law.

2. Josh, will you please buckle your brother up?

What is the Meaning of BUCKLE IN?

buckle someone in  /  buckle in

Definition:

Buckle in means to fasten the seat belt so that one is belted into a specific seat

Examples:

1. You must buckle your child in to a child car seat before driving.

2. Okay, we’re ready to go.  Is everyone buckled in?

2. See STORY example of buckled in: It’s against the law in Canada to transport a child in a private vehicle unless the child is buckled in to a car seat.

present —- BUCKLE
present participle BUCKLING
past BUCKLED
past participle BUCKLED

Phrasal Verb Listing

PHRASAL VERBS – C


CALL OFF – Phrasal Verb

What is the Meaning of CALL OFF?

call s.t. off

call off s.t.

CALL OFF-Edmonton English School

Definition 1:

cancel an event

Examples:

1. When I heard how cold it was going to be on the weekend, I wondered if we should call the party off, but my wife thought it would be best to go ahead with the original plan.

2. Let’s just call it off. No one is around that weekend. Out of the twenty people on our list to invite, already ten have said they can’t come that weekend.

Definition 2:

order a dog (or sometimes a person) to stop attacking or chasing a person or an animal

Examples:

1. Call your dog off!

2. He tried to call his dog off but the dog wouldn’t listen to him, and continued to chase the little girl.

presentCALL OFF
present participleCALLING OFF
pastCALLED OFF
past participleCALLED OFF

Note: Many phrasal verbs have more than one definition. All the definitions may not be shown here.

Phrasal Verb List

 

CALM DOWN – Phrasal Verb

What is the Meaning of CALM DOWN?

calm down

calm s.o. down 

CALM DOWN-Edmonton English School
Definition:

become peaceful; become not agitated, not excited

Examples:

1. After all the excitement, it took a while for everyone to calm down.

2. When we arrived at the campground the wind was really strong, but after about an hour it calmed down enough for us to set up our tent.

present –CALM DOWN
present participle – CALMING DOWN
past –CALMED DOWN
past participle –CALMED DOWN

Phrasal Verb List

CARRIED AWAY – Phrasal Verb

What is the Meaning of (to be, or get) CARRIED AWAY?

Definition

to lose self control  (note: use the passive voice)

Example:

She is annoyed with her husband because he got carried away at her son’s soccer game and yelled at the referee.

Phrasal Verb List

CARRY ON – Phrasal Verb

What is the Meaning of CARRY ON?

carry on 

CARRY ON-Edmonton English SchoolDefinition 1:

behave (or talk) in an excited, playful or silly, or bad-tempered way

Examples:

1. The children really like to carry on when they have a substitute teacher.

2. When she starts carrying on about politics, I leave the room. She is very angry that the party she voted for didn’t get in.

Definition 2:

continue doing what we you were doing before you were interrupted

Examples:

1. I didn’t mean to stop your work. Carry on.

2. She walked up but then never said anything, so we just carried on.

Note: Many phrasal verbs have more than one definition. Not all the definitions are shown here.

present – CARRY ON
present participle – CARRYING ON
past – CARRIED ON
past participle – CARRIED ON

Phrasal Verb Listing