English Phrasal Verb Dictionary

Browse our list of English phrasal verbs, providing meanings and example sentences for a total of 3,603 phrasal verbs.

What is a Phrasal Verb?

Phrasal verbs (also called multi-word verbs) are idiomatic expressions, combining verbs and prepositions to make new verbs whose meaning is often not obvious from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. They are widely used in both written and spoken English, and new ones are formed all the time as they are a flexible way of creating new terms.

A phrasal verb consists of a verb and a preposition or adverb that modifies or changes the meaning; 'give up' is a phrasal verb that means 'stop doing' something, which is very different from 'give'. The word or words that modify a verb in this manner can also go under the name particle.

Phrasal verbs can be divided into groups:

Intransitive verbs

These don't take an object

Example: They had an argument, but they've made up now.

Inseparable verbs

The object must come after the particle.

Example: They are looking after their grandchildren.

Separable verbs

With some separable verbs, the object must come between the verb and the particle:
The quality of their work sets them apart from their rivals.

In our phrasal verb list, we classify these as Separable [obligatory]

With some separable verbs, the object can before or after the particle, though when a pronoun is used it comes before the particle:

Example: Turn the TV off.

Example: Turn off the TV.

Example: Turn it off.

In our phrasal verb list, we classify these as Separable [optional]

Our Phrasal Verbs List

Click on the A-Z menu to browse our phrasal verb list alphabetically. Click on a verb to see the definition, example sentences, whether it is British or American English, and whether it is separable or not.

Our phrasal verbs dictionary includes entries from around the world submitted by numerous contributors. It covers both modern language and older phrases. If you know of phrasal verbs in English that you feel should be included here, please use our online form to let us know about it. Please note that all submissions are reviewed for validity and accuracy by our Editor.

Phrasal Verb Common Meaning Example
Act on To take action because of something like information received The police were ACTING ON a tip from an informer and caught the gang red-handed.
Act up Behave badly or strangely My computer's ACTING UP; I think I might have a virus.
Add up to Have a certain result Trains delays are getting worse and with the high fares, it all ADDS UP TO misery for the commuters.
Agree with Affect- usually used in the negative to show that something has had a negative effect, especially is it makes you feel bad I feel terrible- that food didn't AGREE WITH my stomach.
Amount to Total Their rent bills AMOUNTED TO ten thousand a year.
Answer back To reply rudely to someone in authority Her mother was shocked when she started ANSWERING her BACK and refusing to help.
Answer for Be held responsible for a problem The government should be made to ANSWER FOR their failure to sort out the problem.
Ask about Ask how someone is doing, especially professionally and in terms of health He ASKED ABOUT my father.
Ask after Enquire about someone's health, how life is going Jenny rang earlier and ASKED AFTER you, so I told her you were fine.
Ask around Ask a number of people for information of help I have no idea, but I'll ASK AROUND at work and see if anyone can help.
Ask around Invite someone We ASKED them AROUND for dinner.
Ask for To provoke a negative reaction You're ASKING FOR trouble.
Ask for Request to have or be given I ASKED FOR the menu.
Ask in To invite somebody into your house 'Jon's at the door.' 'ASK him IN.'
Ask out To invite someone for a date He wanted to ASK her OUT but was too shy.
Ask over Invite They have ASKED us OVER for drinks on Friday.
Ask round Invite someone We ASKED John ROUND for diner.
Call off Cancel The concert had to be CALLED OFF because the singer went down with a bad case of flu.
Calm down Stop being angry or emotionally excited When I lose my temper, it takes ages for me to CALM DOWN again.
Carry on Continue CARRY ON quietly with your work until the substitute teacher arrives.
Catch up Reach someone who was ahead of you He started well, but I CAUGHT him UP on the third lap.
Do over Do something again from the beginning, especially because you did it badly the first time OK, we'll DO it OVER, but try to sing the right words this time.
Eat out Eat in a restaurant We couldn't be bothered to cook so we ATE OUT last night.
Eat up Consume This car EATS UP petrol.
Figure out Find the answer to a problem The police couldn't FIGURE OUT how the burglars had got into the warehouse.
Give up Surrender, stop trying I can't think of the answer; I GIVE UP.
Go over Look at something, revise We WENT OVER our notes before the exam.
Hack into Break into a computer system He HACKED INTO the government database and stole a lot of data.
Hang around Stay in a place They HANG AROUND the station most of the day.
Hang out Spend time socially He HANGS OUT in the pub The Monarch; he's there most nights.
Hold on Wait Could you HOLD ON for a minute; she'll be free in a moment.
Keep on Continue doing something He KEPT ON trying and succeeded in the end.
Keep up Maintain a continuous action, persist First I phoned you and left a message that you should phone me; then you phoned and I was out, so you left a message; then...! How long can we KEEP this UP without ever speaking to each other directly?
Look for Try to find I've been LOOKING FOR all their hidden files, but I can't find them anywhere.
Make do with Accept something less satisfactory because there's no alternative There's no coffee, so we'll have to MAKE DO WITH tea.
Pass out Faint, lose consciousness He got so drunk that he PASSED OUT.
Pass up Decline a chance She PASSED UP the opportunity to go to university because she'd been offered a job.
Pick up Collect While you're in town, can you PICK UP my trousers from the Dry Cleaner?
Put off Postpone The concert's been PUT OFF until next month because the singer's got a throat infection.
Put on Start wearing I PUT my coat ON before we went out.
Take off When a plane departs or leaves the ground The flight for Dublin TOOK OFF on time.
Throw away Discard something when no longer needed I THREW the alarm clock AWAY because it had stopped working.
Turn down Reduce volume, temperature, etc. The room was too hot, so she TURNED the heating DOWN.
Turn off Stop a machine I TURNED the TV OFF and went to bed.
Turn on Start a machine I TURNED the radio ON to get the weather forecast.
Turn up Increase volume, temperature, etc. I TURNED the music UP full blast.
Wake up Stop sleeping I WOKE UP at half past six this morning.
Walk off with Win easily He WALKED OFF WITH the award.
Work out Find the answer or solution I couldn't WORK OUT all the answers to the crossword puzzle.
Work out Exercise She went to the gym three times a week to WORK OUT

The latest 30 entries added to our Phrasal Verbs database:

Meaning: Examine, investigate
Added: 7th Apr
Meaning: Spend your own money
Added: 8th Feb
Meaning: If you knock someone back, you reject them emotionally or sexually.
Added: 31st Jan
Meaning: If you key out a plant, you identify it by using binary choices like whether it has needle leaves or doesn't.
Added: 21st Jan
Meaning: Become less attractive
Added: 25th Nov
Meaning: Fill an area with plants or seeds
Added: 7th Oct
Meaning: Exercise
Added: 17th Sep
Meaning: Criticise
Added: 24th Aug
Meaning: Force someone to confess or tell the truth
Added: 26th Jul
Meaning: Make something last longer than necessary
Added: 26th Jul
Meaning: Form a support group with people when contact is restricted
Added: 10th May
Meaning: Be likely to be popular or successful in the near future
Added: 10th May
Meaning: Fail to get attention in the media
Added: 1st May
Meaning: Be full of something
Added: 17th Jan
Meaning: Be too full and overflow
Added: 17th Jan
Meaning: Make something worse, when you are meant to be making things more equal
Added: 9th Nov
Meaning: Surrender
Added: 5th Nov
Meaning: Give someone the information they need
Added: 30th Oct
Meaning: vomit
Added: 5th Oct
Meaning: Get ready for something exciting or challenging
Added: 15th Sep
Meaning: Skip, not attend
Added: 29th Apr
Meaning: Abandon a plan
Added: 29th Apr
Meaning: End a relationship
Added: 29th Apr
Meaning: Restrict people's movements to reduce the spread of a disease
Added: 7th Apr
Meaning: Go away (command)
Added: 9th Jan
Meaning: Leave a vehicle
Added: 9th Jan
Meaning: Enter a vehicle
Added: 9th Jan
Meaning: Enter a vehicle
Added: 9th Jan
Meaning: Clean, repair, make work again
Added: 6th Jan
Meaning: Delay
Added: 9th Dec

Search the Dictionary

Enter single words here. Use the infinitive without 'to' for a verb. If you enter 'go', it will list all the phrasal verbs with 'go'. If you enter a preposition or particle in the box, like 'up', you can look at all the phrasal verbs containing 'up'.

If you have any suggestions for phrasal verbs that are not listed here, you can submit them to us using our online form.