Phrasal Verbs List With Meanings and Examples For Everyday Communication

Phrasal verbs can be used to make your English language sound a lot more sophisticated and professional. Phrasal verbs are a combination of a verb and a preposition/adverb. These verbs behave like normal verbs do, though the words that constitute them belong to different parts of speech. Check out the list of phrasal verbs given below.

100 Most Common Phrasal Verbs List with Meaning

Here are 100 of the most common phrasal verbs that can be used in our daily communication.

Phrasal Verb Meaning of the Phrasal Verb Example
Add up to
  • To have something build up in combination or along with something that has already happened
  • The chief guest arriving late added up to the existing problems.
Ask around
  • To enquire about something to different people
  • The teacher asked around the entire school if they saw a little boy named Krishna going upstairs.
Abide by
  • To act in accordance with something
  • To remain faithful to someone
  • While you are here, you will have to abide by the rules and regulations of this organisation.
  • He did not show up for the event as he had promised, but he had supported me for months and so I will abide by him.
Account for
  • To explain something by connecting or relating circumstances
  • To be the primary cause of something that happened
  • To destroy
  • The doctor does not have to account for anything to you.
  • You will be accounted for any damage done to the products.
  • Terrorism accounts for the loss of lives more that diseases do.
Break in
  • To enter a building or a place forcefully
  • To start something brand new or take something to a new level
  • Someone tried to break into our house last Saturday.
  • Charles broke in with the newest smartphone.
Break up
  • To break some object into pieces
  • To end a relationship
  • To dissolve or to part
  • The glass plates broke up when it was unknowingly pushed down by Chandler.
  • Kimmy broke up with her boyfriend last month.
  • The party finally broke up after three long hours of dance and music.
Blow up
  • To explode
  • To enlarge
  • To fail disastrously
  • Do you know why vehicles blow up when they crash into another vehicle or fall off a cliff?
  • Try blowing up the pictures if you want a better look at them.
  • Yadhu blew up the interview he attended yesterday.
Back down
  • Take a more compromising and less aggressive position in a conflict contrary to what one had in mind earlier
  • The opposite party decided to back down after hearing our case.
Break off
  • To cancel or put an end to something
  • Diana broke off her engagement.
Bring on
  • To cause something to happen
  • Excessive drinking and smoking can bring on serious health hazards like heart attacks, lung diseases and cancer.
Bring up
  • To mention
  • To rear or nurture
  • To uncover something that has been in the dark or a mystery for long
  • We had asked Salim not to bring up the issue of gender neutrality but he did it anyway.
  • My brother and I were born and brought up in North India.
  • The facts we had been missing out on were brought up by Terry, the undercover agent.
Brush up
  • To review or improve on some skill that you already possess or some information you already know.
  • I will have to help my sister brush up her French before she leaves for Paris.
Burst out
  • To display sudden powerful emotion or to speak suddenly or emotionally
  • The whole room burst out into laughter the moment the boys left.
Call off
  • To cancel
  • The managing director had to call off the meeting because of some medical emergency.
Catch up
  • To update oneself with the past and present events
  • To entangle
  • To reach something that is already ahead of you
  • It has been a really long time since we met. We should definitely catch up.
  • All the embroidery threads have got caught up with each other as they were put together.
  • Susan was late for the meeting but she somehow managed to catch up with all that she had missed.
Check out
  • To withdraw, to leave
  • To examine or to inspect
  • Ross never checks out of the hotel room he has rented even one minute before the given time.
  • The CBI checked out the spot for possible evidence.
Cheer up
  • To become happy
  • To make someone happy by doing or saying something
  • The little boy fell down but he cheered up soon after.
  • His dad was doing all that he could to cheer him up.
Count on
  • To depend on someone or something
  • To expect
  • All the members of the team were counting on their captain.
  • Don’t count on being able to get the 9 p.m. bus if you are planning to leave home by 8:30.
Clean up
  • To tidy
  • To become smart or handsome
  • Tommy was asked to clean up the hall after his play time.
  • He looks smart, he surely cleans up well.
Drop out
  • To quit or to leave
  • To be interrupted momentarily
  • Sruthy and Samantha decided to drop out of the online course.
  • I am not able to make any phone calls as the line keeps dropping out.
Do without
  • To manage without someone or something
  • Binu sure cannot do without a secretary.
Do away with
  • To put an end to something or to eliminate something
  • If you want to live in peace, you have to do away with the superstitions and judgements.
Ease off
  • To reduce the pressure
  • To become less serious or concerned
  • Try listening to some music; it will surely help you to ease off your thoughts about the upcoming exam results.
  • The manager tried to ease off a little; he had been working for months to get this project.
End up
  • To conclude
  • To arrive at a particular destination
  • To do something eventually
  • After all the chaos, that is how all of it ended up.
  • Joy, Sherin, Sanju and Arjun ended up in a forest after driving for a long time.
  • We sat in the railway station for long hours as the train was late and we ended up talking and enjoying each other’s company.
Figure out
  • To solve or find out something
  • To understand
  • As soon as I figure out how to request a return for the trimmer I bought, I will order a different one.
  • Are you able to figure out what she has been speaking about?
Fall apart
  • To break into pieces or to disintegrate
  • To be in an emotional crisis
  • My old house is falling apart; we have to do something about it soon or we would be in big trouble.
  • I cannot stand to see my two best friends falling apart because of something so silly.
Fill in
  • To provide missing information about someone or something
  • To substitute for someone or something
  • The guy who owned the tea shop filled in about the recent theft attempt at the opposite house.
  • Raju asked Bheem to fill in for him so that he could take care of his sick father.
Fall through
  • To be unsuccessful
  • To be cancelled
  • All their attempts to convince the Principal for a holiday fell through.
  • Their plans to go river rafting fell through because of heavy rains in the area.
Fall behind
  • To be late
  • To be below average in one’s performance
  • The landlord did not appreciate the boys falling behind with the rent every month.
  • You might lose your job if you keep falling behind with your work.
Follow up
  • To continue or take further actions
  • To verify
  • The superintendent asked him to follow up on the remaining files.
  • Try sending a letter but make sure you follow up promptly without missing out.
Get back
  • To retrieve
  • To do something to harm or hurt someone who has harmed or hurt you
  • Make sure you get every single form back before you leave the office today evening.
  • The boys from the other school are planning to get back at us because they lost the match.
Get through
  • To overcome or endure
  • To complete
  • It was very difficult for her to get through all of it alone.
  • Cinderella got through the book she was reading this afternoon.
Give in
  • To collapse or to fall
  • To surrender or to admit defeat
  • The building gave in due to the earthquake.
  • After a long quarrel, I finally gave in and let him have the last piece of cake.
Go about
  • To keep oneself busy with something
  • My brother just goes about his work; he never has time for the family.
Grow up
  • To develop or flourish
  • Technology grew up even in the most rural areas.
Grow apart
  • To become estranged gradually
  • They were very close but they grew apart over the years.
Goof around
  • To play or fool around
  • The children were goofing around with their grandparents.
Go through with
  • To proceed or continue with
  • My mom and dad decided to go through with the demolition of our ancestral house.
Hang on
  • To wait
  • To grasp or hold
  • To continuously have faith in something
  • To persevere
  • Can you please hang on for a minute while I check for your details?
  • Hang on to the handle so that you do not fall.
  • He has got a theory that he hangs on to.
  • This pain is not going to stay forever, just hang on and keep going.
Hold on
  • To store something for someone
  • To wait for a short while
  • Can you please hold on to this seat so that I can bring my luggage?
  • Hold on, let me just get my phone.
Hand out
  • To distribute
  • The teacher asked Maya to hand out the permission slips.
Hand over
  • To transfer control or possession of something to someone
  • To deliver something to someone
  • The controls of the system were handed over to Mike.
  • I handed over all the documents to the bank manager yesterday.
Hang out
  • To spend time with someone and not doing anything particularly
  • My friends decided to hang out at the coffee shop opposite our college after graduation.
Hold against
  • To think less of someone because of something they have done
  • Suganya was awful to me when we were in school, but I don’t hold any of it against her, but I don’t think she has moved on.
Head back
  • To go back to a place from where you had initially started
  • We headed back to the hotel after a long trek.
Help Out
  • To provide someone with assistance in doing something
  • When we were shifting, we did not know much trouble as my son’s friends helped out a lot.
Hold up
  • To withstand
  • To fulfil one’s part of an agreement
  • To rob at gunpoint
  • You have to hold up to all kinds of judgement if you want to survive at this job.
  • He kept holding up his end of the bargain even though we tried to make a compromise.
  • The guy in the red jacket is the one who held up the bank yesterday.
Knock out
  • To render unconscious
  • To complete
  • To exhaust
  • The police knocked out the man who tried to break into the house.
  • Ricky knocked out the entire assignment in one night.
  • Taking care of fifty students all day really knocked her out.
Knock off
  • To kill
  • To remove as a discount
  • To rob
  • The girl hired a gang to knock off the people who had been threatening her.
  • The manager agreed to knock off 25% of the price for all new arrivals.
  • The mob knocked off a clothing store during the commotion.
Knock over
  • To stage a heist of
  • To strike something
  • The gang knocked over another bank this week.
  • Kimmy knocked over the water bottle which was kept open.
Look for
  • To search or seek
  • To expect
  • She spent her whole day looking for a green file.
  • Do you have any idea of what they would look for in me?
Look out
  • To be careful and vigilant
  • The police have asked all the residents of the area to look out for men wearing peculiar clothes.
Look up
  • To refer or search for information
  • To have better prospects
  • I guess I have to look up the dictionary to find out the meanings of the words I do not know.
  • Everything has started looking up for him since he moved to France.
Look into
  • To investigate or explore
  • To consider
  • The CBI has been appointed to look into the case.
  • Can you please look into this before you move on to the next work?
Light up
  • To illuminate
  • To make happy
  • The team has done a great job in lighting up the entire place.
  • The little boy’s dance lit up the entire room.
Lift up
  • To exalt someone’s mood
  • The reunion of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. cast lifted up the fans of the show.
Look up to
  • To show respect and admiration for someone
  • Girls always look up to their fathers.
Make for
  • To produce a result
  • Constant disagreement and arguments will not make for a happy marriage.
Make up
  • To fabricate or invent
  • To settle or resolve
  • Can you believe that they made up the whole story?
  • You have to definitely make up for all that has happened because of your forgetfulness.
Move in
  • To start living or working in a new place
  • When are you moving into the new apartment?
Move out
  • To leave one’s current location to go to another place
  • Beth finally moved out of this neighbourhood.
Narrow down
  • To make things more specific
  • Can you please narrow down your choices so that we can provide you the cost estimation?
Opt out
  • To decide not to participate in something
  • Anna opted out of the creative writing competition.
Pay for
  • To be punished or held accountable for something that has happened
  • We had warned him that he would have to pay for his careless choices.
Pay back
  • To take revenge
  • Gulliver paid them back for kidnapping him.
Point out
  • To remind or indicate
  • The lawyer pointed out that Harry was the one who reached the spot first.
Pull off
  • To achieve, succeed or make it happen
  • Are you sure you can pull it off by yourself?
Pull over
  • To come to a stop
  • Can you please pull over for some time?
Put up
  • To dare someone to do something
  • To endure
  • He thinks that someone might have put him up to all this.
  • I don’t know how I am going to put up with all her drama.
Put up with
  • To bear with or endure
  • I know what exactly you had to put up with to reach here.
Rip off
  • To copy illegally
  • Do you know who ripped off their idea?
Rule out
  • To reject an option
  • To make something impossible
  • We had to rule out the colours that looked flashy.
  • The heavy rains ruled out our every chance to go out today.
Run into
  • To meet someone unexpectedly
  • I ran into your brother on the way to school yesterday.
Run over
  • To describe briefly
  • To drive over something
  • Can you please run over the agenda for me?
  • Someone just ran over the dog.
Screw up
  • To ruin or make a mistake
  • Please try not to screw up this time
See about
  • To take care
  • The teacher will see about it.
Settle down
  • To get comfortable
  • Let me know after you settle down.
Settle for
  • To accept something that’s not desirable
  • He finally decided to settle for the cheaper headphones.
Sign up
  • To enrol
  • We decided to sign up for the winter musicals this year.
Sign off
  • To stop talking
  • How are you planning to sign off your speech?
Sneak in
  • To enter without being noticed
  • Did you see her sneak into her room?
Shut down
  • To stop something from functioning
  • To end
  • To withdraw oneself emotionally as a defence mechanism
  • It would be good if you could shut it down for a while.
  • The company was shut down.
  • She shuts down every time I try t o make a conversation with her.
Stand up for
  • To speak or act in support of something
  • Would you stand up for us?
Straighten out
  • To make something right
  • He is coming tomorrow to straighten things out.
Show off
  • To act boastfully
  • He often shows off his new expensive gadgets
Stick around
  • To stay
  • I think she wants to stick around for some more time.
Try out
  • To test something to check if it works well or not
  • To take a test to see if you qualify, to audition
  • Why don’t you try out if the TV is working now?
  • If you want to be on the team, you will have to first try out.
Take out on
  • To treat someone badly
  • He took it out on his sister.
Talk out of
  • To dissuade someone
  • They talked him out of it somehow.
Think up
  • To invent
  • I know you can think up plenty of excuses.
Throw up
  • To vomit
  • The little boy threw up after jumping around the whole day.
Turn in
  • To submit or to tell on someone
  • He turned himself in to the police.
Turn down
  • To reject
  • He turned down the offer
Turn out
  • To provide a result
  • It turned out to be a successful program.
Warm up to
  • To become earnest to someone
  • He warmed up to her as soon as we had expected.
Watch out
  • To be vigilant
  • You better watch out for speeding vehicles.
Wear out
  • To not be in a useful condition or to be exhausted
  • He was worn out by the continuous practice.
Wipe off
  • To remove
  • All the money was wiped off.
Wrap up
  • To end something
  • We have to wrap up the event by 5 p.m.
Zone out
  • To lose concentration
  • The children zoned out in the middle of the class.

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