To assist someone in their work,
e.g. On weekends, the husband helps out in the kitchen.
help … out
To support someone who has
problems, e.g. Jack is a tiger trainer and he needs an assistant, but
nobody dares to help out.
hem … in
To surround and restrict the
space or movement of someone or something.
hike … up
To pull or lift up clothing,
e.g. She hiked up her skirt to climb the ladder.
To depend entirely on someone or
hire … out
To allow the temporary use of
something in exchange for payment.
To retaliate in kind.
To think of a good idea.
To discover something by chance.
To strike at someone.
To express strong disapproval of
something or someone.
hitch … up
To lift or roll up one’s
clothing, e.g. to hitch up one’s trousers.
To harness a draught animal.
hive … off
To separate something from a
large group, such as to sell a company in a conglomerate.
hold … against
To continue to blame and dislike
someone, e.g. Despite the years that have passed, Jack still holds it against Jill
for something she did that caused him embarrassment.
To stop oneself from doing
something or expressing an emotion.
hold ... down
To succeed in retaining one’s
To keep prices from rising.
To talk at length on a subject.
To postpone doing something,
e.g. They hold off renovating the house until next year
when they can better afford to pay for it.
hold ... off
(Bad weather) to fail to occur.
To ward off someone or something
from harming or affecting one, e.g. They are planning a way to hold the
enemy off while looking for an escape route.
To wait for a short time, e.g.
Would you like to hold on or call back? She’s in the
hold on to
To persist in doing something
despite the difficulty encountered, e.g. They managed to hold on
to a piece of debris until help arrived.
To grasp something firmly, e.g.
She held tightly on to the rail as she
climbed the stairs.
To extend one’s hand, e.g. We
have not met for a long time and when I hold out my hand,
he grabs it tight.
To make something such as money,
etc. last, e.g. I’m spending less, so it holds out until my next payday.
To resist something such as
attack, pressure, temptation, etc., e.g. They were under siege but managed
to hold out until reinforcements arrived.
hold out for
To be not prepared to receive
less than what is demanded.
hold out on
To refuse to provide someone
with information, an answer, etc. that is needed.
To continue to remain strong,
hold ... up
To delay the progress of someone
or something, e.g. work is held up by workers’ strike.
To commit a robbery, e.g. A
couple of men succeeded in holding a bank up by
using toy guns.
To adopt someone or something as
a role model or example.
To approve or agree with
something, e.g. Most parents do not hold with using the
cane in school.
To hide oneself, especially from
hollow … out
To remove the inside part of
home in on
To aim at something and move
directly towards it with a purpose, e.g. to identify a problem and home in
to resolving it.
hook … up
To connect an electronic
equipment to an electricity supply.
hook up with
To get acquainted with someone
and become friendly with them.
To interrupt without invitation
To fool around or about.
hose … down
To wash something or someone
using a hose.
To become more active, exciting,
howl … down
To prevent someone or something
from being heard by shouting loudly and angrily.
hunt … down
To search diligently for and
capture or kill someone or an animal
Hurry up/hurry … up
To make someone or something
move, act, finish or happen more quickly, e.g. If we don’t hurry up, we are
going to be the last ones in the long queue. / We hurried the waiter up as
we had waited almost half an hour.
hush … up
To prevent something from being
expressed publicly, especially about something dishonest or immoral.
hype … up
To promote or publicize someone
or something in an exaggerated way.
ice … down
To cover injury with ice to
To become covered or blocked
To feel oneself as having the
same characteristics, thinking or feelings as someone else.
idle … away
To spend time doing nothing.
imbue … with
To make someone fill with an
emotion or quality.
To have an effect on someone or
To make or do something better
impute … to
To regard something, especially
something bad, as being caused by someone else.
To give vital information about
someone to the police, enemy, etc.
To intrude on someone’s freedom
ink … in
To write or mark something with
To ask someone about their
health, well-being, etc.
To investigate about something
inquire … of
To ask someone about someone
else or something.
To firmly continue doing
To prevent something from
succeeding or continuing in the way that was planned.
To sexually molest, especially a
inure … to
To make someone accustomed to
something, especially something unpleasant so that they are used to it.
To leave the armed services or
to remove someone from active military service because of injury or
To speak or write about someone
or something with great hostility or criticism.
inveigle … into
To persuade someone to do
something, especially by deceit or flattery.
To buy a financial product with
a view of making a profit.
invest … with
To buy something useful, e.g. a
grey winter suit.
To endow someone with power or
authority to perform a duty or with a particular quality or character.
invite … along
To ask someone to come along to
some place such as a cinema, etc.
invite ... back
To ask someone to come to one’s
invite ... in
To ask someone to come into
one’s house, office, etc.
invite ... over
To ask someone to come over to
one’s house, for dinner, etc.
iron … out
To resolve a problem.
To remove folds from clothes by
(Sound, etc.) to emanate or come
out from something or a place.
(Smoke, etc.) to emit or come
out from somewhere.
To waste someone’s time by
causing inconvenience or problems.
jack ... in
To stop doing something.
To inject oneself with a
To refuse to participate.
jack ... up
To raise something, e.g. to jack
a car up in order to change its wheels.
To increase something
considerably such as prices, sales, etc.
jazz … up
To make something more
interesting or exciting.
jerk … around
To deal with someone dishonestly
To utter something in a quick
and unsteady manner.
To become unwilling to do or
To make an insulting or mocking
To continue in the same steady
To take part in an activity.
To become a member of the armed
join up with
To form a group with other
people in order to do something.
To do or say something together,
e.g. to join with fellow church members say prayers.
jolly … along
To encourage someone to do
jolly … up
To make someone or something
more lively and cheerful.
jot … down
To write something quickly.
To have a feeling of great
pleasure and happiness.
juice … up
To make something more
interesting or exciting.
To eagerly accept the chance to
To join a conversation suddenly
To criticize or attack someone,
(Boat, ship) to turn over on its
side; to fall over sideways.
To continue a course of action,
e.g. We kept at it until we completely fitted together all
the pieces of a jigsaw.
keep … at
To force someone to continue a
course of action.
To make someone or something
avoid going somewhere or seeing someone else, e.g. We keep away from
this guy who often gets drunk and swears.
To keep someone or something
away from someone or something else, e.g. Gun owners should ensure
they keep away their guns beyond the reach of their
To refrain from telling someone
what you know, e.g. He keeps back when asked how he
sustained a black eye.
keep ... back
To withhold paying or giving
something to someone.
keep ... down
To stop something from
increasing, e.g. The producer is increasing the supply of its products in
order to keep their prices down.
To refrain from sharing
information with someone, e.g. He knows he cannot keep the
incident from his family for very long.
keep ... from
To prevent someone from doing
something or something from happening, e.g. We just could not keep ourselves from buying
those big, juicy looking apples.
To protect someone from possible
danger or a mishap.
keep ... in
To make someone stay indoors,
e.g. His parents keep him in most of the
time to prevent him from mixing with those bad neighbours’ kids.
keep in with
To remain on friendly terms with
someone, especially because this is very advantageous.
To protect something from some
other things, e.g. putting things in container to keep vermin
To make someone stay away from
something or someone else, e.g. The doctor advised the parents to keep her off sugary
To continue doing something,
e.g. He keeps on complaining about his parents to me.
To retain someone in employment,
e.g. He has attained retirement age but the company keeps him on because
of his immense experience.
keep on about
To talk constantly about
something, especially about one’s personal problems.
keep on at
To bother someone with repeated
keep ... on
To retain someone or something
such as to continue to employ someone, etc., e.g. He is still kept on the
company payroll despite having reached retirement age.
To usually appear on signboard
warning people to stay away from a place, e.g. A signboard warns passersby
to keep out as construction work is still in progress.
keep out of
To refrain from getting involved
in something, e.g. We often discuss current issues but keep out
of sensitive ones.
To keep to a particular place,
e.g. If motorists keep to their lanes as much as possible
when driving, the number of accidents might be reduced.
To observe an agreement and do
what one promises to do, e.g. I have not been keeping to my
work schedule and now my work is piling up.
To keep something secret,
especially something that has been confided in one, e.g. No matter how hard
she tries, she just cannot keep anything to herself.
To keep to the
topic one is talking, writing or discussing about which one is supposed to.
To confine or restrict oneself
to a particular place, e.g. The nurses tell him to keep to his
ward where he is a patient instead of wandering into other wards to chat.
To maintain something at a
certain level, e.g. They have been reminded again to keep their
spending to within the amount allowed in the budget.
To continue to maintain one’s
good performance, e.g. to keep up the good work.
To keep abreast of current
affairs by reading and learning, e.g. to keep up with the
development in the field of medicine.
To move or progress at about the
same rate as someone or something else, e.g. Some of them were not able
to keep up with others in their class in school that led
to their dropout.
To acquire about the same
possessions as those of friends and neighbours, e.g. She tries to keep
up her extravagant lifestyle by incurring huge debts through heavy
use of her credit cards.
To prevent someone from going to
bed, e.g. to drink strong coffee to keep one up the
To maintain something at a high
level, e.g. The suppliers of a product conspire to manipulate its supply in
order to keep up the price.
key … in
To enter or work on data by
using a computer keyboard.
To express disagreement or
frustration with someone or react strongly against something;
To travel from place to place
wander with no explicit aim, e.g. He has been kicking around the
coastal area for the past year.
(Place or thing) awaits
exploration and exploitation, e.g. Some of the things we need for this
project could be kicking around in the attic.
kick ... around
To treat someone badly, unfairly
and without respect, e.g. He never seems to kick his workers around.
To discuss an idea with other
people casually, e.g. We could kick around the possibility
To be at leisure or relaxing,
e.g. He decides to kick back the whole day and call in
To have an effect, e.g. to begin
to feel the pain of the wound kicking in.
kick ... in
To injure someone, e.g. He was
sent off for deliberately kicking the other player’s ankle in.
To gain access, e.g. The
neighbours had to kick the door in to
rescue a child from the fire.
To contribute money, help, etc.,
e.g. The villagers are all willing to kick in and help
with the building of a new bridge.
To start off a football match,
e.g. They decide that the match should not kick off this
afternoon due to adverse weather conditions.
To remove one’s shoes by shaking
the feet, e.g. He habitually kicks off his shoes on
kick ... out
To expel or dismiss someone,
e.g. got kicked out of the house or kicked out of the
To behave in a silly way.
kill … off
To kill a lot of lives, e.g. the
discharge of chemicals into the river has killed off a variety of fish
kiss up to
To be excessively obedient or
attentive to someone for a selfish reason.
kit … out
To provide someone with the
appropriate clothing and equipment for an activity.
To travel, especially without a
specific purpose, e.g. He intends to knock around a few
countries before he gets married.
To hit someone, e.g. He used to
get knocked around when he was staying with his drinking
To be present at a particular
place, e.g. There is a hammer knocking about in the attic
but I just couldn’t find it.
knock ... back
To drink heavily and quickly, He
can easily knock back five bottles when he has the mood.
To spend on costly things, e.g.
The air fare has knocked her back by some
four hundred pounds, but it was worth it.
knock ... down
To hurt or kill someone by
hitting them accidentally with a car, e.g. He was knockeddown
by a car as he was dashing across a road.
To reduce substantially the
price of something, e.g. Sale has been poor so the seller knocks
down some of the prices by as much as half.
To destroy something and replace
it with something better, e.g. They knock down the garage
to build a bigger one.
To finish the day’s work, e.g.
He does not knock off at the same time every day.
knock ... off
To kill someone, e.g. Pictures
of him with a reward for information leading to his capture are all over
the country after he knocked off the police chief.
To have sex with someone.
To deduct points from the total,
e.g. Each contestant will have one point knocked off for
each wrong answer.
To reduce prices.
To accidentally or deliberately
strike something onto the ground from a surface, e.g. My arm knocked a
glass ashtray off the table and broke it into pieces.
To tell someone to stop
bothering one, e.g. He yelled out, “Knock it off”
at someone in a crowded place.
To produce something quickly,
e.g. She knocked off a couple of poems for the school
knock ... out
To eliminate contestants, e.g.
He was knocked out early in the contest. To lose a boxing
match, e.g. He was knocked out by the opponent’s left
To make someone unconscious,
e.g. A brick fell on the head of a passerby and knocked him out.
To destroy something, e.g.
Aerial attacks have knock out their ammunition factory.
To hit someone or something with
a car, e.g. The dog was knocked over when it was running
across the street.
knock ... together
To combine or assemble something
from whatever one has, e.g. He knocked together a dinner
from last night’s leftovers.
knock ... up
To awaken someone by knocking at
their door, e.g. Every morning she has to knock him up for
To make something hurriedly,
e.g. They got together and knocked up a big kite for a
kite flying contest the next day.
To be aware of, e.g. There are
still many things in this world we don’t really know much about, such as
whether or not Nessie exists, the Bermuda Triangle, UFOs, etc.
To be aware of something but
lack knowledge concerning it.
To devote oneself diligently to
To unwillingly submit to
someone’s authority or orders.
ladle … out
To distribute something in large
amounts such as advice, praise, compliments, etc.
land … in
To cause someone to be in a
To speak angrily to someone
To finally reach one’s desired
place, position, destination, etc. despite the difficulties.
land up with
To end up with an unpleasant or
land … with
To assign someone with an
lap … up
To accept something with
considerable pleasure and enjoyment
To pass gradually into a
different, often worse, state or condition.
To have fun by behaving in a
To attack someone verbally, e.g.
He lashed out at his critics for their derogatory remarks.
(Animals) to react violently
using, typically their paws, or other parts of its body such as their
mouths, tails, etc.
To understand the meaning of
something, e.g. It wasn’t easy for him but finally he managed to latch
To have full affection for
someone and aim to be their steady companion, e.g. He has been looking for
a long time for an attractive lady whom he can latch onto.
To develop a keen interest in
To ridicule someone or
laugh … off
To treat something as unworthy
of serious consideration, e.g. All his friends have been trying to convince
him that he is putting on a lot of weight, but he just laughs it off.
To start something with great
energy and interest, or criticism of someone or something.
To undertake something new and
risky on one’s own such as a business enterprise.
To attack someone violently.
lay … aside
To put something away for future
use, e.g. He has been laying a small sum of money aside
in his savings account to meet future needs.
To defer doing something, e.g.
The developer has decided to lay aside a major
construction project until the economy improves.
lay ... down
To put down weapons, tools,
etc., e.g. The gang members were ordered to lay down their
weapons and surrender to the police.
To introduce a regulation, law,
etc., e.g. The local authority laid down a by-law against
owners letting their dogs loose in the streets.
lay ... in
To store a large supply of
something for future use.
To attack someone physically or
verbally, e.g. She would lay into her partner whenever she
feels she is provoked.
To discharge workers from
employment, either for a temporary period or permanently due to shortage of
work, e.g. My brother was one of those who were laid off during
the recent recession.
To give up something, e.g. He
just couldn’t lay off betting no matter how hard he tries.
To stop doing, having, or using
something, e.g. I advised her to lay off eating excessively as
she is putting on weight by the minute.
To stop bothering someone, e.g.
You have been annoying me and if you don’t lay off, I’m going
to thump you hard on the head.
To provide service such as food,
lay ... on
To entrust someone with a
responsibility to tackle a problem, task, etc., e.g. They think he was the
best man to lay the responsibility on to
organize the weekend jumble sale.
To spread something out such as
a map, carpet, etc.
lay ... out
To arrange or plan the
construction of something such as a building, garden, town, etc.
To spend a large sum of money
for a particular purpose, e.g. Together, they laid out a vast sum for
interior decoration of their house.
To prepare a dead body for
To knock someone unconscious.
To sojourn somewhere before
resuming one’s journey.
(Ship) to stop moving.
To be unable to do anything due
to illness or injury.
lay ... up
To take a ship, vehicle, etc.
out of service.
(Something) to happen and then
followed by another as there is a close connection between them.
To connect directly to another
place, e.g. The corridor leads off to the backyard.
To be a route or means of access
to a particular place, e.g. This road leads to the park.
To be the result of an action,
e.g. The Police offer a reward for any information leading to the
arrest of the wanted man.
lead up to
(Events, etc.) to lead to a
final outcome, e.g. No one knows what were the preceding events that led
up to the manager’s dismissal.
To say or write something that
supports your intention which is not mentioned, e.g. Jack didn’t directly
say he wanted to be captain of the team, however he led up to it
by talking about his ability to lead.
To turn the pages of a book,
magazine, etc. casually.
To intentionally make secret
information known to people.
To rely on someone or something
for support, encouragement, etc.
To influence someone to act in a
To have a tendency to support a
view, belief, idea, opinion, etc.
leave … behind
To forget to bring someone or
something along, e.g. He left his cell phone behind in
To move faster than someone
else, e.g. He is certain to win the gold medal as he leaves the
other marathon runners far behind.
To go away from someone or
something, e.g. He left his wife and kids behind and
sought employment overseas.
To be slow and make less
progress than others, e.g. I watch television more than I work hard; not
surprisingly, I’m left behind by others.
leave ... off
To omit to add or put on
To discontinue doing something,
e.g. I use a bookmark to help me remember where I leave off when
I stop reading.
leave ... out
To deliberately or accidentally
overlook the inclusion of someone or something, e.g. They have to leave him out from
participating in any of the athletic events because he is far too fat.
To exceed a desired amount, e.g.
I’ll leave the remaining food over for
To show excessive or offensive
sexual desire for a woman.
let … down
To disappoint someone by not
meeting their expectations, e.g. He assured me that he would come in first
in the race, but he let me down by not
turning up for the race.
let ... in/let ... into
To open the door of a building,
house, etc. for someone to enter, e.g. She was still angry with me and
would not let me in when I arrived.
(Light, air, etc.) to enter a
place, e.g. Whenever it rained a crack on the roof let water
To share a secret with someone,
e.g. Is it wise to let him into our
secret plan to smuggle cigarettes?
let ... in on
To reveal a secret to someone
with the understanding that they keep it to themselves, e.g. He let me in
on how he acquired his wealth.
let … off
To fire a gun or make bomb,
firework, etc. explode, e.g. Despite the official ban on firecrackers,
people nationwide are letting them off to
usher in the new year.
To decide not to punish someone,
e.g. The victim’s family was furious when the judge let the
offender off with only a warning.
To release someone from public
transport, etc., e.g. The bus driver let the elderly
passenger off in front of her house.
To make known secret information
To make a sound such as a
scream, cry, etc., e.g. Her nightmare caused her to let out a
scream of terror.
let ... out
To allow someone or something to
leave a confined area, building, etc., e.g. The zoo attendant opened a cage
door and let some monkeys out to roam
To make an item of clothing
larger or looser as its owner has put on weight, e.g. This is the second
time she is letting her dress out as she
has put on more weight.
To allow someone else occupy a
room, building, etc, in return for periodic payments.
(Storm, high winds, etc.) to
become less intense, e.g. It looks like the rain is not going to let up any
To do something continuously,
e.g. to grumble without letting up.
To publicly accuse or criticize
someone, e.g. level an accusation at.
To aim a weapon at someone.
To become level, e.g. the steep
road begins to level off.
To have a frank talk or
discussion with someone.
lick … up
To drink or eat something by
To leave something untidily
somewhere, e.g. She can really tolerate the sight of old newspapers,
magazines, books, etc. lying around her.
To lie down and not doing
anything, e.g. He is lying around watching television.
To be the real reason for a
change of behaviour, e.g. something lies behind his sudden
To accept unfair treatment
without complaining, e.g. how long is he going to take this lying
To put oneself in a sleeping
To remain in bed longer than
To have power, authority, etc.,
e.g. the responsibility to deal with the problem lies with the
To have sex with someone.
(Aircraft, spacecraft, etc.) to
rise into the air.
To raise something from a
surface, e.g. I lifted up an overturned can and a big
insect hopped away.
To provide light to a place or
shine light on something, e.g. They light up trees in the
city with multi-coloured light bulbs for the festive season.
(Face or eyes) to show pride,
liveliness or joy;
To light something such as a
cigarette, cigar, etc., e.g. He has no lighter or matches and so goes
around borrowing them to light up his cigarettes.
To treat someone in a particular
way, e.g. You have been grumbling at me for hours, aren’t you going to lighten
lighten ... up
To be or to tell someone to be
less serious about something, e.g. If she had realized it was just a joke,
it would have lightened her up.
liken … to
To resemble someone else or
To warm up in preparation for an
exercise or activity.
To form a queue with others.
line … up
To form a line of people or
things, e.g. They line up for inspection.
To have someone or something
prepared for a specific purpose, e.g. to line up a number
of speakers for the rally.
To form a link between or
connection with something or someone.
To pay one’s attention to a
To listen to a radio broadcast.
To listen carefully for
To reside at the place where one
works or studies.
To depend on a source of income
or support from another person, e.g. to live off the
interest from one’s investment or live off the money regularly given by a
relative such as a son or daughter.
To remember someone after they
have died, e.g. the memory of their parents still lives on.
To live away from the place
where one works or studies.
To continue to live one’s life
in a particular place until one dies.
To fulfil one’s dreams or
wishes, e.g. eventually they were able to live out their
To feel a horrific experience,
e.g. the ordeal she had lived through.
live up to
To fulfil their obligation as a
trustworthy financial, etc. institution, e.g. a bank has to live up
to its reputation.
To make one’s home with someone,
e.g. Despite my age, I’m still living with my parents.
Endure someone or something that
is disagreeable, e.g. I was born with a face marred by a big aquiline nose,
sunken cheeks and sleepy eyes, and I have to learn to live with it.
To become or make something more
lively or interesting, e.g. the place livens up when more guests arrive.
load … down
To entrust someone with excess
To make someone or something
carry or hold a large amount of heavy things, e.g. she struggles to push
her trolley loaded down with a great deal of purchases.
lobby … through
To seek to influence a
lock … away
To put someone in prison.
To keep something in a safe
place and fasten its door with a lock, e.g. she places her valuables in a
safe and locks it away.
lock ... in
To ensure no one leaves by
locking the door, e.g. Closing the car door automatically locks the
When a missile locks onto a
target, it heads for the target.
lock ... out
To keep someone out of a place
by locking the door, e.g. My God, I’ve locked myself out
but luckily I’m a locksmith, so I have ways to unlock the door without
To make all the doors of the
building locked when the day’s work ends.
To imprison a criminal after he
was officially found guilty.
To keep something in a safe
place such as a safe, etc. and lock its door.
To take the required actions to
begin the use of a computer system.
To take the required actions to
conclude the use of a computer system.
To take care of someone or
To plan for the future.
To try to find something or
someone by looking, e.g. We heard a sound, and we looked around but
there was nothing and nobody, and we started running through the dimly lit
To focus one’s eyes on someone
or something, e.g. We look at each other when we talk to
To examine something and
consider what action to take.
To recall something that
occurred in the past.
look down on
To view others with a feeling of
superiority, e.g. She looks down on me just because I’m
To find something, or something
that has been lost or someone who is missing.
look forward to
To wait eagerly for something
that is going to happen, e.g. He looks forward to playing
in the next game.
To make a short visit to
To try to find out what happened
and take the necessary actions, e.g. Police, investigating a bank robbery,
are looking into the possibility of an inside job.
To watch something without
getting involved in it.
To keep a close watch on and be
aware of someone or something.
look ... out
To search for and find a
look out for
To keep careful watch for
possible danger or difficulties, e.g. Look out for snakes
when you take that path, or you may step on one like I did.
look ... over
To examine something quickly,
without paying much attention to detail, e.g. We looked over the
inside of a newly-opened store and left.
To look for one person or thing
To rely on something or someone
to do something.
(Situation) to improve, e.g. Now
that oil has been discovered off the coast of the country, things are looking
look ... up
To try to find a piece of
information in a dictionary, reference book, etc, e.g. Every time he comes
across an unknown word, he looks it up in
To renew contact with someone,
e.g. My bother always looks me up whenever
he is in town on business.