To accept and obey the law,
rule, etc., e.g. We have to abide by the law even if we
don’t agree with it.
To reluctantly agree to a
act … out
To perform a past event;
To express one’s feelings
through one’s behaviour.
(Children) to behave badly.
(Machine, etc.) Does not work in
the way it should.
add … in
To include something with
add … on
To enlarge something, especially
a building, e.g. They added on an extension to the museum
to house the fossil collection.
To increase the amount, cost, or
degree of something.
To increase by small amounts to
reach a total.
To calculate the total of
something, e.g. to add up one’s points, marks, scores,
add up to
To total up.
To combine small amounts to find
out the total, e.g. When the service charges are taken in, the bill adds
up to an amount greater than expected.
To conduct oneself in accordance
to a particular rule, etc.
To accept something as capable
of existing or happening.
To have the same view as someone
To try to achieve an outcome,
e.g. She aims at losing 10 kg by the end of the year.
aim … at
To point something such as a
weapon, camera, etc. at a target, e.g. He aims his
camera at his group of friends.
To design something for a
specific class or group of people, e.g. The new radio station aims most
of its programs at a teenage audience.
To consider all factors involved
so the problem can be resolved, e.g. If we allow for inevitable
wastage, the amount of material needed will be greater to meet the
To show that something is likely
To refer to someone or something
To equal to something, e.g. The
loss through pilferage amounts to at least 3 % of
To have same effect as something
else, e.g. Her remark amounts to an insult.
To request something in an
indirect way, e.g. Quite obviously, he’s angling for a
date with her.
To explain one’s wrong deed or
to explain on behalf of someone, e.g. The coach must answer for the
team’s poor performance.
To explain something, especially
having done something wrong, to someone, e.g. He answers directly to the
To belong to or concern
To waste time, e.g. He has been
warned not to arse about in the park.
ascribe … to
To accept that an event comes
about because of someone or something, e.g. They ascribe the
high unemployment rate to the government’s mismanagement
of the economy.
ask … for
To say that one wants something,
e.g. We asked at the counter for free
gift vouchers but got none because we have not spent enough.
To show something as requested,
e.g. I was asked for my identity card which I had not
brought along, so I was not allowed into the office.
ask … out
To invite someone out, e.g. This
is the tenth and maybe last time I’ll ask her out after
nine unsuccessful attempts.
To deal with something or help
someone, e.g. He had to attend to more emergency cases
today than any other days.
To say a situation is caused by
something, e.g. The residents attribute the increase in
burglary cases to lack of regular patrol of the streets by the
To say that someone is
responsible for something, e.g. They attribute the short
stories to him without having any clear evidence that he
To calculate the usual number of
times a thing happens.
To be aware of something and its
possible effects, e.g. People are starting to awake to the
therapeutic value of herbs.
awaken … to
To make someone aware of
something and its consequences.
To move backwards;
To become uninterested or cease
participation in something.
To concede defeat or stop being
confrontational, e.g. The workers planned to go on strike, but backed
down when the employers threaten to sake them.
To move away from someone or
something, usually because of danger or to avoid injury, e.g. He was warned
to back off, but he refused and a fight ensued.
(Building, etc.) To have its
back facing a particular area.
To make a copy of data on a
computer program or disc., e.g. He has cultivated a good habit of backing
up every piece of work he does.
back … up
To provide evidence to support
one’s statement, claim, etc., e.g. Jack backed up his
claim of winning the jackpot by producing a photocopy of his cheque for the
To move or move a vehicle in the
reverse direction, e.g. I backed up my car a little in the
parking lot between two cars so we could get out./It was a narrow walkway,
so we had to back up a bit to let other people pass by.
To support someone in a
situation by agreeing with them or doing something to help them, e.g. He is
doing it not just for himself, so I’ll back him up.
bag … up
To put small items into bags.
To deposit money for someone to
be out of prison while awaiting court trial.
To help someone or a financial
institution out of financial problem by providing financial help.
ball … up
To complicate matters.
To unite in order to achieve
bandy … about
To flaunt or say something
repeatedly with intention to impress.
To talk incessantly in a boring
bang … out
To sing a song or play a tune
loudly and badly.
bang … up
To wreck something.
To rely on someone or something
to produce an outcome.
To be prepared for something
adverse that may happen to one’s plan.
To go or dash in uninvited.
barge in on
To interrupt rudely.
base … on/upon
To use something as basis for
development of a course of action.
bash away at
To continue working or hitting
hard at something.
To persist in an activity or
process in order to complete something.
bat … around
To engage in a discussion about
bawl … out
To scold someone for the wrong
they have done.
To appear threatening to someone
in the way one behaves.
bear … down
To apply pressure on something.
bear … out
To deal successfully with a
difficult person or something.
To use something to testify to
the existence or truth of something else.
To be undaunted by adverse
To ask someone to be patient
while you are engaged with something. To exercise patience with a difficult
(Sunlight, rain, etc.) To come
down in large quantity.
beat … down
To bargain for or persuade
someone to offer a lower price.
To frighten or drive someone or
To extinguish a fire by beating;
To beat out a rhythm on a drum.
beat … out
To defeat a competition rival.
To cause injury to someone by
physical assault, e.g. Members of the public caught up with the pickpocket
and beat him up until he pleaded for
To be doing some difficult,
To make person or an animal
comfortable for the night.
beef … up
To make something better, e.g.
Control in the prison was beefed up after the riot.
To say you cannot do something
To feel sure or accept that
something exists, either good or bad, e.g. He just doesn’t believe
To feel someone can be trusted,
e.g. The children always believe in their father despite
adverse rumours being spread about him.
To have one’s views about
something, e.g. We believe in the equality of the sexes in the
To become larger, greater or
To be the property or a member
of a group or organization.
belt … out
To sing out loud or play a loud
tune from a musical instrument, e.g. The band was belting out all my
To instruct someone bluntly to
bind ... over
To restrain someone from causing
trouble under threat of legal punishment.
To cut against a surface.
To start using up something,
especially one’s personal savings.
bite … off
To use the teeth to cut off a
piece from a main part, e.g. He bit off a piece of a pizza
and strangely spat it out.
To faint, e.g. He blacks
out whenever he sees too much blood.
(City, etc.) To turn off all the
lights in a wide area.
To cover or erase something so
it cannot be seen or recall.
(Rocket, etc.) To leave the
To mix or combine something with
To make a drawing of something
that gives a general idea but is not exact.
block … off
To completely close a place such
as a road, etc.
block … out
To prevent light passing
To erase, especially a bitter
blot … out
To cover or hide something
blot … up
To wipe surface dry with a cloth
or other absorbent material.
To shoot someone to death.
To be carried away by the wind,
e.g. I put some comic books outside and the wind blew away a
couple of them into the drain.
To cause something to drop on
the ground, usually by the wind.
To blow air into something with
To treat someone or something as
unimportant, e.g. He blew off his overseas assignments by
not accepting them.
blow … out
To put out a flame by blowing,
e.g. A strong gust of wind blew out all the candles in the
temple when the keeper opened a window.
(Car) to blow a tyre, e.g. He
just couldn’t figure out what caused a tyre of his car to blow out.
To cease to function, e.g. An
electric bulb blew out suddenly while I was reading.
(Storm) to come to an end, e.g.
After a few hours the storm blew itself out.
(Electricity) to suddenly stop
working, e.g. The fuse of a piece of electrical equipment blows out
causing it to stop working.
To destroy or damage something,
e.g. The explosion blew the shelves right out of
To be destroyed by an explosion,
e.g. A bomb planted by a saboteur exploded, blowing up a
To make something bigger by
forcing air into it, e.g. He blew up a balloon but it
couldn’t get bigger because it has a tiny hole.
To make a photograph, picture,
etc. larger, e.g. She blew her photograph up so that the
mole on her left cheek is more noticeable.
To become very angry with
someone or something, e.g. Jill’s father immediately blew up when
he read the amount on the telephone bill.
blurt … out
To say something suddenly
board … out
To pay and arrange for an animal
to stay with someone.
board … up
To cover, e.g. a window,
with wooden boards
To be too deeply involved in
something to have time to do other thing.
To tell someone to go away.
To heat liquid so much until it
To reduce the quantity of food
or liquid due to cooking.
To edit information so that
unnecessary detail is not included.
boil down to
To be concerned only with the
significant or essential element, e.g. Her wish to continue living with him
despite his abusive behaviour boils down to her fear of
To start losing one’s temper.
bomb … out
To completely destroy a
To study hard for an
To check in a hotel.
book … on
To make arrangements for someone
to travel on a plane or train.
boot … out
To dismiss or expel someone,
especially from a job or organization.
To get a computer ready for use.
To be on the verge of,
especially on the verge of tears.
To withdraw suddenly from an
activity you are engaged in.
bottle … up
To hide one’s feelings.
To stop getting worse,
To get better or recover,
especially from bad times.
To lower your head slightly by
bending top part of body forward to show respect.
To withdraw from an activity,
etc. which one has been engaged in for a long time.
To accede to a request or
To move very quickly, especially
in a vehicle.
bowl … out
To accidentally knock someone
down while dashing.
box … in
To feel you cannot act or move
box … off
To separate a smaller area from
a larger one by partitioning or erecting walls around it.
(Road, river, etc.) to separate
from another and go in a different direction.
To talk something else which is
not related to what is being discussed, conversed, etc.
brave … out
To deal bravely with something
that causes fear or problem.
brazen … out
To deal confidently with a
difficult or embarrassing situation.
To leave a group or political
party, usually due to disagreement, to form their own.
To cry, e.g. He broke
down instantly when informed that his terminally ill mother had
passed away in the hospital.
To gain entry, e.g. Firemen had
to break the door down to rescue an elderly
occupant from the fire.
(Vehicle, machine, etc.) To stop
working, e.g. A couple of cars broke down in the midst of
a traffic jam, aggravating the situation.
(Negotiation) to fail, e.g. The
negotiation for the exchange of prisoners broke down because
one side remains uncompromising in its demands.
(Total amount) to separate into
individual items or amounts.
To leave whatever you are doing
for lunch, etc.
To forcibly enter a place such
as a building for an illegal purpose, e.g. Thieves broke into an
office building by breaking a window.
To discontinue a relationship,
diplomatic relations, etc., e.g. Both countries broke off diplomatic
relations after one accused the other’s embassy staff of involvement in
To separate, especially a piece
from a larger one, e.g. He broke off a piece of bun and
threw it into a pond to feed the fishes.
To escape from a place, e.g.
After he broke out of jail once, he was transferred to a
maximum security prison.
To forcibly go through
something, etc., e.g. The burglars broke through a wall to
gain entry to the bank safe.
To stop a fight, e.g. They use
pails and buckets full of water, and hose to splash and spray water to break
up a fight between two dogs.
To separate a gathering, e.g.
Police appeared as usual to break up a peaceful
demonstration as expected.
To end a romantic relationship,
e.g. Their relationship broke up after they accused each
other of being selfish.
To cause something to separate
into many small pieces, e.g. Someone broke my mug up,
but no one owns up.
To take in air; to inhale.
To send air out from the lungs
To finish or complete something
easily, e.g. a task.
To make a drink of tea.
brick … off
To separate an area from a
bigger one by building a wall of bricks.
brick … up
To fill or close a space by
building a wall of bricks in it.
(Sky) to become brighter.
brighten … up
To make something more beautiful
(A box, container, etc.) to be
overfilled until it cannot be covered.
To cause something to happen, or
introduce new ideas.
To make someone regain
To persuade someone to agree.
To revive something that was
used previously, e.g. More and more people are clamouring for capital
punishment to be brought back.
To return with something,
especially from abroad or shop, e.g. He went to a pet shop and brought
back a couple of terrapins.
To make one remember or recall
something, e.g. Listening to these songs brings back fond
bring … down
To bring bird,
plane, etc. down by shooting.
To stop a government from
To bring anything high up such
as a kite, helicopter, etc. down to the ground.
bring ... down on
To cause something bad to happen
to someone, especially financial ruin.
bring … forth
To display something or make it
bring … forward
To make something happen sooner
rather than later.
To receive an income or earning,
e.g. He works for a large company and brings in a handsome
To include or invite someone to
participate in a discussion,
To involve someone in something.
bring ... on/upon
To cause something bad to happen
to someone, e.g. heavy rain had brought on landslides.
To produce something;
To make a person display his
To move someone or something
from where they are to where one is, e.g. She is bringing her
sister over tonight for a game of cards.
bring ... through
To help someone endure a
difficult period of time.
bring ... together
To assemble two or more people
for a particular purpose.
bring ... up
To raise a question, subject,
etc. at a meeting.
To care for a child until he/she
is a grown-up.
To have a lot of or be full of
To become wider.
bruit … abroad
To spread a report or rumour
brush … aside
To deliberately ignore
brush … down
To clean clothes or pet animals
with a bush.
brush … off
To refuse to consider someone’s
idea, opinion, etc. by ignoring them or passing unkind remark, e.g. The
police head brushed the whole thing off when
informed that some people are planning a bank robbery right in the city
brush up on
To quickly reread work done
previously that one has forgotten or to improve one’s knowledge, or to
practise and improve on an activity, e.g. I think I’d better brush
up on my singing and resume my singing career.
To attempt at achieving
To make or become more cheerful.
To rain heavily.
build … in/into
To make or include something as
a permanent part of something else, e.g. He had a safe built into the
wall of his house.
To add an extension to a
building in order to enlarge it.
To improve on something or carry
out more development on it
bulk … out
To treat a product so that it
appears bigger or its quantity appears greater than it is.
To laze about doing nothing.
To meet someone you know by
chance, e.g. I found it amazing when I bumped into my
neighbour in a shopping centre despite it being packed to capacity.
To accidentally knock into
someone or something, e.g. I hurried round the corner of a corridor and
accidentally bumped into a woman carrying drinks on a
tray, knocking them all over the floor.
bump … off
To murder someone.
bump … up
To make something larger or
appear to be larger.
bundle … off
To send someone somewhere in a
hurry, e.g. He was handcuffed and bundled off in a police car.
To dress in warm clothes.
To tie things together to form a
bung … up
To block something up such as
putting something in a hole.
To leave early and secretly from
a place such as school or work.
To be completely destroyed or
greatly damaged by fire, e.g. The fire burned away all his
valuable personal possessions.
To be destroyed by fire, e.g.
The whole factory was burned down after an explosion.
(Fire) to become weaker, e.g.
The fire burns down as its flame has become weaker and
produced less heat.
burn ... off
To get rid of something by
burning it, e.g. She burnt off all his photos.
To become exhausted through
overwork, e.g. He burned himself out by
working three full days with very little rest and sleep.
To be partially destroyed by
fire, e.g. The fire burnt out the kitchen and the adjoining
(Fire) to stop burning, e.g.
After three hours, the fire burnt itself out.
To be completely destroyed by
fire or physical exercises, etc. e.g. The whole building was
completely burned up; physical exercises burn up fat,
burn ... up
To make someone very angry, e.g.
It really burned her up when the boss
disapproved her application for a long leave.
be burning with
To be entirely possessed by (a
desire or emotion).
burst in on/upon
To interrupt something at an
To intrude into a place suddenly
To suddenly start to cry or
burn, e.g. burst into tears; burst into flames.
To appear suddenly in a
To explode outward.
To suddenly begin to cry, laugh,
or say something in an assertive manner, e.g. The audience burst
out laughing when the clown’s trousers suddenly dropped revealing
a pair of yellow shorts with red polka dots.
To escape from a place,
especially a prison.
To separate as lovers, partners,
bust … up
To disrupt something or prevent
it from continuing; to damage or break up something.
To interrupt or intrude rudely
on a conversation or activity, e.g. Whenever Jack talked to a girl at the
party, Jill would butt in.
To tell someone to stop
butter … up
To flatter someone.
To buy something in bulk.
buy … in
To withdraw something at auction
because it fails to reach the reserve price.
To make partial purchase of a
business with aim to control it; to accept or believe an idea.
buy … off
To pay someone money to stop
them causing trouble or threatening you.
buy … out
To pay someone to give up
ownership, interest, or share of a business.
To pay for one’s release from
the armed services.
To buy as much and as quickly as
you can of something.