'A to Z' List of Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are frequently used in spoken English as well as informal texts. You will also come across these in the verbal section of various competitive exams. As the name suggests, a phrasal verb is composed of two or three words, including a verb and an adverb or preposition. Generally, the meaning of the phrasal verb is not very obvious from the main verb.
The meaning differs due to the accompanying preposition or adverb. Example: ‘look up’ and ‘look down’ are two phrasal verbs with different meanings. In this series of articles, you will learn about the commonly used phrasal verbs and their meanings. Each article consists of 10-20 phrasal verbs explained with the help of examples. The lists are arranged in the alphabetical order of phrases.
List of Phrasal Verbs – 1
Phrasal verbs starting with letter A
Phrasal VerbMeaningExamples
Abide by respect or obey. (the law, a decision, a rule)If you want to stay at this school, you must abide by the rules.
Account for explain, give a reasonI hope you can account for the money you spent!
Add up make sense, seem reasonableHer story just doesn't add up.
Advise against recommend not doing somethingThe doctor advised him against carrying heavy loads.
Agree with have the same opinion as somebody else.I agree with you. I think she deserves the award too.
Aim at point something in the direction of a targetThe policeman aimed his gun at the hijacker.
Allow for take into consideration,  include in a calculationYou'd better leave early to allow for traffic jams.
Appeal to 1. plead or make an earnest request
2. be attractive or interesting                                        
1. The organizers appealed to the crowd to stay calm.
2. A trekking holiday doesn't appeal to me.
Apply for make a formal request for something, (job, permit, loan etc.)He applied for the job he saw advertised in the newspaper.
Avail (oneself) of take advantage of something (an opportunity)When the company is privatized, you should avail yourself of the opportunity and buy some shares.
List of Phrasal Verbs – 2
Phrasal verbs starting with letter B
Phrasal VerbMeaningExamples
Back away move backwards, in fear or dislikeWhen he saw the dog, he backed away.
Back down withdraw,  concede defeatLocal authorities backed down on their plans to demolish the building.
Back up 1. give support or encouragement
2. make a copy of (file, program, etc.)
1. If I tell the boss we've got too much work, will you back me up?
2. It is recommended to back up all files in a secure location.
Bail out 1. pay money to secure someone's release
2. rescue from financial difficulties
1. When he was arrested, his family refused to bail him out.
2. The government bailed out the bank.
Bank on base your hopes on someone/somethingDon't forget the date. I'm banking on your help.
Boil down to be summarized asThe problem boils down to a lack of money.
Boot up start a computer by loading an operating system or program.Just give me a few minutes to boot up the computer.
Break away escape from captivityA few horses broke away from the paddock.
Break down 1. go out of order, cease to function
2. lose control of one's emotions    
1. Nitish's car broke down so he had to take the bus.
2. The parents broke down when they heard the bad news.
Break into enter by forceBurglars broke into the house around midnight.
Break out start suddenlyRioting broke out as a result of the strike.
Break out of escape from a place by forceThree prisoners broke out of jail.
Break up come to an end (marriage, relationship)After her marriage broke up, Seema went to live in London.
Bring up raise (a child)She stopped working in order to bring up her children.
Brush up on improve, refresh one's knowledge of somethingMeena had to brush up on her English before going to America.
Bump into meet by accident or unexpectedlyPadma bumped into her English teacher at the supermarket.
Burn out 1. stop (something) working
2. become exhausted from over-working
1. The fuse has burnt out.
2. Tom will burn himself out if he doesn't slow down.
List of Phrasal Verbs – 3
Phrasal verbs starting with letter C
Phrasal VerbMeaningExamples
Call back return a phone callI'll call you back as soon as possible.
Call off cancelThe meeting was called off because of the strike.
Call on/upon formally invite or requestI now call upon the President to address the assembly.
Calm down become more relaxed, less angry or upsetHe was angry at first but he eventually calmed down.
Carry on continueHe carried on gardening in spite of the rain.
Carry out 1. do something as specified  (a plan, an order, a threat)
2. perform or conduct (test, experiment)
1. The plan was carried out to perfection.
2. Tests are carried out to determine the efficiency of a new drug.
Carry over postpone until laterAs regards holidays, can you carry over any days from one year to the next?
Check in register at a hotel or airportFor security reasons you have to check in two hours before your flight.
Check out 1. pay one's bill and leave (a hotel)
2. investigate
1. Is Mr. Kumar still at the hotel?  No, he checked out this morning.
2. I don't know if the address is still valid. I'll check it out.
Clam up refuse to speakWhen the teacher arrived she clammed up.
Clamp down on act strictly to prevent somethingThe government has decided to clamp down on smoking in public places.
Come across 1. find by chance
2. appear, seem, make an impression
1. Veena came across some photographs of her grandparents in the store room.
2. The candidate came across as a dynamic person during the interview.
Come forward  present oneselfThe police have asked any witnesses to come forward.
Come up against be faced with or opposed byThe project came up against a lot of criticism.
Count on rely or depend on (for help)I'm counting on the taxi driver to find the theatre.
Cross out remove by drawing a line throughIn some exercises, you are asked to cross out the incorrect word.
Cut down on reduce in number or sizeThe doctor told him to cut down on cigarettes.
Cut out 1. remove using scissors
2. stop doing something
1. She cut out a picture in a magazine.
2. I'm going to cut out eating between meals.
List of Phrasal Verbs – 4
Phrasal verbs starting with letters D-F
Phrasal VerbMeaningExamples
Deal with handle, take care of  (problem, situation)The manager is good at dealing with difficult customers.
Die down calm down, become less strongWhen the applause died down, she started to sing.
Do without manage withoutThe shops are closed so we'll have to do without sugar.
Drag on last longer than expectedWe expected a short speech but it dragged on and on!
Draw upwrite (contract, agreement, document)An agreement was drawn up and signed by the two parties.
Dress up 1. wear elegant clothes
2. disguise oneself
1. Do people dress up to go to the opera in your country?
2. Children love to dress up at Halloween.
Drop in visit, usually on the way somewhereI sometimes drop in to see my grandparents on my way home from school.
Drop off 1. deliver someone or something
2. fall asleep
1. I'll drop you off at the bus stop if you like.
2. Granddad often drops off in front of the TV.
Drop out leave school without finishingShe decided to go to art school then dropped out after the first term.
End in finish in a certain way; result inTheir marriage ended in divorce.
Ease off reduce, become less severe or slow down  (pain, traffic, work)After Christmas the workload generally eases off.
End up finally reach a state, place or actionIf he continues his misconduct he'll end up in prison.
Even out 1. eliminate differences of opinion.
2. become level or regular
1. After a long discussion they managed to even out their differences.
2. The road was evened out to make it safer.
Fall through fail; doesn't happenOur planned boat trip fell through because of the storm.
Figure out understand, find the answerI'm trying to figure out how to assemble the bookshelves.
Fill out complete (a form/an application)Please fill out the enclosed form and return it as soon as possible.
Find out discover or obtain informationI'm going to call the cinema to find out what time the film starts.
Focus on concentrate on somethingThe advertising campaign will focus on the quality of the product.
List of Phrasal Verbs – 5
Phrasal verbs starting with letter G
Phrasal VerbMeaningExamples
Get along (with) be on good terms; work well withI get along (well) with my mother-in-law.
Get at implyWhat exactly are you trying to get at?
Get away escapeThe robbers got away in a black car.
Get by manage to cope or to surviveIt's difficult to get by on a low salary.
Get in enterHow did the thief get in?
Get into (+noun) enterHow did the thief get into the house?
Get off 1. leave (bus, train, plane)
2. remove
1. You should get off the bus at the main market of the town.
2. She can't get the stain off her sweater.
Get on board (bus, train, plane)You can pay when you get on the bus.
Get on with (something) continue to do; make progressBe quiet and get on with your homework.
Get on (well) with (somebody) have a good relationship withI get on very well with my colleagues.
Get out leaveHow did he get out?
Get out of (+noun) leaveHow did he get out of the house?
Get out of avoid doing somethingSome husbands manage to get out of doing any housework.
Get over recover from (illness, disappointment)My grandmother had pneumonia but she got over it.
Get rid of eliminateIt's difficult to get rid of old habits.
Get together meet each otherLet's get together for lunch on day.
Get up rise, leave bedI usually get up at 7 o'clock.
Give up stop doing somethingRajesh gave up smoking 5 years ago.
Go through experiencePriya went through a lot of pain after the accident.
Grow up spend one's childhood; develop; become an adultHe grew up in a small village in the mountains.
List of Phrasal Verbs – 6
Phrasal verbs starting with letters H-L
Phrasal VerbMeaningExamples
Hand in submit (report, homework)All application forms must be handed in before the end of the month.
Hand out distributeSamples will be handed out at the end of the demonstration.
Hang up end a phone conversation"Don't hang up. I haven't finished yet."
Hit at aim a blow atHe hit at the wasp with the newspaper.
Hit back retaliate; reply to an attackWhen he was attacked by the others, the boy hit back.
Hit on/upon find unexpectedly or by inspirationShe hit upon an idea for her new collection.
Hold on 1. wait
2. grip tightly
1. "Hold on please.  I'll put you through to Mr. Khanna"
2. She held on to the railing as she crossed the bridge.
Hurry up be quick, act speedilyHurry up! We'll miss the bus.
Iron out resolve by discussion, eliminate differencesThe meeting tomorrow will be an opportunity to iron out difficulties.
Join in participateShe was too shy to join in the game.
Join up 1. engage in, become a member of
2. meet and unite with
1. Deven was in the Army and Shekher joined up as soon as he left school.
2. The two groups of tourists joined up at the hotel.
Jot down take quick notesI jotted down the address while watching the programme on TV.
Keep on continue doing somethingIt told him to be quiet but he kept on making noise.
Keep up with stay at the same level as someone or somethingKaran walks so fast it's difficult to keep up with him.
Kick off begin, startThe football match kicked off at 3 o'clock.
Leave out omit, not mentionThe child's name was left out of the report.
Let down disappointYou promised to come to the party, so don't let me down!
Look after take care ofA babysitter looks after the children when their parents go out.
Look ahead think of the futureIt's time to forget the past and look ahead.
Look down on consider as inferiorHe tends to look down on anyone who is not successful.
Look on be a spectator at an eventBillu didn't take part in the fight.  He just looked on.
Look for try to find somethingSeema went to the shops to look for a pair of shoes.
Look forward to await or anticipate with pleasureI look forward to seeing you soon.
Look up to admireHe was a wonderful teacher and many students looked up to him.
List of Phrasal Verbs – 7
Phrasal verbs starting with letters M-P
Phrasal VerbMeaningExamples
Make fun of laugh at/ make jokes aboutThe old lady dresses so strangely that the kids make fun of her.
Make up invent (excuse, story)Some employees make up excuses when they arrive late for work.
Mix up mistake one thing or person for anotherI don't know my neighbours' names yet.  I keep mixing them up.
Move in arrive in a new home or officeYou've bought a new house? When are you moving in?
Move out leave your home/office for another one.My neighbour is leaving.  He's moving out next Saturday.
Nod off fall asleepMy grandfather often nods off in front of the television.
Note down write somethingI'll call the station and note down the departure times.
Opt out leave a system or decide not to participateI enjoy tennis but I'm so busy I had to opt out of the tournament.
Own up admit or confess somethingThe boy owned up.  He said he kicked the ball through the window.
Pass away dieThe old lady passed away peacefully.
Pass out faintShe passed out when she heard the bad news.
Pay back reimburseI'll lend you Rs. 20 provided you pay me back before the end of the week.
Put off postpone, arrange a later dateThe meeting was put off because of the strike.
Put on turn on, switch onCould you put on the light please?
Put out extinguishIt took a long time to put out the fire.
Put up accommodate, give somebody a bedWe can put you up if you'd like to come for a week-end.
Pick up collect somebodyI'll pick you up at the station when you arrive.
Point out indicate/direct attention to somethingShe pointed out the mistake.
List of Phrasal Verbs – 8
Phrasal verbs starting with letters R-T
Phrasal VerbMeaningExamples
Rely on count on, depend on, trustDon't worry.  You can rely on me.  I can keep a secret.
Rule out eliminateThe police ruled out political motives.
Run away escape from a place or suddenly leaveHe ran away from home at the age of fourteen.
Run into meet by accident or unexpectedly (also: bump into)Sheetal ran into Meera at the shopping centre.
Shop around compare pricesIt's always wise to shop around before buying anything.
Show off brag or want to be admiredThere's Devesh showing off in his new sports car!
Show up appear/arriveWe expected Deepak to come but he didn't show up.
Shut up  (impolite)      be silent, stop talkingOh shut up, you idiot!
Sit down take a seatPlease come in and sit down.
Stand up rise from a sitting positionThe pupils stood up when the headmaster arrived.
Stick up for defendIt's important to stick up for one's principles.
Take after resemble, in appearance or characterJagat really takes after his dad.
Take care of look afterI'll take care of your plants while you're away.
Take off leave the groundThe plane took off at 6 a.m.
Take on hire or engage staffBusiness is good so the company is taking on extra staff.
Take out remove; extractShe took out a pen to note the address.