A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and a preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

6
votes
2answers
529 views

What's the meaning of “dummy up”?

What does "dummy up" mean here? The cops wouldn't tell me who the owner was, but we're a military town, so I took a chance. Called my insurance (USAA) and as luck would have it, that was the other ...
1
vote
1answer
445 views

Is “trained up” grammatically correct?

When I hear expressions like "you need to get trained up", I think the up is, at best, superfluous and probably grammatically incorrect. Is that the case, or does the up serve a purpose?
-2
votes
3answers
522 views

Meaning of “go down” [closed]

What's the meaning of go down? Little did anyone know, the 47-year-old Silicon Valley executive was actually engaged in a giant scam...He was finally caught by Target security on May 8, and he was ...
1
vote
2answers
535 views

Meaning of “ball off ”? [closed]

How do you get a good job without a college degree?? Claim unemployment, ballin off the state bro.
2
votes
3answers
651 views

Meaning of “lay down”

What does lay down mean? One of my closest friends is 24 and clears $100k welding stainless. No degree, loves his job, but he worked his balls off to get there. Hardly unskilled labor. He ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between “she cut her hair” and “she cut her hair off”?

Why are we using off here? What additional meaning does it add? The meaning of off from http://tfd.com/off that suits this sentence is: "away (from a place, time etc.)".
4
votes
3answers
2k views

“… is about to …” vs. “… is going to …”

I found that is about to is used in the following sentence of the news article titled “Tech belt sees hiring surge” in The Boston Globe. “The company is about to go on a hiring spree, from ...
5
votes
3answers
617 views

“Climbed up over …” vs. “climbed over …”

I found that climbed up over is used in the following sentence of the 'excerpt' “The Amber Spyglass” in The New York Times. “Ama and her daemon climbed up over the rock shelves and around ...
2
votes
2answers
341 views

“Talk with” vs “talk live with”

What is the difference between talk with people and talk live with people? I think all kinds of talk is live. If so, why we would say talk live with people?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“Pick up something” or “pick something up”?

I have difficulties with word order: I have picked up the pencil from the floor. [says my dictionary] ?I have picked the pencil up from the floor. [could be?] ?I will pick up it. [sounds ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Phrasal verbs (formal and informal use) [closed]

I'm not always comfortable with phrasal verbs. I find that Americans use a lot of phrasal verbs than say people from UK -- I might be completely wrong though. What I find most difficult with phrasal ...
0
votes
3answers
6k views

difference between “engage with someone” and “engage someone”?

What is the difference between "engaging with someone" and "engaging someone"? For example, what is the difference between these two expressions: How do you engage with your employees? How do you ...
2
votes
2answers
255 views

Should “in” be used with “aiding and abetting”?

Aiding and abetting, also sometimes aiding or abetting, is often found in legal definitions of accessorial liability for crimes, for example "aiding or abetting a felony." Is it proper to use "in" ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

“Writing things down” vs. “writing things up”

Is there any difference in the usage of "writing things down" vs. "writing things up"? Are they both correct?
5
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the origin and earliest recorded usage of 'cock-up'

In informal British English, the expression 'cock-up' (c.f. the US English 'fuck-up') is used to indicate an error or problem in a situation. What is the origin of this expression and its etymology? ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

Difference between “run into”, “come upon” and “come across”

These phrasal verbs have a similar meaning (please correct me if not): run into come across come upon Are there any nuances to choose between them? For example, I might be wrong but I mostly see ...
0
votes
2answers
150 views

Fell out of the car

The following is taken from a website: Sir, do you realize your wife fell out of the car several miles back? The expression fell out here, as I checked in the dictionary, doesn't make any sense. ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

Past tense of “backup”

Which is the past tense of backup? backuped backup-ed backed up backed-up The context is the following: Due to the advent of cloud-based storage solutions, the data is backed up in different ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the meaning of 'out' when it comes after a verb ?

What's the difference between a verb like read and read out or shout and shout out and so on? How does "out" change the meaning of verbs?
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“nibble” vs. “nibble on”

I've been told by a native speaker that the verb "to nibble" can be used both with and without a preposition. So, is there a difference between I would definitely like to nibble on one of those ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

Stabbing and running, how are they related?

When you literally run through some where, e.g. I have run through the streets of London it is quite clear what is meant. At a slightly more figurative level one might say, I will run ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Difficult and rare words/expressions that never show up in vocabulary lists

I've come quite far in my studies of the English language; ask me what "eleemosynary," "perspicacious" or "rambunctious" means and I'll give you an instant definition. But I'm still not on a native ...
-2
votes
4answers
244 views

To retroactively create?

Is there a verb that means "retroactively create"? For example: John wanted to retroactively create a relationship with his estranged father. I'm not looking for a word that means ...
-2
votes
1answer
219 views

Contextual meaning of “run out of” [closed]

This is from CSI NY. Two investigators are examining a victim's body. Joe: Well, I almost ran out of here. Any idea who she is? Mic: No. Definitely doesn't work in the lab.
5
votes
2answers
378 views

Do you use “pore over”?

As in, I spent all night poring over those legal documents. Or, do you use pore through? Not to be confused with pour (some sugar).
3
votes
1answer
14k views

Is the term “errored out” a grammatically correct phrase, or just a colloquial one?

I was wondering whether it is OK to use "errored out" as part of a status message in my code — is it grammatically correct to use it, or is there a better choice of words that I can use in its ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What’s the meaning of ‘go on’ here?

‘Go on’ has a lot of meanings in dictionaries, which makes me confused. What’s the omitted words and meanings of ‘go on’ in the following scene? (They are gambling on a sport in the magical world.) ...
1
vote
2answers
280 views

What does “come away” mean here, in reference to a memorial?

Does come away here mean "you come away from home"? From a CNN article: Robert Henry, a former U.S. appeals judge whose office was across the street from the federal building, says the memorial ...
4
votes
8answers
409 views

How to express misusing a tool

I am not a native English speaker. I was wondering how to express the situation in which one uses a tool for something other than what it was meant to be, and in a bad way so that you are not doing ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “turn off” mean here?

Could it be a typo for "and one by one they will be turned off"? CNN: Many of the existing space telescopes, Hubble included, are nearing the end of their lifetimes, and one by one they will turn ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

“Heat up” or “heat”

It seems they have same meaning but why are we using the phrasal verb? Or they have same meaning?
4
votes
4answers
44k views

Does the phrase “who's in?” or “I'm in!” exist in (informal) English?

I really think I've heard it in some American sitcom/sitcoms, meaning something like participating in. "I want to play football. Who's in?" — "Great idea, I'm in!" Does it really exist, or am I wrong? ...
2
votes
2answers
681 views

What's the meaning of “delivering up” here?

Context (Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address), There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution ...
2
votes
1answer
607 views

Meaning of “press upon”

In Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address, I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What is the phrasal verb or idiom that says about something that came is too late

I can't remember a phrasal verb or an idiom that describes something that came too late, i.e. i bought this book to solve this mathematical problem, however as it only came a week later it was xxxxxx. ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What is the past tense of this phrasal verb (double down)?

Blackjack players can "double down" after receiving their initial two cards. What is the past tense of 'Double Down'?
2
votes
1answer
382 views

What does “fly against” mean?

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/11/stop-me-if-you-think-youve-seen-this-word-before.html: I'm not sure this kind of experiment would fly against today's Google, but it worked in 2004. ...
1
vote
4answers
698 views

Is this a correct usage of “wait on”? [closed]

I've written the following phrase in a technical document: ... the Task is exposed, so it can be waited on In this context (.NET development), Task is an object instance, and by "waiting on" it, ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

“Cover off” meaning “cover”

I've noticed that some business people (generally management types) have started to use the expression "cover off" to mean "cover". E.g. Can you cover off agenda item 3 for me? or Not ...
1
vote
2answers
623 views

“Open” vs. “open up”

Which of the following two variants is correct with reference to some email attachments? I am unable to open them. I am unable to open up them.
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Phrasal verb/expression for “bring people together somewhere”

Is there a phrasal verb or expression to express the idea of bringing people together somewhere, other than explicitly using "people" in the sentence? I am looking for something that already implies ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

What is the difference among ‘In you come’, ‘Come on in’, and ‘Do come in’?

Bagman suddenly spotted Harry, got up quickly, and bounded forward. “Ah, here he is! Champion number four! In you come, Harry, in you come … nothing to worry about, it's just the wand weighing ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Throw away/in/out for rubbish?

Is it best to use "throw away" or "throw in" for an expression when you ask someone not to throw something, like "Don't throw them away/in/out (the rubbish bin)." Specifically, if one doesn't know ...
4
votes
2answers
245 views

Meaning of “the body soon learns to stand down in the face of fat”

The following is from the transcript of a podcast. Dieters can choose from an array of snacktackular options in which sugars and fats are replaced by artificial, low-calorie substitutes. That ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

Does “filling out” equal to “filling in”?

I quoted the following from a pamphlet: Please read the instructions carefully before filling out the application form. The application will be returned to you and the registration may be ...
0
votes
2answers
828 views

The phrase, “It's on tonight.”

Is the sentence, "It's on tonight," grammatically correct? What about "It's on for tonight?" Are they both correct? Is there any difference at all?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between “call off” vs. “cancel”?

You have to get Chang to call off some of this homework.
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Etymology of “end up” and “wind up”

What is the etymology of the phrase "end up", and of the meaning of "wind up" that means essentially the same thing? To clarify, I mean the specific meaning of "wind up" that means the same as "end ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Phrasal Verbs. Rules and Tricks

Are there any rules or tricks that might explain how phrasal verbs are formed to understand their meanings?
12
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the origin of the phrase “turns out”?

What is the origin of "turns out" as it appears in the phrases below: It turns out As it turns out Let me know how it turns out What is turning, what is coming out, and from where? I can't find ...