In terms of word count, what is the longest phrasal verb in the language? (The longest that I can think of is only three words long, but there must be longer ones, right?)

Take "bend over backward" for instance. It's my understanding that "bend over backward" is a phrasal verb, because "over" and "backward" are not simply functioning as adverbs—the three words combined have a meaning that is distinct from any definition of the word "bend."

The winner of this competition shall earn the title Honored Champion of the Phrasal Verb.

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    The term 'phrasal verb' has conflicting definitions. Claridge (In 'Multi-word Verbs in Early Modern English ...') gives an overview of terminology, and lists the subset of verbo-nominal multi-word verbs such as put an end to. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 2 '17 at 21:48
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    Can you give an example of what you mean? (what is this one that you can think of?) – Mitch Oct 2 '17 at 23:03
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    Plus which, why? How could it matter, Paul? – Robbie Goodwin Oct 3 '17 at 22:59
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    @Robbie Goodwin It was my impression that everything about the English language matters here. Because this is a question that I've been thinking about a lot lately—for weeks—I thought I would open up the question to the rest of the forum. My apologies if the question is somehow beneath you. – Paul Oct 5 '17 at 0:25
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    "Bend over backwards" is an verb-idiom with a distinct meaning -- to "make every effort (to do something)". The meaning is completely distinct from "bend over in the direction of one's back" . – Roy Tinker Feb 21 '18 at 18:42

I just got

Make it up to

Four words.

  • Nice, it's 5 words if you'd count the somebody in keeping with Cambridge Dictionary's convention. – JJJ Jul 24 '18 at 1:33

I found

Plump yourself down

For a tie with

Bend over backward

If your not counting spaces

  • The question is about word count, not the number of characters. – JJJ Jul 23 '18 at 23:46

Get away with something (Cambridge Dictionary). For example:

I think I just got away with this; counting something as the fourth word. ;)


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