I would like to know some commonly-used phrasal verbs referring to the action of stop being consistent in doing something. A phrasal verb that sounds natural and can be used in the following context.

e.g. I started to work out four times a week last spring, I was doing great,but I (gradually stopped doing so) lately.

Thanks for your help!


I'd say, "I've slackened off lately." From Merriam-Webster:

Definition of slack off

1 : to do something with less effort or energy than before
I was exercising regularly last summer, but I've been slacking off recently.


Give up

to stop doing something that you do regularly



Faltered means to ‘fail in walking’ or lose your step, it is traditionally also used to describe ‘sinners who have lost their path’ or gone wrong.

To lose strength or purpose, to begin to fail or stop.

  • I started to work out four times a week last spring, I was doing great, but I faltered lately.
  • I was learning the violin but then I faltered.



I'd use tail off.

From [CED]:

tail off — phrasal verb with tail verb: to reduce in amount or become lower in level

M-W adds the 'gradually', probably connected with the tapering of a tail, though doesn't give a wide enough definition:

tail off phrasal verb: to become smaller or quieter in a gradual way

ditto for Farlex:

tail off: to dwindle, diminish, or fade away.

His campaign started really strong, but public support for the candidate tailed off following a series of scandals.

But they do include an 'agent [here non-sentient] reduces [here perceived] output' example:

The lights on the car began tailing off into the blackness of the night, leaving me alone in the empty field.

'Tail off' is often used to describe speech, even as a quote verb. But none of the dictionaries I've checked in mention the running sense, but it is quite common, especially in horse-racing. Here is one example [LivesRunning], involving a human agent:

He attacked the field, running the first lap in 58 seconds (as fast, by comparison, as the women’s Olympic final), and, if he tailed off afterwards, still he just about held on to finish in around 2 minutes 15.

It's not much of a further metaphorical stretch to apply it to gradually falling away from other exercise (and then any other practice). I've only been able to find an anecdotal example from mumsnet on the internet:

I've been to the physio, and started off doing my exercises religiously. Have tailed off somewhat now.


There are so many:

  • Stay away from

  • Get out of

  • Duck out of/Wriggle out of/ flinch from/ abstain from and refrain from.

Any one will do. But if you are still in the process, write

  • Cut down

  • Bring down

  • Shave off

  • Whittle away.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.