Do components of a phrasal verb still have a meaning each or have a meaning together?

For example, ‘look down on’: ‘to think of or treat (someone or something) as unimportant or not worthy of respect’

Do ‘look,’ ‘down’ and ‘on’ still have a meaning each or collectively?

Precisely, what I wonder goes like this

Black (adj. color) widow (nom. woman) into black (adj. color) widow (nom. spider) or into black widow (nom. color+spider)

To the end, there’s no adjective or there’s still an adjective?

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    "Definition of phrasal verb : a phrase (such as take off or look down on) that combines a verb with a preposition or adverb or both and that functions as a verb whose meaning is different from the combined meanings of the individual words." (merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phrasal%20verb) – KannE Mar 20 at 4:52
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    @KannE I know, but I wonder each component of phrasal verbs have a new meaning. – user00000000000 Mar 20 at 5:42
  • In NC (US, SE Region), black widow means Latrodectus mactans or a woman who is a widow because she killed her husband(s). It may mean other things too, but you do realize that black widow is not a phrasal verb, right? A phrasal verb is a verb whose meaning is different (A + B = C) from the combined meanings of the individual words (A + B = A + B). – KannE Mar 20 at 10:03
  • @KannE I thought A+B=C+D Thank you – user00000000000 Mar 20 at 10:09
  • YW. You may need to do some research on open compound nouns. SE has a site, English Language Learners (ELL), which may have more on that. GM and welcome to ELU. – KannE Mar 20 at 11:16

Collins Dictionary has a nice and comprehensive article on phrasal verbs.

A phrasal verb is a type of verb that is created when a main verb is combined with either:

an adverb,

take off

give in

a preposition,

get at (someone)

pick on (weaker children)

or an adverb + preposition,

put up with (insults)

get out of (doing something)

Type A. Verb

plus adverb

Some Type A phrasal verbs have no object, i.e. they are intransitive. The sentence makes sense without any further addition to the verb.

Mary went away.

Helen sat down.

Others do require an object, i.e. they are transitive.

We could make out a figure in the distance.

He tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

Could you put your clothes away, please?

If the object is a noun, many Type A phrasal verbs will allow the adverb to come either:

before the object,

I picked up Jim on my way home.

He blew out the candle.

or after the object.

I picked Jim up on my way home.

He blew the candle out.

Please note the part of the answer below, because it is especially germane to your question:

Sometimes you can guess the meaning of these verbs from the meanings of the parts.

to sit down = sit + down

to go away = go + away

Sometimes you have to learn the new meanings, or use a dictionary.

to make up (an answer) = invent

to turn down (an invitation) = decline

Type B. Verb plus preposition

Type B phrasal verbs always have an object. This is because prepositions always have an object.

He asked for his bill.

He asked for it.

Sometimes there are two objects – the object of the verb and the object of the preposition.

He asked the waiter for the bill.

Type C. Verb plus adverb and preposition

Type C phrasal verbs are a combination of the two previous kinds of verb. All the parts of a Type C phrasal verb come before the object.

We are looking forward to our holiday/it.

Don’t put up with bad behaviour/it.

It is sometimes hard to tell adverbs and prepositions apart, because often the same word can be both a preposition and an adverb, depending on how it is used. For further information about prepositions see Prepositions.

The following are examples of the three types of phrasal verb that are explained on Phrasal verbs.

Type A

Phrasal verbs made from a verb plus an adverb may be intransitive (do not take an object) or transitive (take an object). some phrasal verbs that do not take an object some phrasal verbs that do take an object to break down to blow something up to carry on to break something off to fall down to bring a child up to get about to bring a subject up to get up to catch somebody up to give up to clear something up to go away to close something down to go off to give something up to go on to leave something out to grow up to make something up to hold on to pick someone up

Type B

Phrasal verbs made from a verb plus a preposition are all transitive. to add to something to hope for something to agree with someone to insist on something to apply for a job to laugh at something to approve of something to listen to something to arrive at a place to look after someone to ask for something to look for something to believe in something to look into something to belong to someone to pay for something to call on someone to refer to something to care for someone to rely on someone to come across something to run into someone to deal with something to run over something Some Type B verbs are doubly transitive, since both the verb and the preposition can have an object. to add insult to injury to ask a grown-up for help to check your answers with the teacher to pay the assistant for your shopping to refer a customer to the manager

Type C

Phrasal verbs with an adverb plus a preposition all take a prepositional object. to be fed up with something to keep away from something to carry on with something to look back on something to catch up with something to look forward to something to check up on something to look out for something to come up with something to look up to someone to cut down on something to make up for something to do away with something to put in for something to face up to something to run away with something to fall back on something to run out of something to get on with someone to run up against something to get out of something to stand up for something to go back on something to walk out on someone to go in for something to watch out for something to break in on someone to lead up to something

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