What is a Phrasal Verb?
Phrasal verbs (also called multi-word verbs) are idiomatic expressions, combining verbs and prepositions to make new verbs whose meaning is often not obvious from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. They are widely used in both written and spoken English, and new ones are formed all the time as they are a flexible way of creating new terms.
A phrasal verb consists of a verb and a preposition or adverb that modifies or changes the meaning; 'give up' is a phrasal verb that means 'stop doing' something, which is very different from 'give'. The word or words that modify a verb in this manner can also go under the name particle.
Phrasal verbs can be divided into groups:
These don't take an object
- Example: They had an argument, but they've made up now.
The object must come after the particle.
- Example: They are looking after their grandchildren.
With some separable verbs, the object must come between the verb and the particle:
The quality of their work sets them apart from their rivals.
In our phrasal verb list, we classify these as Separable [obligatory]
With some separable verbs, the object can before or after the particle, though when a pronoun is used it comes before the particle:
- Example: Turn the TV off.
- Example: Turn off the TV.
- Example: Turn it off.
In our phrasal verb list, we classify these as Separable [optional]
Our Phrasal Verb List
Click on the A-Z menu to browse our phrasal verb list alphabetically. Click on a verb to see the definition, example sentences, whether it is British or American English, and whether it is separable or not.
Our dictionary includes entries from around the world submitted by numerous contributors. It covers both modern language and older phrases. If you know of a phrasal verb that you feel should be included here, please use our online form to let us know about it. Please note that all submissions are reviewed for validity and accuracy by our Editor.
The latest 30 entries added to our Phrasal Verbs database:
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Enter single words here. Use the infinitive without 'to' for a verb. If you enter 'go', it will list all the phrasal verbs with 'go'. If you enter a preposition or particle in the box, like 'up', you can look at all the phrasal verbs containing 'up'.
If you have any suggestions for phrasal verbs that are not listed here, you can submit them to us using our online form.