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Back down (insep) Accept another person's point of view or argument instead of your own or decide not to do something after all. Climb down, give in

  • Yesterday, he backed down on his campaign pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions, one of the major causes of global warming.
  • The company only backed down after a worldwide campaign by activists.
  • British Airways has backed down from its policy of not allowing staff to wear jewellry.

Back out [Back out, Back out of something] (insep) withdraw (agreement, deal, arrangement, contract) Avoid doing something when you have promised to. Pull out

  • He backed out at the last moment.
  • The company is thought to have become suspicious and backed out of the deal.
  • You can't back out of the deal now -you signed your name on the contract.

Back up support [Back somebody/something up] 1 Support somebody.

  • Four witnesses backed him up.
  • Make sure that you have some examples to back up your arguments.

2 Make a copy as a precaution.

  • For more information about how to back up your data, see Help and Support Center.
  • Back up your files, so that you can restore them if a virus damages them.

3 [Back up, back something up] Move backwards in a vehicle.

  • We had to back up a long way and try a different route.
  • I backed the car up several hundred yards.

Bail out [Bail somebody out] 1 Pay a deposit so that somebody who has been arrested can be released.

  • He called his father to bail him out knowing that he had quite a bit of influence in the city.

2 Help somebody who is in trouble.

  • He drew on his family name and family connections to help bail him out of failed ventures in the oil industry.
  • Faced with bankruptcy, he turned to a shadowy Mafia-controlled finance company to bail him out.
  • He does what he wants and ignores the consequences, usually because his parents are there to bail him out.

Bang up [Bang somebody up] Put somebody in prison. Lock up

  • He was banged up for drug dealing.
  • He has been banged up for a decade now, but becomes eligible for parole this year.

Be back (insep) Return. Come back

  • What time will you be back?
  • I'll be back in a minute.

Be off 1 (insep) Leave a place. Go away

  • I'm just off to see the solicitor. I should be back around lunchtime.
  • She's caught the travel bug now - she's off to Barbados this year.
  • Where's she off to then?

2 (insep) Be disconnected or not working.

  • The power was off for about 3 hours.

3 (insep) Be cancelled.

  • Due to the many last minute cancellations tonight's party is off.
  • He said no one had told them officially that the concert was off.

4 (insep) (milk, fish) Not be good to eat any more. Go off

  • I think this milk is off.

Be out 1 (insep) Be available to the public; appear. Come out

  • When is the new magazine out?
  • They tried to keep it secret but the story is out now.

2 (insep) Not be at home or work.

  • The manager is out at the moment.

Be up to [Be up to something].- 1 (insep) Be doing or planning something bad.

  • I'm sure he's up to no good.
  • I wonder what they're up to now.

2 (insep) Be doing something.

  • What have you been up to lately?
  • To learn more about what she is up to, please visit her blog.

Bear up 1 [Bear up to something] (insep)(insep) Accept another person's point of view or argument instead of your own or you decide not to do something after all.

  • His argument for this claim doesn't bear up under examination.
  • This story doesn't bear up to the truth.
  • That just doesn't bear up to the facts.

2 (insep) Stay calm despite facing difficulties.

  • He' bearing up well under the circumstances.
  • He's bearing up extremely well.

Beaver away (insep) Work hard. Slog away

  • I have been beavering away on a project all year.

Black out (insep) faint Lose consciousness. Pass out Come round, come to Bring round, bring to

  • I blacked out and when I woke up I was in hospital.

Blow out [Blow out, blow something out] (insep) (match, candle, flame, lamp) Be extinguished. Put out

  • I blew out the candles and we ate cake.

Blow over (insep) (scandal, problem, troubles, issue, controversy, affair, row, argument) Be forgotten.

  • The politician is keeping a low profile until the scandal blows over.

Blow up 1 explode [Blow up, blow something up] Explode.

  • Terrorists intended to blow up the parliament when the president was speaking there, but police foiled the plans.

2 get angry (insep) Get angry.

  • I've been under a lot of pressure lately. I didn't mean to blow up like that.
  • I don't understand. It's not like her to blow up over a silly little row like that.

3 (incident, affair) Exaggerate something.

  • The media blew up the incident.

4 (tyre, dinghy, balloon, airbed) Fill something with air. Pump up

  • More volunteers are needed to blow up balloons and distribute posters and
    balloons to all the houses early in the morning before the event.

Blurt out [Blurt something out] (news, answer, secret) Say something without thinking.

  • Don't blurt out answers without thinking.
  • Every parent, at least once, has had the little darling blurt out something that was said in private that was never intended for others to hear.

Brighten up 1 (insep) (weather, morning) Become happier or better.

  • At last the weather brightened up!
  • As the morning brightened up I decided to give the area a look.

2 [Brighten something up].- (day, Saturday, morning, wardrobe, life) Make something more colourful or cheerful.

  • Hair pro, Marcy Cona, shows you how to brighten up your hair with this diy kit.
  • Follow these simple steps to brighten up your life and make yourself much happier.

Boil down [Boil down to something] (insep) (situation, question, issue) Be the most important thing.

  • A lot of this boils down to lack of education.

Boss around [Boss somebody around] Treat somebody unpleasantly, giving unnecessary orders all the time.

  • The new manager made a big mistake when he started bossing the staff about.
  • Stop bossing me around, will you?

Bounce back Recover from something unpleasant.

  • The company went bankrupt, but managed to bounce back with a new management.

Brass off Be angry, upset or fed up.

  • I'm brassed off.

Very common & useful phrasal verb Break down 1 (insep) (car, system, machine, talks, negotiations, marriage, argument, plan, relations) Stop working because it has a serious problem. Pack up, conk out

  • The elevators in this building are always breaking down.
  • Sorry I'm late. The car broke down on the way here.
  • Diplomatic relations have broken down between the two countries.

2 Lose control and start crying. Crack up

  • When he told her he didn't love her anymore, she broke down.

Break down destroy [Break something down] (door, wall, barrier, resistance, opposition, reserve) Destroy something.

  • The police got into the house by breaking the door down.

Break in [Break in, break into something] (insep) (building, house, grounds, computer, system) Enter a place using force or by breaking the law. Break out

  • An unemployed programmer from Britain has been accused of breaking into a large number of US military computers.

Break in [Break somebody in] (employee, recruit) Help somebody get used to a new situation or job or train them.

  • I'll bring my wife with me, but this is all new to her so I'll have to break her in gently.

Break in [Break something in] (boots, shoes, car, horse) Use something until it's comfortable, it works properly or does what it's supposed to do.

  • I've been breaking the boots in since yesterday, and except for some lower shin pressure, they haven't bothered me at all.

Break off [Break something off] (agreement, engagement, relations, relationship, alliance) Put an end to something because of a problem.

  • I was extremely stunned when Mac and Brumby broke off their engagement.

Break out 1 begin (insep) (riots, violence, row, fire, epidemic, disease, war, rash, spots, sweat, tears, argument) Begins suddenly or violently.

  • Riots broke out in the streets of Los Angeles.
  • I was only 12 when the war broke out.
  • Do you know what to do if a fire breaks out at home?

2 escape (insep) Escape. Break in

  • The two criminals broke out of prison yesterday.

Break up stop [Break something up] (fight, quarrel, party, crowd, marriage, relationship, couple, alliance, school, meeting) Stop.

  • Three policemen were needed to break up the fight.
  • The meeting broke up around 10 o'clock.

Breeze through [Breeze through something] (insep) (exam, test) Pass something easily. Sail through, sweep through, walk through

  • In the dream, I was in a classroom, taking some sort of test, and I just breezed through it, like it was nothing.

Bring about [Bring something about] Cause (reform, changes) Make something happen.

  • This bill, together with that concerning private pensions, will bring about the reform of the pension system in Romania.

Bring back [Bring something back] (memories) Makes you think about something that happened a long time ago.

  • Looking at the photos brought back a lot of memories of my visit to the place.

Bring in 1 [Bring somebody in] (doctor, expert, consultant, technician) Ask somebody to come and help. Call in

  • How much will it cost to bring in a technician?

2 [Bring something in] (bill, law, regulation, rule, system, scheme) Introduce something.

  • They want to bring in a law to stop car manufacturers advertising speed as one of the main attributes of new models.

Bring off [Bring something off] accomplish Succeed in something. Pull off

  • I didn't think you'd be able to bring it off.

Bring out [Bring something out] (product) Make something available to the public.

  • He's bringing out a new novel.
  • Madonna has just brought out a new record.

Bring round, bring to [Bring somebody round, bring somebody to] Help somebody regain consciousness.

  • The doctor was desperately trying to bring him round.

Bring up [Bring somebody up] Look after a child until it has grown up.

  • It isn't easy to bring up children nowadays.
  • My parents brought me up to be polite.

Bring up [Bring something up] (issue, matter, point, subject) Mention a subject or topic. Come up, drag up

  • I feel these programmes bring up issues they're too young to deal with.

Brush up [Brush something up, brush up on something] (English, French, subject) Study something to try and revise or improve it a little. Polish up

  • I'm looking for a short course to brush up my English before I go on holiday.

Bugger off (insep, taboo) Tell somebody to get lost or leave you alone Fuck off, sod off

  • He told me to bugger off and then stopped talking to me.

Build up increase [Build something up] (muscles, strength, stamina, reputation, sales, speed, collection, profits) Increase the ammount of something.

  • Over the years the company built up a reputation for technological innovation.
  • A little practice will soon build up your confidence.
  • It is important to have a daily exercise routine to build up your muscles, weakened by a long period of illness.

Bump into [Bump into somebody] (insep) Meet somebody by chance. Come across, run into

  • I bumped into her one evening, and she invited me down to her place near the

Butt in interrupt [Butt in, butt in on somebody] Interrupt. Break in on

  • I am sorry to butt in on your conversation, but I have specific information from my own experiences on this subject.

Butter up praise [Butter somebody up] Praise somebody excessively so that they will do what you want.

  • Even if he was just buttering her up, the compliment thrilled her.

Buzz off (insep, informal) Go away. Dash off

  • The reverend had to buzz off for an afternoon service, but returned about three-thirty.



For other verbs and to get more examples search the Generator.