Home > Phrasal Verb Dictionary: Letter B
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T W Z
(insep) When you back down, you accept another person's point of view
or argument instead of your own or you 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) When you back out or back out of
something, you avoid doing something when you have promised to do it. Pull out
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 [Back somebody/something up].- 1 When
you back somebody up, you support them.
- Four witnesses
backed him up.
- Make sure that you have some examples to back up your arguments.
2 When you back up a computer file, you 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.
Back up [Back up, back something up].- When
you back up or back a vehicle up, you 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 When you bail somebody out, you pay a deposit
so that somebody who has been arrested can be released.
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
- He does what he wants and ignores
the consequences, usually because his parents are there to bail him
Bang up [Bang somebody up].- When somebody is banged up, they are put in prison. Lock up
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) When
you are back, you have returned. Come back
- What time will
you be back?
- I'll be back in a minute.
Be off.- 1 (insep) When you are off, you 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) When something is off, it's disconnected or it's not working.
- The power was off for about 3 hours.
3 (insep) When an event is off, it has been 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) When food or drink
goes off, it's not good to eat any more. Go
- I think this milk is off.
Be out.- 1 (insep) When something is out, it's available to the public; appear. Come out
is the new magazine out?
- They tried to
keep it secret but the story is out now.
2 (insep) Not to be at home or work.
- The manager
is out at the moment.
Black out.- (insep) Faint When you black out, you 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) When something blows out or you blow it out, it's extinguished. Put something out
- I blew out the candles and we ate cake.
Blow over.- (insep) (scandal, problem, troubles, issue, controversy,
affair, row, argument) When something blows over, it's forgotten.
politician is keeping a low profile until the scandal blows over.
Blow up [Blow up, blow something up].- 1 When something blows up, it explodes.
- Terrorists intended to blow up the parliament when the president was
speaking there, but police foiled the plans.
2 (insep) When you blow up, you become angry.
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.
affair) When you blow something up, you exaggerate it.
4 (tyre, dinghy, balloon, airbed) When you blow something up, you fill it with air. Pump something up
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) When you blurt something
out, you say it 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.
Boil down [Boil down to something].-
question, issue) When something boils down to something else, this is the
most important thing.
- A lot of this boils down
to lack of education.
Boss around [Boss somebody around].-
When you boss somebody around, you treat them unpleasantly, giving unnecessary
order all the time.
- The new manager made a big
mistake when he started bossing the staff about.
bossing me around, will you?
Bounce back.- When
you bounce back, you recover from something unpleasant.
company went bankrupt, but managed to bounce back with a new management.
Brass off.- When
you are brassed off, you are angry, upset or fed up.
Break down.- 1 (insep) (car,
system, machine, talks, negotiations, marriage, argument, plan) When something breaks down, it stops working because it has a serious problem. Pack up,
- The elevators in this building are always breaking
- Sorry I'm late. The car broke down on the way here.
2 When a person breaks
down, they lose control and start crying. Crack up
he told her he didn't love her anymore, she broke down.
Break down [Break something down].- Destroy (door,
wall, barrier, resistance, opposition, reserve) When you break
something down, you destroy it.
- The police got into
the house by breaking the door down.
Break in [Break in, break into something].-
(insep) (building, house, grounds, computer, system) When you break in or break into a place or system, you enter it 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
Break in [Break somebody in].- (employee,
recruit) When you break somebody in, you help them get used to a new
situation or job or you 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) When you
break something in, you use it 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) When you break something off, you put an end to it because
of a problem.
- I was extremely stunned when Mac
and Brumby broke off their engagement.
Break out.- 1 (insep) (riots,
violence, row, fire, epidemic, disease, war, rash, spots, sweat, tears,
argument) When something breaks out, it begins suddenly or violently.
- The two criminals broke out of prison yesterday.
2 (insep) When you break out, you escape. Break in
- The two
criminals broke out of prison yesterday.
Break up [Break something up].- (fight,quarrel, party, crowd, marriage, relationship,
couple, alliance, school, meeting) When you break something up or something
breaks up, it stops.
- 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) When you breeze through
something, you pass 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) When you bring something about, you 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) When something brings something else
back, it makes you think about something that happened a long time ago.
at the photos brought back a lot of memories of my visit to the place.
Bring in [Bring somebody in].- (doctor, expert, consultant, technician) When you bring somebody in, you ask them to come and help. Call in
Bring in [Bring something in].- (bill, law, regulation, rule, system, scheme) When an organization brings something in, they introduce it.
- I suggest that you initiate a campaign to bring in a law to stop car
manufacturers advertising speed as one of the main attributes of new
Bring off [Bring something off].- Accomplish When you bring something off, you
succeed in something. Pull off
Bring out [Bring something out].- (product) When a company or organization
brings something out, they make it available to the public.
bringing out a new novel.
- Madonna has
just brought out a new record.
Bring round, bring to [Bring somebody round, bring somebody to].- When you bring somebody round, you help them regain consciousness.
Bring up [Bring somebody up].-
When you bring somebody up, you 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) When you bring something up, you mention a subject or topic. Come
up, drag up
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) When you brush something up or you brush up on
something, you study it to try and revise or improve it a little. Polish up
looking for a short course to brush up my English before I go on holiday.
Build up [Build something up].- (muscles,
strength, stamina, reputation, sales, speed, collection, profits) When you build something up, you 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 somebody].- (insep) When you bump into somebody, you meet them by chance. Come across somebody, run into somebody
- I bumped into her one evening, and she invited
me down to her place near the
Butt in [Butt in, butt in on somebody].- When you butt in or butt in on somebody, you interrupt
them. 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 [Butter somebody up].- When you butter somebody up, you praise them excessively so that
they will do what you want.
- Even if he was just
buttering her up, the compliment thrilled her.
Buzz off.- (insep, infml) When you buzz
off, you go away. Dash off
- The reverend had to buzz off for an afternoon service, but returned about three-thirty.