Home > Phrasal Verb Dictionary: Letter S

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Sail through [Sail through, Sail through something].- (insep) (exam, examination, legislation, test) When you sail through something, you pass it easily. Breeze through, sweep through, walk through Scrape through something

  • Anti-terror legislation sailed through the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Scare away [Scare somebody away, scare something away].- (dog, bird) When you scare somebody or an animal away, you make them leave using fear. Frighten away

  • A neighbour with a baseball bat finally scared the dog away.

Scare off.- The same as scare away.

Scratch out [Scratch something out].- (existence, living, income) When you scratch something out, you try hard to make a living, usually with little money or food. Eke out

Screw up [Screw up, screw something up].- When you screw up or screw something up, you spoil or ruin it.

Seal off [Seal something off].- (area, street) When the police seals a place off, they block it. Cordon off, cut off

  • The whole area has been sealed off and de-mining experts have arrived at the scene.

Sell out.- (concert, tickets) When something sells out, it sells all the items available.

  • The shows are sold out. There are no tickets left.

See off [See somebody off].- When you see somebody off, you go to the airport, station, etc. to say good-bye to them. Wave off

  • He's going to London tomorrow. I'm going to the airport to see him off.

See off [See somebody off, see something off].- (attack, opponent, opposition, challenger) When you see somebody or something off, you deal with some kind of danger and defeat it.

  • He believes there is enough quality in the team to see off their rivals.

See something through.- When you see something through, you make sure it's completed successfully.

  • This is right. We have to do this. We must see it through.

See through [See through somebody].- (insep) When you see through somebody, you can clearly see what their intentions are and you are not deceived.

Send in [Send something in].- (application, request, entry, coupon, article, report, order) When you send something in, you send it somewhere so that it's dealt with it officially.

Serve out [Serve something out].- (sentence, term) When you serve something out, you do something until the end of a fixed period.

  • Do you believe John Howard will serve out his term if re-elected? Vote now.
  • Mr. Wahid has denied any wrong-doing and has vowed to serve out the rest of his term.
  • Following his last trial, Kallinger was returned to Huntington to serve out his sentence.

Very common & useful phrasal verb Set off.- (insep) When you set off, you start a journey. Set out

  • Another scientific expedition has set off from Krasnoyarsk in Eastern Siberia to the place where in its time the Tunguska meteorite fell.

Very common & useful phrasal verb Set out.- (insep) When you set out, you start a journey. Set off

  • Drivers are advised to listen to traffic bulletins and plan journeys before setting out.

Set up [Set something up].- (committee, commission, investigation, public enquiry, fund, business, company, organization, system) When you set something up, you start it.

  • A manhunt for the suspects is under way and roadblocks have been set up, but by late yesterday no one had been arrested yet.
  • A commission has been set up to investigate the incident.

An idiom is a fixed combination of words having a particular meaning, usually different from the words on their own Set up house: When you set up house, you start your own home. An idiom is a fixed combination of words having a particular meaning, usually different from the words on their own Set up shop: When you set up shop, you start a business.

Very common & useful phrasal verb Settle down.- (insep) When you settle down, you behave responsibly and live in a regular way, especially when you get married.

  • He says the last thing a man needs to do is settle down and get married.

Settle in.- (insep) (home, job, office, school, routine) When you settle in, you move into a new home, job, and start feeling confortable there.

Sex up [Sex something up].- When you sex something up, you make it look more interesting or exciting. Spice up

  • The BBC admitted Dr David Kelly was the source for its claims that Downing Street sexed up an Iraqui weapons dossier.

Shake off [Shake something off].- (cold, fever, illness, image, habbit, depression) When you shake something off, you get rid of it.

  • I can't seem to shake this cold off.
  • I wish I could shake this fever off!
  • What I think I need advice on is how I can shake off this depression and start focusing on my life.

Shake off [Shake somebody off].- (the police, photographers, pursuers) When you shake somebody off, you scape from them.

Shake up [Shake something up].- 1 When you shake something up, you mix it by shaking.

2 (department, industry, cabinet, system) When you shake something up, you reorganize it completely.

  • The new European Commission led by President Romano Prodi has announced a major shake up of the Brussels bureaucracy.

Shake up [Shake somebody up].- When something shakes you up, it shocks you.

Shoot off.- (insep) When you shoot off, you leave in a hurry.

  • The consultant had to shoot off to an important meeting.

Shoot up.- (insep) (prices) When something shoots yp, it increases very quickly.

  • The cost of natural gas has shot up nationwide in recent months.

Shop around.- (insep) When you shop around, you visit different shops in order to find the cheapest price.

  • Shop around for your insurance cover - but look at the quality of the product and the insurer's reputation for service, as well as value for money.

Shore up [Shore something up].- (building, wall, argument, case, confidence, image) When you shore something up, you do something to support it or make it stronger.

Show up.- (insep) When you show up, you arrive. Turn up

  • After he failed to show up for a hearing, a warrant for his arrest was issued.

Shut down [Shut something down].- (factory, plant, business, company, shop, production) When you shut something down, you close it permanently. Close something down

  • Legal action will be taken to shut down sites that fail to comply with the law.

Shut up [Shut up, shut somebody up].- When you shut up, you stop talking. Clam up

  • At first I thought I was going to have to do all the talking because he seemed really quiet. But after a while I couldn't shut him up.

Shut up [Shut something up].- When you shut something up, you close it. Lock up

  • All the guethouses appeared to be shut up for the night.

Sift through [Sift through something].- (insep) (evidence, documents, papers, rubble, wreckage) When you sift through something, you examine every part of it in order to find something.

  • She sifted through the rubbish bin looking for the letter from the bank that she'd lost.

Single out [Single something out, single somebody out].- When you single somebody or something out, you choose them from a group for special treatment. Pick out

  • What I didn't like was being singled out because of my political views.

Sit down.- When you sit down, you move into a sitting position.

  • Why don't you sit down and have a drink?
  • Come and sit down. We've got a lot to talk about.

Sit up .- When you sit up, you sit properly so that your back is straight.

  • At work, adjust your chair height and work station so you can sit up close to your work.

Skive off.- (insep) When you skive off, you spend time doing nothing, esp. avoiding work. Goof off

  • I don't feel like working today. I'm going to skive off and spend the day at the beach.

Slag off [Slag somebody off].- When you slag somebody off, you criticize somebody, especially when they're not there.

  • Stop slagging him off all the time!

Slip up.- (insep) When you slip up, you make a mistake.

  • Shop around for your insurance cover - but look at the quality of the product and the insurer's reputation for service, as well as value for money.

Very common & useful phrasal verb Slow down.- (insep) When you slow up, you move or do something more slowly.

  • You are driving too fast. Please slow down.

Snap up [Snap something up].- (bargain, offer) When you snap something up, you buy something quickly before other people do it, because it is cheap.

  • This unique offer won't last forever so snap it up right away.

Sort out [Sort something out].- When you sort something out, you find a solution for it.

  • There's nothing more you can do. You should let the lawyers sort it out.
  • We have to talk. We have to sort this out.

Spark off [Spark something off].- (alarm, explosion, fight, war, vilence, incident, illness) When something sparks off something else, it makes it happen. Set off, trigger off

  • The report of the arrest sparked off clashes between supporters of Khan and forces loyal to the governor.

Spew out [Spew something out].- (smoke, water, lava, curses) When something spews out something, it produces a lot of it; usually something bad.

  • The nearby volcano has been rumbling for weeks, spewing out lava and hot gases.

Splash out.- (insep) When you splash out on something, you spend a lot of money, perhaps too much, on something.

  • I urge parents to think twice before splashing out on expensive computer games for their kids.

Split up.- (insep) When two people split up, they finish their relationship.

  • That's why they split up. He had another woman.

Spruce up [Spruce up, spruce somebody up].- When you spruce yourself up or you get spruced up, you make yourself look neat and attractive. Smarten up

Spruce up [Spruce something up].- (image) When you spruce something up , you make it look neat and attractive.

  • He visited the camp in Karkaria which is being spruced up for the prime minister's visit tomorrow.

Squeeze in [Squeeze somebody in].- (insep) When you squeeze somebody in, you have time to see them.

  • She told me if I could wait an hour, she would squeeze me in.

Stand by.- (insep) When you stand by, you are ready for action.

  • Fire crews were standing by to extinguish any possible blaze.

Stand by [Stand by somebody].- (insep) When you stand by somebody, you support them when they need you.

  • If she loves him enough, surely she will stand by him.

Stand down.- (insep) When you stand down, you resign; you leave your job to somebody else. Step down

  • He has been under intense pressure to resign. But he has made it clear he has no intention of standing down.

Stand in for [Stand in for somebody].- (insep) When you stand in for somebody, you do their job temporarily because they can't. Cover for, fill in for, sit in for

  • My good old friend Mike Hancock asked me to stand in for him in this debate.

Stand out.- (insep) When something stands out, it's clearly noticeable. Stick out

  • One of the things that stand out about this country pub is the truly welcoming and hospitable atmosphere.

Stand up.- When you stand up, you move so that you are on your feet and not sitting or lying anymore.

Stand up [Stand somebody up].- When you stand somebody up, you arrange to meet somebody and not go (usually in a romantic relationship).

  • I haven't heard from her since she stood me up

Stay away [Stay away from somebody, stay away from a place].- When you stay away from somebody or stay away from a place, you don't go near them.

  • Tourists stayed away, frightened by more than a year of violence.
  • Record numbers of people have so far stayed away from polling stations in the first round of the French presidential election.

Stay in.- (insep) When you stay in, you don't go out.

  • All her friends went to the disco but she had to stay in to study.

Step down [Stand somebody up].- (insep) When you step down, you resign; you leave your job to somebody else. Stand down

  • I think he should step down as chairman and let someone younger take over.

Stick about, stick around .- (insep) When you stick around, you stay in the same place.

  • I hope that you enjoy it here and that you stick around a bit!

Stick out.- (insep) When something sticks out, it's clearly noticeable. Stand out

  • What sticks out in my mind about this trip was how we were treated.

Stir up [Stir something up].- (trouble, hatred, anger, opposition, discontent, dissent, violence, the past, things, memories, passions, unrest, rebellion, revolt) When you stir something up, you cause it by your actions.

  • He loves stirring up trouble.
  • He was accused of stirring up racial hatred.
  • Sometimes I wonder if you say what you do because you enjoy stirring things up.

Stop off.- (insep) When you stop off or stop off somewhere, you interrupt your journey for a while.

  • We stopped off at a service station and I bought myself some Smarties.

Stumble across [Stumble across something].- When you stumble across something, you find it by chance. Come across

  • I stumbled across your webpage and was really impressed.

Stumble across [ Stumble across somebody].- When you stumble across somebody, you meet them by chance. Come across

Sum up.- When you sum up or sum something up, you repeat the main ideas.

Suss out [Suss somebody out].- When you suss somebody out, you discover what they are really like.

  • He first considered denying it, but he could tell that would be pointless since she quite obviously had sussed him out.

Sweep up [Sweep something up].- When you sweep something up, you clean it with a groom.

  • Get a broom and sweep up that mess.

Sweep through [Sweep through something].- (insep) (exam, examination, test) When you sweep through something, you pass it easily. Breeze through, sail through, walk through Scrape through

Switch off.- (insep) When you switch off, you stop paying attention.

Switch off [Switch something off].- (radio, TV, engine) When you switch something off, you. Turn off Switch on, turn on

  • What's the point of having a mobile if you're going to switch it off.

Switch on [Switch something on].- (radio, TV, engine) When you switch something off, you. Turn on Switch off, turn off

  • He switched the machine on and it started to vibrate and make a strange noise.

 

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