Phrasal Verb S

  • sack out|Fall asleep|I SACKED OUT in front of the TV.|1
  • saddle up|Put a saddle on and prepare an animal to ride|She SADDLED UP the horse and rode off.|_
  • saddle with|Give someone a task or responsibility that is difficult or hard work|They SADDLED me WITH preparing the visit.|_
  • sag off|Not go to school or work, or leave early when you shouldn’t|I was bored so I SAGGED OFF work early and went home.|_
  • sail into|Criticise angrily|He SAILED INTO me for turning up an hour late.|_
  • sail through|Pass easily, succeed|He SAILED THROUGH the final test.|1
  • sally forth|Leave somewhere safe or comfortable|The townspeople SALLIED FORTH to fight the invading army.|1
  • sally out|Leave somewhere safe or comfortable|Though it was pouring with rain, we SALLIED OUT to meet her.|1
  • salt away|Save money|She’s making a lot of money, but SALTS it AWAY rather than spending it.|1
  • save on|Reduce or avoid consumption to cut costs|I use Skype to SAVE ON my phone bills.|_
  • save up|For money for a particular purpose|He’s SAVING UP to buy a car.|1
  • saw off|To remove something by cutting it with a saw|He SAWED OFF the legs of the chair.|_
  • saw up|Cut into pieces with a saw|We SAWED the plank UP to make the shelves.|_
  • scale back|Make something smaller than originally planned|They had to SCALE BACK the project because of the costs.|_
  • scale down|Make something smaller than originally planned|They have had to SCALE DOWN the project because of the costs.|1
  • scale up|Increase, make bigger|They are SCALING UP the programme because it has been so successful.|1
  • scare away|Frighten someone some much that they go away|The cat SCARED the birds AWAY.|1
  • scare off|Make someone so frightened that he or she away|The vicious Doberman guard-dog SCARED the burglars AWAY.|1
  • scout about|Look in different places for something|The company is SCOUTING ABOUT for new staff.|_
  • scout around|Look in different places for something|We SCOUTED AROUND to find the best price.|_
  • scout out|Search for something|The researcher spent months SCOUTING OUT the answer.|_
  • scout round|Look in different places for something|I SCOUTED ROUND for a bargain.|_
  • scout up|Try to find someone for a task or requirement|We’d better SCOUT UP a replacement for her.|_
  • scrape along|Manage with little money|I’ve been SCRAPING ALONG on temporary work since I lost my job.|1
  • scrape by|Just manage to pass something|I thought I was going to fail, but SCRAPED BY with 51%.|1
  • scrape in|Just get enough to succeed, pass or be accepted|The government SCRAPED IN with 51% of the votes cast.|_
  • scrape into|Be accepted somewhere, but only just|She got mediocre grades and just SCRAPED INTO university.|_
  • scrape through|Pass a test but only just|I did no revision and only just SCRAPED THROUGH the final exams.|_
  • scrape together|Manage to collect enough of something you need, usually money|I had to search my flat for money to SCRAPE TOGETHER what I needed.|_
  • scrape up|Manage to collect enough of something you need, usually money|It took me ages to SCRAPE UP the money for the tickets.|1
  • scratch around for|Search for something that is hard to find|The press are SCRATCHING AROUND FOR a story to attack him.|_
  • screen off|Separate a part of a room with something like a curtain, screen, etc.|We SCREENED OFF the area where we had the discussion from the rest of the meeting.|1
  • screen out|Exclude|Applicants without the right qualifications were SCREENED OUT.|1
  • screw around|Waste time|He spent the afternoon SCREWING AROUD and got nothing done.|_
  • screw over|Treat harshly or cheat|The IRS really SCREWED him OVER.|_
  • screw up|Do badly or fail|David SCREWED UP his oral exam but still managed to scrape a pass.|1
  • scuzz up|Spiil, ruin, contaminate|Don’t SCUZZ UP the deal.|_
  • see about|Arrange, consider|I’ll SEE ABOUT whether we can manage it.|_
  • see into|Accompany someone into an office|Her secretary SAW me INTO her office.|_
  • see off|Chase somebody or something away|A cat came into the back garden but the dog soon SAW it OFF.|_
  • see out|Accompany a guest to your front door when they are leaving your house|Are you sure you’re going? I’ll get your coats and SEE you OUT.|_
  • see through|Continue with something to the end|They had a lot of difficulties in implementing the project, but the team SAW it THROUGH successfully.|1
  • see to|Deal with something|He SAW TO the arrangements and everything ran smoothly and efficiently.|_
  • seek out|Search for something until you find it|It took her ages to SEEK the answer OUT.|1
  • sell off|Sell a business or part of it|They SOLD OFF their research subsidiary.|1
  • sell on|Convince someone|We managed to SELL him ON the expansion plans.|_
  • sell out|Have no more of something left because it has been bought|The tickets for the Primal Scream concert at the Brixton Academy SOLD OUT in a couple of hours.|1
  • sell up|Sell a house or business to move somewhere or do something different|We want to SELL UP and move to the country.|1
  • send back|Return something|I SENT my food BACK because it was overcooked.|1
  • send for|Ask someone to come and help|I had to SEND FOR a plumber because the radiator was leaking.|1
  • send in|Order people into a place to handle a problem|The police were SENT IN to quell the riot as the protesters had started burning cars and wrecking shops.|1
  • send off|Expel a sports player from a match|The football striker was SENT OFF for arguing with the referee’s decision.|1
  • send off for|Order something by post|I SENT OFF FOR some jeans that I liked in the catalogue.|_
  • send out|Send something to a lot of people|They SENT OUT a mailshot to all their existing customers.|1
  • send out for|Order takeaway food by phone|We couldn’t be bothered to cook, so we SENT OUT FOR a pizza.|_
  • send up|Imitate/impersonate for comic effect|The mischievous schoolboy was standing at the front of the class, SENDING the teacher UP, when the teacher opened the door behind him.|_
  • set about|Start doing something|We SET ABOUT the cleaning and got it done before lunchtime.|1
  • set apart|Distinguish, be better than or different from others|The quality of their work SETS them APART from their rivals.|1
  • set aside|Overturn a court verdict or decision|The Appeal Court SET ASIDE the guilty verdict because the evidence was unsatisfactory and declared her not guilty.|1
  • set back|Cost|The car repairs SET me BACK eight hundred pounds.|1
  • set forth|State or outline an opinion|He SET FORTH his ideas in his autobiography.|1
  • set in|Change season noticeably|Winter has SET IN; it’s started snowing.|1
  • set off|Explode a bomb|Terrorists SET OFF a car bomb in the city centre last night. Fortunately, no-one was hurt or killed.|1
  • set on|Attack|He was SET ON when he left the bar.|1
  • set out|Display, show|The figures are SET OUT in the council’s annual report.|1
  • set to|Work hard or enthusiastically|If we all SET TO, we should be able to finish this in a few hours.|_
  • set up|Prepare equipment, software, etc., for use|The technician SET UP the computer network perfectly.|1
  • set upon|Attack|They SET UPON her when she was in the car park.|1
  • settle down|Start living a fixed and routine life|After years of partying and drinking, she finally got married and SETTLED DOWN.|1
  • settle for|Accept whatever is available|We were upset not to win and had to SETTLE FOR the second prize.|_
  • settle in|Get used to|It took him a while to SETTLE IN when he moved to Japan.|_
  • settle on|Agree|They couldn’t agree at first on a name for their daughter, but finally SETTLED ON Alice.|1
  • settle up|Pay a debt|Let’s SETTLE UP for the dinner the other night.|_
  • sex up|Change information to make it more attractive to the reader or listener|The government denied that they had SEXED UP the report to make the front page.|1
  • shack up|Live with someone when you are in a relationship.|They SHACKED UP a few months after they started going out.|1
  • shade in|Make a part of a picture darker|She SHADED IN the area under the tree.|_
  • shade out|Leave a place without saying goodbye|The party was so dull that I decided to SHADE OUT.|_
  • shake down|Search|The police SHOOK the house DOWN looking for drugs.|_
  • shake off|Get rid of an illness|It took me ages to SHAKE OFF the cough.|1
  • shake out|Shake clothes, cloths, etc to remove dirt or creases|He took the tablecloth outside and SHOOK it OUT after dinner.|_
  • shake up|Upset or shock|The news of her death really SHOOK me UP.|1
  • shape up|Develop in a positive way|Things are SHAPING UP at work- everything’s going well again.|1
  • share in|Have a part in a project, activity, etc|A number of firms will SHARE IN the development.|_
  • share out|Divide and distribute|I SHARED the money OUT equally.|_
  • shave by|Reduce by a certain amount|Prices have been SHAVED BY ten percent.|_
  • shave from|Remove, cut off|She SHAVED a bit FROM the window so it would open.|_
  • shave off|Shave completely|He has SHAVED OFF his moustache and looks much younger.|_
  • shell out|Spend money on something, especially when you think it’s too expensive|I had to SHELL OUT a hundred pounds on the dinner.|1
  • ship off|Send someone away, often because of a problem|He was causing a lot of trouble, so they SHIPPED him OFF to another branch|_
  • ship out|Send goods to a place|We SHIPPED the order OUT two days ago.|_
  • shoot away|Leave somewhere quickly|He SHOT AWAY as soon as the bell rang for the end of the lesson.|_
  • shoot back|Return quickly|I’m SHOOTING BACK home to pick up some things I forgot to bring with me.|_
  • shoot for|Have as a goal|I’m SHOOTING FOR nothing less than the presidency.|1
  • shoot off|Leave promptly and quickly|I’ll have to SHOOT OFF as soon as the lesson finishes, otherwise I’ll miss my train.|_
  • shoot out|Go out for a short time|I’m SHOOTING OUT to the shops for a paper.|_
  • shoot up|Increase quickly|The share prices of internet companies have been SHOOTING UP lately.|1
  • shop around|Look around for the best price, quality, etc.|If you SHOP AROUND, you can find some real bargains for air tickets.|_
  • shore up|Support something to make it stronger|The central bank is trying to SHORE UP the currency to stop it from sliding further.|1
  • short out|Short circuit|The battery SHORTED OUT when it got wet.|_
  • shout down|Make so much noise to stop someone being heard|His efforts to raise the issue were SHOUTED DOWN.|1
  • shout out|Say something loudly, often to attract someone’s attention|She SHOUTED OUT my name.|1
  • show around|Take someone to a place to show them certain parts|The estate agent SHOWED us AROUND the house but we didn’t like it much.|_
  • show in|Take someone into an office or other room|The secretary SHOWED me IN to speak to the manager.|_
  • show off|Behave in a way so as to attract attention|The children were SHOWING OFF and irritated me.|1
  • show out|Take someone to out of a room or building|Her secretary SHOWED me OUT after the interview.|_
  • show over|Take someone around a site|He SHOWED us OVER the scene of the accident|_
  • show round|Take someone to a place to show them certain parts|The guide SHOWED them ROUND the historic part of the city.|_
  • show through|When a feeling can be seen despite attempts to conceal it|His anger SHOWED THROUGH despite his smile.|_
  • show up|Attend something or arrive somewhere|Very few SHOWED UP at the meeting.|1
  • shrug off|Disregard something, not consider it important or harmful|He SHRUGGED OFF the criticism and carried on the same way.|1
  • shut away|Imprison or remove someone’s freedom|Many people have been SHUT AWAY in psychiatric hospitals for disagreeing with the government.|1
  • shut down|Close a business, shop, etc.|The shop SHUT DOWN when the out-of-town supermarket opened.|1
  • shut in|Prevent someone from leaving|I SHUT the cat IN until it was time to go to the vet.|1
  • shut off|Close, prevent access|They SHUT the water OFF while they did the repairs.|1
  • shut out|Exclude|You have to SHUT your feelings OUT to deal with it.|1
  • shut out of|Exclude someone from an activity, etc|He’s been SHUT OUT OF the discussions.|_
  • shut up|Stop talking or making noise|He told us to SHUT UP and start working.|1
  • shut yourself away|Withdraw from company|She’s SHUT herself AWAY to revise for her exams.|_
  • shy away|Retreat or shrink from something unpleasant or frightening|When they started shouting, we SHIED AWAY.|_
  • shy away from|Avoid doing something because you lack confidence|Many learners SHY AWAY FROM using phrasal verbs.|1
  • side with|Support someone|The lecturer SIDED WITH her students and got sacked for her pains.|_
  • sidle up to|Approach someone discreetly|He SIDLED UP TO me and whispered his name.|_
  • sift through|Examine a lot of things carefully|We had to SIFT THROUGH thousands of files before we found what we were looking for.|_
  • sign away|Give away legal or property rights|He SIGNED AWAY his rights to compensation when he signed the contract.|1
  • sign for|Write a signature on behalf on someone|My boss was out for the day, so I SIGNED her letters FOR her.|_
  • sign in|Register in a hotel|We SIGNED IN and went straight to bed.|1
  • sign into|Open a particular computer program that requires a name and password|I SIGN INTO MSN Messenger automatically when I boot up.|_
  • sign off|End a message|I’ll SIGN OFF now, but will write again next week.|1
  • sign off on|Give official approval|The director SIGNED OFF ON the plans to increase sales.|_
  • sign on|Open a claim for unemployment benefit|I had to SIGN ON when I lost my job.|1
  • sign on with|Sign a document joining or agreeing to something|He’s SIGNED ON WITH Manchester United for the next three years.|_
  • sign out|Close a computer program that requires a name and password|I SIGNED OUT and then shut the computer down.|_
  • sign out of|Close a particular computer program that requires a name and password|I SIGNED OUT OF MSN Messenger and shut the computer down.|_
  • sign up|Give your name to do something|I’ve SIGNED UP as a volunteer.|1
  • sign with|Make a contract with|She’s SIGNED WITH EMI for the next few years.|_
  • simmer down|Become calmer, make less noise|He told them to SIMMER DOWN because they were disturbing the class next door.|1
  • sing along|To sing when a piece of music is being played or performed by someone else.|I SANG ALONG when they played it on the radio.|1
  • sing out|Reply loudly|When you hear your name, SING OUT!|_
  • sing up|Sing louder|We can’t hear you- SING UP.|_
  • single out|Select or choose one from a group|Many people applied for the job but we will SINGLE OUT the best one.|1
  • sink in|Slowly come to be understood|The truth finally SANK IN about her death when it was broadcast on TV.|1
  • sit about|Sit and do nothing, especially when you should be working|We spent the afternoon SITTING ABOUT chatting instead of doing any work.|_
  • sit around|Sit idly, doing nothing|They just SAT AROUND while the others did all the work.|1
  • sit back|Wait for something to happen without making any effort|We SAT BACK and waited for them to make the first mistake.|1
  • sit by|Not try to stop something|I can’t SIT BY while they are punished wrongly.|1
  • sit down|Help someone to sit|The nurse SAT me DOWN in a chair.|1
  • sit for|Pose for an artist or photographer|The Queen SAT FOR another official portrait.|_
  • sit in|Occupy a building to protest about something|The students SAT IN the Library as a protest against the increase in tuition fees.|1
  • sit in for|Take on someone’s responsibilities while they are absent|Her deputy’s SITTING IN FOR her while she’s away.|_
  • sit in on|Attend as an observer|She SAT IN ON the meeting and took notes but said nothing.|_
  • sit on|Be on a committee|She’s SAT ON the finance committee from the beginning.|_
  • sit out|Not take part|I had to SIT the game OUT because I was ill.|1
  • sit over|Eat or drink slowly|WE SAT OVER dinner discussing the plans.|_
  • sit through|Stay till the end of something dull|I was bored and wanted to leave halfway through, but we SAT THROUGH the film.|_
  • sit up|Suddenly take notice or pay attention|They SAT UP when I told them I was closing the company.|1
  • sit with|Reconcile different positions|It’s hard to see how their new plan SITS WITH the promises they made.|_
  • size up|Assess a situation or person carefully.|The doorstaff SIZED UP everyone entering the club.|1
  • skin up|Make a cannabis joint|She SKINNED UP a fat spliff.|_
  • skive off|Avoid doing work or other duty|I pretended I was ill and SKIVED OFF on Monday.|_
  • slack off|Reduce one’s effort, perform with less enthusiasm and energy|Students usually begin the term well, then SLACK OFF near the end of the semester.|1
  • slacken off|Become less busy or intense|Work SLACKENS OFF during the holiday period.|1
  • slag off|Criticise heavily|The concert was terrible and all the papers SLAGGED the band OFF.|_
  • slant toward|Favour one viewpoint, bias|That travel magazine is totally SLANTED TOWARD the ultra-rich.|_
  • sleep around|Be sexually promiscuous|He’s SLEPT AROUND a lot since his divorce.|1
  • sleep in|Sleep longer than usual|Let’s SLEEP IN tomorrow morning- we won’t have another chance for weeks.|1
  • sleep off|Sleep in order to recover from excess alcohol, drugs, etc.|She went to bed TO SLEEP OFF the effects of the tequila.|1
  • sleep on|Think about something|My boss said she’d have to SLEEP ON it when I asked her for a raise.|_
  • sleep over|Spend the night at someone else’s house|The au pair made tea for the friends who were SLEEPING OVER.|1
  • sleep through|Not wake up|I SLEPT THROUGH the storm even though the wind blew some slates off the roof.|_
  • sleep together|Have sex|If people SLEEP TOGETHER, they have sex.|1
  • slice off|Cut, remove an amount or part of something|They CUT 10% OFF the original price.|_
  • slice up|Cut completely into pieces or slices|I SLICED the cake UP and handed it round to the people there.|1
  • slip away|Lose an opportunity or the chance of winning, succeeding, etc|Their hopes of getting back into the game SLIPPED AWAY after the second goal.|1
  • slip by|Pass quickly (time)|The years SLIP BY as you get older.|1
  • slip down|Be enjoyable to drink or eat|The cold beer SLIPPED DOWN a treat after the walk.|_
  • slip in|Try to include something discreetly when speaking|He SLIPPED IN a mention of his exam results to remind us how well he did.|1
  • slip into|Put clothes on quickly|I got out of my suit and SLIPPED INTO my pyjamas.|_
  • slip off|Leave a place discreetly|It was very boring so we SLIPPED OFF before it finished.|1
  • slip off to|Go somewhere discreetly|We SLIPPED OFF TO the pub.|_
  • slip on|Put clothes on quickly|I SLIPPED my coat ON and rushed outside.|1
  • slip out|Leave discreetly|The party was really dull so we SLIPPED OUT and went to the pub instead.|_
  • slip through|Escape notice and be approved|The committee let the application SLIP THROUGH even though it was incomplete.|_
  • slip up|Make an error|The waitress SLIPPED UP and didn’t bring us what we had ordered.|1
  • slob about|Be lazy, do nothing|I SLOBBED ABOUT all day as I couldn’t be bothered to do any work.|_
  • slob around|Be lazy, do nothing|I spent the day SLOBBING AROUND at home.|_
  • slope off|Leave somewhere without letting others know|The lecture sounded really boring, so I SLOPED OFF and went to the pub.|_
  • slough off|Get rid of, dispose|The government is increasing its powers but is SLOUGHING OFF responsibility for its failures.|1
  • slow down|Reduce speed|The car SLOWED DOWN when they saw the police.|1
  • slow up|Slow the progress of something|The negotiations were SLOWED UP by the arguments.|1
  • slug it out|Fight or argue|They SLUGGED IT OUT for hours but never came to an agreement.|_
  • smack of|Appear to have a negative quality|The government’s decision SMACKS OF hypocrisy.|_
  • smash down|Demolish or break something down|The police SMASHED the door DOWN to get into the house.|_
  • smash in|Break something by hitting it repeatedly|He SMASHED the windscreen IN.|_
  • smash up|Destroy, break into many pieces|The burglars SMASHED UP the office as there was no money to steal.|1
  • smoke out|Force someone out of a place they’re hiding in|The police SMOKED the gang OUT and arrested them.|1
  • snaffle up|Consume, take, buy something other people may want|They SNAFFLED UP all the food before we got there.|_
  • snap off|Break a piece off something|He SNAPPED OFF a bit of chocolate from the bar and gave it to me..|1
  • snap out of|Control negative emotions|I was feeling depressed and knew I had to SNAP OUT OF it.|_
  • snap to it!|Do something quickly|He had taken ages so I told him to SNAP TO IT and get it finished.|_
  • snap up|Get, acquire or buy something quickly|Collectors SNAPPED UP every copy the day it was released.|1
  • snarl up|Entangle|My line was all SNARLED UP after I caught that last fish.|1
  • sneak out|Depart furtively|Although the thieves tried to SNEAK OUT after dark, we were ready for them.|1
  • sneak up on|Approach someone furtively|Dave tried to SNEAK UP ON the guard, but was seen anyway.|_
  • sneeze at|To dismiss casually, usually used negatively|We shouldn’t SNEEZE AT their offer- it’s the best we have received.|_
  • sniff around|Look around to see how good something is or to try to find something better|I SNIFFED AROUND to see if I could find a better deal.|_
  • sniff at|Disapprove or be scornful|A job opportunity like that is not to be SNIFFED AT.|_
  • sniff out|Find something by smell (usually for dogs)|Customs use dogs to SNIFF OUT illegal drugs being smuggled in.|1
  • snitch on|Divulge secrets, inform authorities about someone|Reggie was caught after someone SNITCHED ON him to the teacher.|_
  • snuff out|Extinguish a small flame by covering it|I SNUFFED OUT the candles before I went to bed.|1
  • soak up|Absorb|They SOAK UP everything the teacher says.|1
  • sober up|Stop showing the effects of alcohol or drugs|Keith SOBERED UP a bit when we left the pub and walked home.|1
  • sock away|Save money in a bank account, investment, etc|She’s SOCKED a fortune AWAY over the last few years.|_
  • sock in|Close access to a place because of bad weather|The airport’s been SOCKED IN because of the fog.|_
  • soften up|Weaken|The bombardment SOFTENED UP their defenses; I think we can move in tomorrow.|_
  • soldier on|Continue even when things get difficult|Life got hard for my dog when he went blind, but he just SOLDIERED ON and never complained.|_
  • sort out|Resolve a problem|Has the firm SORTED OUT its tax problems yet?|1
  • sound off|To express your opinions forcefully|He SOUNDED OFF about the quality of the food.|1
  • sound out|Check what someone thinks about an issue, idea, etc.|You should SOUND her OUT to get her opinion before you go ahead with the plan.|1
  • space out|Become detached from reality and unaware of what is happening around you, usually through drug use|The skunk they smoked completely SPACED them OUT.|_
  • spaff away|Waste (money, time, resources, etc)|The council is SPAFFING AWAY our taxes on bonuses and consultants.|_
  • spark off|Cause something, usually unpleasant, to happen|The riot was SPARKED OFF by the police raid on the club.|1
  • spark up|Light a cigarette or joint|They SPARKED UP in a no smoking area.|_
  • speak out|Talk openly and freely|People are afraid to SPEAK OUT in oppressive political regimes.|1
  • speak up|Talk more loudly|They couldn’t hear the speaker and asked him to SPEAK UP a bit.|1
  • speed up|Move faster|The car SPEEDED UP when the police car drew near.|1
  • spell out|Explain something in great detail|He won’t understand you unless you SPELL everything OUT for him.|1
  • spew out|Expel, throw out|The volcano is SPEWING OUT lava and hot gases.|1
  • spew up|Vomit|He SPEWED UP when he was drunk.|_
  • spice up|Add spices or herbs to increase flavour|You could SPICE it UP by adding cumin.|1
  • spiff up|Make something smart or more presentable|They has to SPIFF their house UP before they could put it on the market.|1
  • spike up|Increase sharply|Interest rates SPIKED UP after the news.|_
  • spill out|When large numbers of people leave a place at the same time|The crowd SPILLED OUT onto the streets after the match had ended.|1
  • spill over|When something bad has a wider impact on other people or situations|The protests and demonstrations have SPILLED OVER into neighbouring states.|1
  • spin off|Produce an unexpected additional benefit|The research SPUN OFF a number of new products as well as solving the problem.|1
  • spin out|Lose control (vehicle)|The car hit the water and SPUN OUT.|1
  • spirit away|Remove someone secretly from a place|They SPIRITED her AWAY before the police arrived.|1
  • spirit off|Remove someone secretly from a place|They SPIRITED him OFF before any trouble started.|1
  • spit it out|An informal way of telling someone to say something they are unwilling to say|Hurry up, SPIT IT OUT! I can’t wait all day for the truth.|_
  • spit out|Say something angrily|He SPAT her name OUT when he saw her arrive.|1
  • splash down|Land in the sea (space capsules)|Apollo 13 SPLASHED DOWN after a harrowing flight.|_
  • splash out|Spend a lot of money on something that is not essential|We went to an expensive restaurant and SPLASHED OUT to celebrate|_
  • splash out on|Spend a lot of money on something|I SPLASHED OUT ON a new camera.|_
  • split up|Divide into groups|The teacher SPLIT the class UP into groups of four.|1
  • spoil for|Really want something|He’s been SPOILING FOR an argument all day.|_
  • sponge down|Clean something with a sponge|I’ll SPONGE it DOWN before putting it away.|1
  • sponge off|Accept free food and support without any shame or qualms|Let’s go to New York, we can always SPONGE OFF my brother there.|1
  • sponge on|Accept or get money without doing any work|A lot of people are SPONGING ON the state by claiming benefits they’re not entitled to.|1
  • spring back|Return to original position after being bent, forced or when pressure is removed|The lock SPRINGS BACK when the key is turned.|_
  • spring for|Pay for, often generously|She is going to SPRING FOR all their medical bills.|_
  • spring from|Appear suddenly and unexpectedly|He SPRANG FROM the bushes when I walked past.|_
  • spring on|Surprise someone|They SPRUNG a birthday party ON me at work.|_
  • spring up|Appear suddenly|Charity shops are SPRINGING UP in the recession.|1
  • spruce up|To smarten, make something neat and tidy|We SPRUCED the flat UP before we put it on the market.|1
  • spur on|Encourage someone to continue|The thought of the bonus SPURRED her ON to complete the work on time.|_
  • square away|Finish or sort something out|There are few things I have to SQUARE AWAY before I can leave.|1
  • square off|Confront someone or prepare to fight them|The two drunks SQUARED OFF and the barman had to intervene before a fight broke out.|1
  • square off against|Confront someone or prepare to fight them|They SQUARED OFF AGAINST the police when they arrived.|_
  • square up|Pay back a debt|Can I SQUARE UP with you for last night?|1
  • square up to|Accept responsibility or guilt|They need to SQUARE UP TO what they did wrong if we are to make any progress.|_
  • square with|Match, conform to|What he said doesn’t SQUARE WITH what the others said.|_
  • squeeze up|Get more people into a space than normal or comfortable|Four of us had to SQUEEZE UP in the back of the car.|_
  • stack up|Put things in a pile|I STACKED UP the boxes.|1
  • stack up against|Be as good as something|The new model doesn’t STACK UP AGAINST the old one.|_
  • staff up|Employ someone for something specific|They haven’t STAFFED the project UP yet.|_
  • stamp out|Get rid of something|The government has started a campaign to STAMP OUT drugs in schools.|1
  • stand about|Spend time in a place waiting or doing nothing or very little|We STOOD ABOUT drinking coffee before the lecture.|_
  • stand around|Spend time in a place waiting or doing nothing or very little|We STOOD AROUND for an hour waiting for them to turn up.|_
  • stand aside|Leave a position so that someone else can take it|The prime minister should STAND ASIDE and let a new leader head the party.|_
  • stand back|Keep a distance from something|We STOOD BACK while he lit the firework.|1
  • stand by|Support someone|He STOOD BY her throughout the trial as he believed her to be innocent.|1
  • stand down|Leave a job or position so that someone else can take it|The minister announced her intention to STAND DOWN at the next election.|_
  • stand for|Accept or tolerate behaviour|I’m not going to STAND FOR their rudeness any longer.|1
  • stand in for|Substitute someone temporarily|She had to STAND IN FOR the editor while he was on holiday.|_
  • stand out|Be extraordinary and different|She STOOD OUT from the crowd in selection and was offered the job.|1
  • stand up|Move from a sitting or lying down to a vertical position|Everybody STOOD UP when the judge entered the court.|1
  • stand up for|Defend, support|He’s the kind of manager who will always STAND UP FOR his staff.|_
  • stand up to|Keep your principles when challenged by an authority|She STOOD UP TO the police when they tried to corrupt her.|_
  • stare down|Look at someone until they cannot look at you|He was angry but I STARED him DOWN and he left without saying much.|1
  • start off|Make something start|They STARTED OFF the meeting with an attack on our performance.|_
  • start off on|Help someone to start a piece or work or activity|I STARTED her OFF ON the project then left her to finish it.|_
  • start on|Begin to use or consume|It’s time to START ON that bottle of wine.|_
  • start on at|Criticise or nag|He STARTED ON AT me for being late.|_
  • start out|Begin a journey|We STARTED OUT early in the morning.|1
  • start out as|Begin life, existence or a career|What had STARTED OUT AS a protest quickly turned into a full-blown rebellion.|_
  • start out to|Intend, plan|I didn’t START OUT TO become the boss- it just happened.|_
  • start over|Begin something again|It’s a mess- I think we should just START OVER.|_
  • start up|Open a business|The firm STARTED UP on a shoestring budget.|1
  • stash away|Store or hide something in a safe place|I STASHED some money AWAY behind some books.|1
  • stave in|Push or break something inwards|The police STOVE the front door IN and arrested them.|1
  • stave off|Delay, prevent something from happening|The medicine STAVED OFF the worst of the disease.|1
  • stay away|Not come|He said he didn’t like them coming and wanted them to STAY AWAY.|1
  • stay away from|Avoid, not come|He told them to STAY AWAY FROM him.|_
  • stay in|Not go out|I’m going to STAY IN and chill tonight; I can’t be bothered to go out.|_
  • stay on|Remain longer than anticipated|She STAYED ON after she graduated to do a Master’s degree.|1
  • stay out|Not go home|We STAYED OUT all night.|_
  • stay over|Stay overnight|I STAYED OVER at a friend’s house last night because of the train strike.|1
  • stay up|Not go to bed|The children STAYED UP until way past their bedtime.|1
  • steal away|Leave a place quietly or secretly|We didn’t want to wake them, so we STOLE AWAY in the middle of the night.|1
  • steal out|Leave in a stealthy or quiet manner|Not wanting to attract attention, she STOLE OUT early.|_
  • steal over|Be gradually overcome by an emotion or feeling|A feeling of pride STOLE OVER me as I watched.|_
  • steal up|Approach quietly or secretly|The lights were off and everything was quiet so we STOLE UP as quietly as we could.|_
  • steal up on|Approach a place or someone quietly or secretly|We STOLE UP ON them so that they couldn’t sound the alarm.|_
  • steer clear of|Avoid|He’s trying to STEER CLEAR OF his lecturer because he hasn’t finished his assignment yet.|_
  • stem from|Originate, be caused by|The trouble STEMS FROM their refusal to discuss the matter.|_
  • step aside|Leave a job or position so that someone else can take over|Everyone thinks that the prime minister should STEP ASIDE so that someone new can lead the party into the election.|_
  • step back|Look at something from a different perspective|We should STEP BACK and try to see how our customers will view the scheme.|_
  • step down|Leave a job or position so that someone can take over|The CEO STEPPED DOWN after the share price dropped.|1
  • step forward|Offer help|When I had the accident, a lot of people STEPPED FORWARD to help me.|1
  • step in|Get involved by interrupting something|I had to STEP IN when they started fighting.|1
  • step on it|An imperative used to tell someone to go faster, especially when driving|I told the taxi driver to STEP ON IT as I was late for the meeting.|1
  • step out|Leave a place for a very short time|They’ve STEPPED OUT for a cigarette.|1
  • step to|Confront|Don’t STEP TO those guys; they’ll kill you.|_
  • step up|Increase|The police have STEPPED UP the pressure on beggars working the Underground.|1
  • stick around|Stay in a place for some time|He’s late, but I’ll STICK AROUND for another few minutes before I leave.|1
  • stick at|Continue doing something despite difficulties|She found the course very tough but she STUCK AT it and did well in the end.|_
  • stick by|Support someone when they are having difficulties|No one STUCK BY him when the scandal became public.|1
  • stick down|Write something quickly or without thinking about it|I couldn’t answer the test so I just STUCK anything DOWN that I could remember.|_
  • stick it to|Criticise someone|She STUCK IT TO me for turning up half an hour late.|_
  • stick out|Be easily noticed|He’s so much better than the others that he STICKS OUT.|1
  • stick out for|Demand a salary raise|We’re STICKING OUT FOR a 5% increase.|_
  • stick to|Not change|The Prime Minister decided to STICK TO the original plan despite the criticism in the media.|1
  • stick together|Support each other|If we don’t STICK TOGETHER, things will be much worse for all of us- we need some unity.|1
  • stick up|Stand on end|The static electricity made my hair STICK UP.|1
  • stick up for|Support or defend|You have to STICK UP FOR yourself here, because no one will back you.|_
  • stick with|Not change something|We’d better STICK WITH our original idea.|1
  • stiffen up|Become rigid|My back STIFFENS UP in cold weather.|_
  • stir up|Make trouble for someone else|He STIRRED things UP by complaining to senior management about his line manager.|1
  • stitch up|Sew something so that it is closed|I STITCHED UP the hole in my sleeve.|_
  • stomp off|Leave somewhere angrily|He lost his temper and STOMPED OFF home.|_
  • stomp on|Treat badly or defeat|They STOMP ON their competitors.|_
  • stop around|Visit someone for a short time.|Why don’t you STOP AROUND my place on your way back?|_
  • stop back|Return somewhere|I’ll STOP BACK this afternoon when you’re free.|_
  • stop behind|Stay somewhere when other people leave|I STOPPED BEHIND at the end of the lecture to ask a couple of questions.|_
  • stop by|Visit somewhere briefly or quickly|I must STOP BY the supermarket and pick up some things for dinner.|_
  • stop in|Stay at home|I was feeling tired so I STOPPED IN last night.|_
  • stop off|Break a journey|We STOPPED OFF for lunch about halfway there, then carried on driving.|_
  • stop out|Be out late, especially when you are expected home|Her parents were annoyed because she STOPPED OUT all night.|_
  • stop over|Stay somewhere when on a journey|I STOPPED OVER in Bangkok for a couple of days on my way back from Tokyo.|1
  • stop up|Stay up late|I STOPPED UP last night watching the film.|1
  • store up|Memorise or commit something to memory for later use|I STORED UP a lot of issues they had to make my complaint.|_
  • storm off|Leave a place angrily|They had a row and he STORMED OFF.|_
  • storm out|Leave a place angrily|He lost his temper and STORMED OUT OF the bar. (If you don’t mention the place, you can just say ‘He stormed out’)|_
  • stow away|Hide in a vehicle to travel without people knowing|She STOWED AWAY on the plane but was caught when it landed.|1
  • straighten out|Make something straight|I’m always having to STRAIGHTEN OUT the wires connected to my computer.|1
  • straighten up|Stand straight|She STRAIGHTENED UP when her boss walked in.|1
  • stretch out|Lie down with your limbs extended in a relaxed manner|She STRETCHED OUT on the sofa.|1
  • stretch to|Manage to supply an amount of money even though it is more than you would like to give or pay|I could STRETCH TO a hundred pounds if it is really necessary.|_
  • stretcher off|Carry an injured player off the pitch, field, etc.|He was STRETCHERED OFF with a broken ankle.|_
  • strike back|Attack, take action against someone who has hurt you|At first, he ignored them, but when things got very serious, he STRUCK BACK.|1
  • strike down|Kill|A hitman STRUCK him DOWN as he entered the building. (This verb is often used in the passive- He was struck down as he entered the building.)|1
  • strike off|Remove someone’s professional licence to practise|The Medical Council STRUCK him OFF for malpractice.|1
  • strike on|Have a good idea|I STRUCK ON the solution when I was out with my dog.|_
  • strike out|Start doing something new and different|After doing the same job for five years, I decided to STRIKE OUT and change careers.|1
  • strike up|Start (conversation, relationship)|He STRUCK UP a conversation with me in the bar.|1
  • strike upon|Have a good idea|It took us a long time to STRIKE UPON a solution.|_
  • string along|Deceive someone for a long time|They kept saying they were interested, but they were just STRINGING me ALONG|1
  • string out|Make something last as long as possible|There was half an hour to go, so I STRUNG the questions OUT as long as I could.|1
  • string together|Put words together into a coherent text|I was so nervous in the interview that I could hardly STRING a sentence TOGETHER.|_
  • string up|Hang somebody|The rebels STRUNG the soldiers UP after they captured them.|1
  • strip away|Reduce or remove|If you STRIP AWAY the rhetoric, their claims have no merit.|_
  • strip down|Remove parts to make something more efficient or basic|They STRIPPED the car DOWN to make it lighter for the race.|1
  • strip down to|Remove clothing to a certain level|I had to STRIP DOWN TO my underwear for the medical examination.|_
  • strip of|Remove a title, award or position|He was STRIPPED OF his honours after the scandal.|_
  • strip off|Remove clothes|We STRIPPED OFF and swam naked in the river.|_
  • strip out|Remove|They STRIPPED OUT the previous bosses policies.|_
  • strip to|Remove clothing to a certain level|I had to STRIP TO the waist for the medical.|_
  • stub out|Extinguish a cigarette|He STUBBED his cigarette OUT in a saucer because he couldn’t find an ashtray.|1
  • stuff up|Make a mistake, do badly, spoil|I STUFFED the exam UP.|_
  • stumble across|Find something accidentally|You’ll never guess what I STUMBLED ACROSS when I was packing my stuff.|_
  • stumble upon|Find something accidentally|I STUMBLED UPON these photos when I was clearing my room up.|_
  • stump up|Pay for something|He didn’t want to pay me back, but I got him to STUMP UP in the end.|_
  • suck in|Become involved in something unpleasant|Everyone around her was taking drugs and she got SUCKED IN.|1
  • suck into|Become involved in something unpleasant|The country got SUCKED INTO the war.|_
  • suck up|Try to ingratiate yourself|He is always SUCKING UP to try to get the boss’s approval.|1
  • suck up to|Ingratiate yourself with someone|He’s always SUCKING UP TO our boss.|_
  • suit up|Get dressed or put on a uniform for an activity or task|They SUITED UP and went to the interview|_
  • sum up|Summarise|At the end of the lecture, she SUMMED UP the main points again.|1
  • summon up|Get the energy or courage to do something|Andrea couldn’t SUMMON UP the enthusiasm to apply for the position.|_
  • suss out|Come to understand|It took her ages to SUSS OUT what was going on.|1
  • swallow up|Take control of something much smaller, like a company or state|The corporation SWALLOWED them UP before they could become a rival.|1
  • swan about|Move in a dramatic or affected manner|He SWANNED ABOUT at the party.|_
  • swan around|Move in a dramatic or affected manner|She SWANNED AROUND trying to impress people.|_
  • swan in|Enter in a dramatic or attention-seeking manner|He SWANNED IN surrounded by photographers.|_
  • swan off|Leave somewhere in a defiant or pompous manner|He didn’t like the way the spoke to him so he SWANNED OFF angrily.|_
  • swear by|Have great confidence in|I SWEAR BY their products- they’re the best on the market.|_
  • swear down|Promise that something is true|He SWORE DOWN that he hadn’t done it.|_
  • swear in|Take an oath to hold a public office|They SWORE her IN as mayor.|1
  • swear off|Decide to stop doing something, usually something harmful|She SWORE OFF alcohol after getting incredibly drunk at her friend’s wedding.|1
  • sweep through|Pass easily, succeed|She SWEPT THROUGH the exams.|1
  • swing around|Change your opinion quickly|They SWUNG AROUND to our idea after reading the press reports.|1
  • swing at|Try to hit|He SWUNG AT me but missed.|_
  • swing by|Visit a person or place on your way somewhere|I will SWING BY this afternoon and pick you up.|_
  • swing round|Change your opinion quickly|They were against it at first then SWUNG ROUND and supported it.|_
  • switch off|Stop a machine or something electrical working|I SWITCHED OFF the lights, locked the door and left.|1
  • switch on|Start a machine or something electrical working|She SWITCHED ON the lights when she entered the room.|1
  • switch over|Change from one provider or source to another|We SWITCHED OVER to solar power.|1
  • syphon off|Take business, support or votes from someone|The candidate SYPHONED OFF a lot of votes because of his anti-war stance.|_

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