English Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal 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 reference page of 2,570 current English Phrasal Verbs (also called multi-word verbs) with definitions and examples is here.

Phrasal Verbs beginning with D :

Dash off :

1. Leave somewhere quickly

It is late- I am going to DASH OFF home.

2. Do something quickly, especially writing

He DASHED OFF the report in a couple of hours.

Dawn on : Finally realise or understand something

The truth only DAWNED ON me much later.

Die away : Become quieter or inaudible (of a sound)

The last notes DIED AWAY and the audience burst into applause.

Die down : Decrease or become quieter

It was on the front pages of all the papers for a few days, but the interest gradually DIED DOWN.

Die for : Want something a lot

I'm DYING FOR the weekend- this week's been so hard.

Die off : Become extinct

Most of the elm trees in the UK DIED OFF when Dutch elm disease arrived.

Die out : Become extinct or disappear

Some scientists say that the dinosaurs DIED OUT when a comet hit the earth and caused a nuclear winter.

Dig in : Start eating greedily

We were starving so we really DUG IN when the food finally did arrive.

Dig into : Reach inside to get something

She DUG INTO her handbag and pulled out a bunch of keys.

Dig up : Find something that is supposed to be secret

The reporters eventually DUG UP the truth about the affair.

Dine out : Have dinner outside your home

We DINED OUT because we couldn't be bothered to cook.

Dine out on : Tell a story repeatedly that is well received

I've DINED OUT ON the story of his accident.

Dip in : Put something in a liquid for a short time

I DIPPED the brush IN the paint and began painting the wall.

Dip into : Read parts of a book, but not all

I've been DIPPING INTO the book, but haven't read it properly.

Take money out of your savings

I've has to DIP INTO my savings account to pay for the works on my house.

Dip out : Leave a place without telling anyone

The party was so dull I DIPPED OUT.

Disagree with : Make someone feel sick or ill

I feel dreadful. The prawns I had for lunch are DISAGREEING WITH me.

Dish out :

1. Serve food

I DISHED OUT the dinner.

2. Give something, usually when you shouldn't

Doctors have been DISHING OUT Viagra to anyone who asks for it.

3. Criticise when you can't take criticism in return

He DISHES it OUT, but gets all hurt when anyone responds.

Dish up : Serve food

He DISHED UP a great dinner when we got back.

Dive in :

1. Start doing something, usually without planning

When we saw what was happening, we all DIVED IN to help.

2. Start eating

Dinner's on the table, so DIVE IN.

Dive into : Reach inside something quickly

She DIVED INTO her bag and pulled out a lighter.

Divvy out : Divide, share

The waiters and waitresses DIVVY OUT the tips at the end of the night.

Divvy up : Divide, share

We DIVVIED UP the money equally.

Do away with : Abolish, get rid of

The United Kingdom DID AWAY WITH the death penalty in 1965.

Do out of : Cheat somebody out of something that is rightfully theirs

They lied on the reference and DID me OUT OF any chance of getting the job.

Do up :

1. Close or fasten clothes, etc.

You must DO UP your safety belt in the back of cars and taxis now.

2. Repair and renovate

It took them six months to DO UP the house before they could actually move in.

Do without : Manage without something

There's no sugar, so you'll have to DO WITHOUT.

Doss about : Spend time doing very little or being unproductive

I could not get down to my work and DOSSED ABOUT all night.

Doss around : Spend time doing very little or being unproductive

I spent the afternoon DOSSING AROUND.

Doss down : Sleep somewhere temporarily because you don't go home

I was feeling really tired, so I DOSSED DOWN on his sofa for the night.

Doze off : Fall asleep

The movie was a bit boring and I DOZED OFF halfway through.

Drag on : Be unnecessarily long

The meeting DRAGGED ON for two and a half hours.

Draw back : Retreat, move backwards

He DREW BACK when the dog barked.

Draw down :

1. Reduce levels

The administration wants to DRAW DOWN troop numbers as soon as they can.

2. Get funding

The college wants to DRAW DOWN extra funding for IT provision.

3. To deplete by consumption or heavy spending

Gas reserves were DRAWN DOWN in the recent cold spell.

Draw in :

1. Get dark earlier

The nights are DRAWING IN now it's winter.

2. Arrive at a station (for trains)

The train DREW IN and we got off.

Draw into : Get involved in something unpleasant

I didn't want to take sides because I didn't want to get DRAWN INTO their arguments.

Draw on :

1. Pass slowly (time)

As the lesson DREW ON, the students started to get bored.

2. Inhale smoke from a cigarette, cigar, etc

He DREW ON his cigarette and coughed.

Draw out :

1. Make something continue longer than needed

The director DREW the meeting OUT with a lengthy speech.

2. Make a shy person more outgoing

He was so quiet at first, but the teacher managed to DRAW him OUT and get him to participate.

Draw up :

1. Prepare a contract

The contract was DRAWN UP by our solicitor.

2. When a vehicle stops

The police car DREW UP alongside him at the red lights and asked him to pull over.

Dream of : Think or consider

I wouldn't even DREAM OF telling her that.

Dream up : Invent something, have an idea

They DREAMED UP the scheme for the improvements and it was accepted by the board.

Dredge up : Discover things about someone's past

They DREAMED UP the scheme for the improvements and it was accepted by the board.

Dress down :

1. Dress casually

The staffs are allowed to DRESS DOWN on Fridays.

2. Scold

She DRESSED me DOWN for being rude.

Dress up : Dress very smartly

It's an informal party so there's no need to DRESS UP.

Drift apart : Slowly cease to be close to or friends with someone

We were great friends at school but DRIFTED APART when we went to different universities.

Drift off : Start to fall asleep

I was DRIFTING OFF when the noise disturbed me.

Drill down : Search through layers of information on a computer

I really had to DRILL DOWN to get the answers from the database.

Drill down through : Get to the bottom of something, get detailed data

They DRILLED DOWN THROUGH the information to find the truth.

Drill into : Repeat something many times to make someone learn it

The teacher DRILLED the rules INTO the students.

Drink up : Finish a drink

DRINK UP, please, it's closing time.

Drive away : Force an animal or someone to leave a place

Their unfriendliness DRIVES customers AWAY.

Drive back : Repulse, force back

The police DROVE the crowd BACK to give the rescue workers more space.

Drive by : Do something out of a car

He was killed in a DRIVE-BY shooting.

Drive off : Drive away from a place

She slammed the car door shut and DROVE OFF without saying a word.

Drive out : Force someone to leave a place

The soldiers DROVE them OUT of their homes.

Drive up : Make something increase

The market uncertainty has DRIVEN prices UP.

Drone on : Talk boringly for a long time

The minister DRONED ON for an hour and the audience looked increasingly bored.

Drop around :

1. Visit someone, often without making an arrangement

We DROPPED AROUND to collect the stuff we'd left there last week.

2. Deliver

I DROPPED AROUND the things they needed.

Drop away : Become smaller- amount, numbers

The numbers of people attending the function began DROPPING AWAY after a few months.

Drop back : Move towards the back of a group

He stared at the front, but got tired and DROPPED BACK as the race went on.

Drop by : Pay a brief visit

He DROPPED BY on his way home from work.

Drop in : Visit without having made arrangements

I was in the area so I DROPPED IN at the office to see her.

Drop off :

1. Take something or someone to a place and leave it or them there.

I DROPPED the kids OFF at school on my way to work.

2. Fall asleep

I DROPPED OFF during the play and woke up when it ended.

3. Decrease in number or amount

Sales have DROPPED OFF in the last few months.

Drop out : Quit a course

She DROPPED OUT of college and went straight into a good job.

Drop over : Visit for a short time

I will DROP OVER on my way back.

Drop round :

1. Visit someone, often without making an arrangement

We DROPPED ROUND their house on our way.

2. Deliver

I DROPPED the papers ROUND so she could read them before the meeting.

Drop someone in it : Get someone into trouble

I really DROPPED him IN IT when I told them what he had done.

Drop through : Come to nothing, produce no results

The big scheme he was talking about seems to have DROPPED THROUGH.

Drown in : Cover excessively

They DROWN the food IN sauce.

Drown out : Be so loud that another sound cannot be heard

The music DROWNED OUT the sound of the phone ringing.

Drum into : To make someone learn or believe something by constant repetition

They DRUM all the traps INTO you before the test, so you can not go wrong.

Drum out : Force someone out of their job or position

They DRUMMED the minister OUT when she was caught lying.
The minister was DRUMMED OUT of her post for lying. (The passive form with OF is more common)

Drum up : Increase support or interest

They are trying to DRUM UP support for the referendum.

Duck out of : Avoid doing something

He DUCKED OUT OF helping us last night.

Duff up : Beat or hit someone repeatedly

He was DUFFED UP in a night club last night.

Dumb down : Reduce the intellectual level of something in search of popularity

Television has been DUMBING DOWN the news for years.

Dwell on : Spend a lot of time on something

The programme DWELLED ON the atrocities against women.

Dwell upon : Spend a lot of time on something

She DWELT UPON the economic situation in her speech.

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