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.

Phrasal Verb consists of a verb and a preposition or adverb that modifies or changes the meaning. Give up is such a verb that means stop doing something, which is very different from give. The word or words that modify a verb in this manner can also go under the name particle.

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

Phrasal Verbs starting with L :

Lap up: Appreciate something

He LAPPED UP their praise.

Large it up: Have a good time when intoxicated

They were LARGING IT UP in the rave.

Lark about: Behave in a silly way

The children made me angry because they were LARKING ABOUT.

Lark around: Behave in a silly way

The students wouldn't stop LARKING AROUND.

Lark it up: Enjoy yourself noisily and exuberantly

After they won, they went to a bar to L ARK IT UP.

Lash down:

Fall heavily (rain)

The rain was LASHING DOWN all day and the roads were flooded.

Secure something with ropes or cords

We LASHED the tarpaulin DOWN to stop the wind blowing it away.

Lash into: Criticise someone strongly

He LASHED INTO them for messing thins up.

Lash out:

Suddenly become violent

He LASHED OUT and broke the man's nose.

React angrily

He LASHES OUT when things don't go his way.

Spend a lot of money on luxuries

I LASHED OUT in the sales last week.

Lash out against: Criticise something strongly

The press has LASHED OUT AGAINST the policy.

Lash out at:

Hit someone suddenly, usually without warning, or try to hit them

He LASHED OUT AT me when I laughed at him.

Criticise someone or shout at them

She LASHED OUT AT her colleagues when she was sacked.

Lash out on: Spend a lot of money buying something

I LASHED OUT a lot ON a new car.

Latch on: Understand, often after a long time

They were lying, but it took her ages to LATCH ON.

Latch on to: Understand something, often after a long time

The police didn't LATCH ON TO what the crooks were doing for years.

Latch onto:

Connect to something

The gecko LATCHED ONTO the ceiling.

Decide or realise that something is good or profitable

Oil companies have LATCHED ONTO environmental ideas.

Lay down:

Establish rules or procedures

The rules of the sport were LAID DOWN early in the nineteenth century.

Kill, murder

He got LAID DOWN in a turf war about supplying drugs.

Lay into: Criticise angrily

His partner LAID INTO him when he arrived two hours late.

Lay off: Make an employee redundant

The hotel LAID OFF twenty staff because tourist numbers were down.

Lay on: Organise, supply

They LAID ON a buffet lunch at the conference.

Lay out: Spend money

They LAID OUT thousands of pounds on their wedding reception.

Lead to: Result in

The investigation LED TO the arrest of a number of suspects.

Leak out: Become public knowledge

The company's plans to close the factory LEAKED OUT and they were very embarrassed.

Lean on: Put pressure on someone to get them to do what you want

The government has denied LEANING ON the Attorney General to get his approval of the war.

Leave on: Not turn off

LEAVE the TV ON; I want to hear the football results.

Leave out: Not include

He was LEFT OUT of the side because he hasn't been playing too well lately.

Let down:

Disappoint, fail to keep an arrangement

She failed to turn up and I felt badly LET DOWN.

Make clothes longer

He's grown so much; we'll have to LET his trousers DOWN.

Let in: Allow someone to enter

The door staff didn't LET him IN the nightclub because he was wearing jeans.

Let off: Not punish

The judge LET him OFF with a fine rather than a prison sentence since it was his first offence.

Let on: Tell a secret

I didn't mean to LET ON about the party; I just said it without thinking.

Let out:

Allow to leave or go out

The convict was LET OUT of prison after serving five years of an eight-year sentence.

Make a sound

He LET OUT a huge sigh of relief when he heard the results.

Make clothes bigger

I've put on so much weight that I'm going to have to LET my suits OUT.

Lie down: Rest

I'm going to LIE DOWN for a few minutes before we have to go out.

Lie with: Have the right to make a decision

The decision about the contract LIES WITH the courts.

Lift off: Leave the ground- rocket or spaceship

5-4-3-2-1- we have LIFT-OFF!

Light up:

Light or start smoking a cigarette

Asif LIT UP as soon as he got out of the building.


They LIGHT UP the streets at Christmas time.

Lighten up: Be less serious

I told them to LIGHTEN UP but they continued complaining about it.

Limber up: Do some exercises to warm up before playing a sport or other physical activity

The team LIMBERED UP for a few minutes before the game started.

Limber up for: Prepare for something that will require a great effort

They are LIMBERING UP FOR the end of the financial year.

Line up:

Arrange in a line

The police got them to LINE UP against the wall.

Arrange something in a line

He LINED the bottles UP against the wall.

Arrange events for someone

We have LINED UP a lot of meetings for them.

Link up: Connect, join

The train LINKS UP the cities.

Link up with: Connect with someone or contact them

We LINKED UP WITH the firm over the web.

Listen out for: Listen for a particular noise or sound

They put their coats on and LISTENED OUT FOR the minicab.

Live by: Follow a belief system to guide your behavior

He tries hard to LIVE BY the Bible.

Live down: Stop being embarrassed about something

If I fail the test and everyone else passes, I'll never be able to LIVE it DOWN.

Live for: Believe something is extremely important

He LIVES FOR football.

Live in: Live in the place where you work or study

The university has a residential hall where students can LIVE IN.

Live it up: Have a good time by spending a lot of money

She's been LIVING IT UP like crazy since she won the lottery.

Live off: Use money earned

They find it hard to LIVE OFF the money they make.

Live on:

Use money for basic necessities

They have to LIVE ON $200 a week.

Not be forgotten

He's been dead for many years, but his name LIVES ON.

Live out:

Stay somewhere until you die

She LIVED OUT her final years in a nursing home.

Fulfill an ambition or fantasy

Many parents try to LIVE OUT their dreams through their children.

Not live at the place where you study or work

In my final year at university I LIVED OUT with some friends in a flat we rented.

Live through: Experience different times

It was hard to LIVE THROUGH the recession, but we managed it.

Live together: Have a relationship and live in the same place without marrying

We LIVED TOGETHER for a few years before we got married.

Live up to: Meet expectations or standards

The concert didn't LIVE UP TO my expectations.

Live with:

Accept something unpleasant

It's hard to LIVE WITH the pain of a serious illness.

Have a relationship and live in the same place without marrying

I LIVED WITH her for a couple of years before the relationship went sour.

Load down: Burden

I was LOADED DOWN with all the stuff I had to take there.

Load up:

Take illegal drugs

He's been LOADING UP for years.

Fill a machine or vehicle

We LOADED the car UP and left for our holiday.

Load up on: Consume a lot of something for a particular purpose

The athletes LOADED UP ON carbohydrates before the race.

Lock away:

Lock in a safe place

He LOCKED the gun AWAY in a drawer.

Put someone in prison or a mental hospital for a very long time

They LOCKED him AWAY for life after the murders.

Lock down: Make very secure

If you lock down your computer properly, it is very difficult for people to access it.

Lock in:

Lock a place to stop someone leaving

They LOCKED him IN the room until he had calmed down.

Commit someone in such a way that they cannot leave

They are LOCKED IN now that they have paid their subscription.

Lock onto: Find a target and head for it

The missile LOCKED ONTO the plane and blew it out of the sky.

Lock out:

Close a workplace to stop workers entering

The management LOCKED the staff OUT because they had turned down the pay offer.

Lock a place to stop someone getting in

I lost my key and LOCKED myself OUT.

Lock up:

Close all doors, windows, etc.

She LOCKED UP after everyone had left and went home.

Lock something in a safe place

I LOCKED my money UP in the safe.

Put in prison or a mental hospital

They LOCKED him UP for burglary.

Lock yourself away: Go somewhere away from people to study or work

I LOCK MYSELF AWAY for a few weeks before exams.

Log in: Enter a restricted area on a computer system

I had forgotten my password and couldn't LOG IN.

Log into: Enter a restricted area of a computer system

I LOGGED INTO the staff intranet to check my email.

Log off: Exit a computer system

When she'd finished working on the spreadsheet, she LOGGED OFF and left the office.

Log on: Enter a computer system

He entered his password for the college intranet and LOGGED ON.

Log out: Exit a computer system

Danny closed the programs and LOGGED OUT when it was time to go home.

Look after: Take care

Their auntie LOOKED AFTER them while their mother was in hospital.

Look back: Think about the past

Old people often LOOK BACK on over their lives.

Look down on: Have a low opinion of

He LOOKS DOWN ON his colleagues because he thinks he's better than they are.

Look for: Try to find

I've been LOOKING FOR all their hidden files, but I can't find them anywhere.

Look forward to: Wait for or anticipate something pleasant

I'm LOOKING FORWARD TO meeting you.

Look in: Make a quick visit

I'll LOOK IN on my way home.

Look in on: Visit briefly to see if everything's all right

I'm going to LOOK IN ON grannie on the way home tonight as she's been a bit unwell recently.

Look into: Research, investigate

We'll LOOK INTO the problem and come back to you when we have the information.

Look on: Watch something like a crime without helping

The crowd just LOOKED ON as the old lady was mugged.

Look on as: Consider, regard

I LOOK ON her AS a close friend.

Look out: Be careful

LOOK OUT; you're going to drop that!

Look over: Inspect

They came to LOOK the house OVER with a view to buying it.

Look round: Inspect a house

We LOOKED ROUND the house and decided that we didn't like it enough to buy it.

Look to: Expect, hope

The company is LOOKING TO increase its sales in Asia.

Look up: Consult a reference work (dictionary, phonebook, etc.) for a specific piece of information

I didn't know the correct spelling so I had to LOOK it UP in the dictionary.


The economy is LOOKING UP.

Find, trace an old friend

I LOOKED him UP when I went back to Cambridge.

Look up to: Respect

She's LOOKS UP TO her mother.

Look upon as: Consider, regard

I LOOK UPON him AS a close friend.

Lord it over: Behave in a superior manner

She loves to LORD IT OVER her employees.

Lose out: Be at a disadvantage

Many people LOST OUT when the new regulations were enforced.

Lose out on: Not gain or have something advantageous

Because I left the company, I LOST OUT ON my bonus.

Lose out to: Be less successful

People without IT skills often LOSE OUT TO those with the skills.

Luck out: Be very lucky

I really LUCKED OUT when I met my partner.

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