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 M :

Magic away : Make something disappear quickly

He MAGICKED the bill AWAY and paid for us all before I could get my wallet out.

Make do with : Accept something less satisfactory because there's no alternative

There's no coffee, so we'll have to MAKE DO WITH tea.

Make for : Head in a certain direction

We MADE FOR home when it started raining.

Make into : Change something into something else

Many churches have been MADE INTO flats in recent years.

Make it : Arrive or get a result

I thought you weren't coming, so I was really pleased you MADE IT.

Make it up to : Try to compensate for doing something wrong

He tried to MAKE IT UP TO her, but she wouldn't speak to him.

Make off with : Steal

Thieves MADE OFF WITH over a million dollars in the robbery.

Make out :

1. Make a cheque payable to somebody

Please MAKE the cheque OUT to RGM Productions Ltd.

2. Pretend

He MADE OUT that he was ill so that he didn't have to go to school.

3. Progress

How are your children MAKING OUT at the new school?

4. Kiss and pet

They were MAKING OUT at the party last night.

Make over : Change appearance

The beauty salon gave her a MAKEOVER before the party.

Make up :

1. Stop being angry with someone

They are always arguing, but they MAKE UP again very quickly.

2. Put on cosmetics

She went to the bathroom to MAKE her face UP.

3. Invent a story

They MADE UP an excuse for being late.

Make up for : Compensate

I sent her a present to try to MAKE UP FOR my appalling behaviour.

Make up to : Increase a sum received to a higher figure

The charity collected £24,517.57, and the anonymous donor MADE the total UP TO £25,000.

Make with : Give (usually used as an imperative)

MAKE WITH the money you owe me.

Mark down :

1. Give a student a lower grade for a particular reason

Students who gave obviously rehearsed answers were MARKED DOWN, while those who spoke naturally were rewarded accordingly.

2. Reduce the price of something

I'll buy a lot more if you MARK them DOWN a bit.

Mark down as : Consider someone or something to be of a certain group, type, etc.

I MARKED them DOWN AS conservatives, but they're very liberal.

Mark off : Tick, cross out or otherwise mark something to show that it has been dealt with

I MARKED OFF the items on the list as I finished them.

Mark out : Draw lines to enclose an area

They MARKED OUT the pitch.

Mark out for : Show promise for the future

His dedication MARKED him OUT FOR great things.

Mark out from : Stand out because of certain qualities

Her speed MARKS her OUT FROM the rest of the group.

Mark up : Increase the price of something

They MARK the goods UP by 25% before they sell them.

Marry in : Marry someone of the same ethnicity, religion, etc

Many religions encourage their followers to MARRY IN.

Marry out : Marry someone of a different ethnicity, religion, etc

Her parents disowned her and refused to speak to her when she MARRIED OUT.

Mash up :

1. Crush something until it becomes a paste

He MASHED UP some bananas for the dessert.

2. Mix sources of audio, video or other computer sources.

She MASHED UP the songs into a single track.

3. Break or damage

He MASHED UP my MP3 player and lost my files.

Max out : Take a credit line to the limit

She MAXED OUT her credit cards.

Measure against : Evaluate or judge by comparison

The work doesn't look good if you MEASURE it AGAINST what our competitors have done.

Measure off : Measure something and mark the point where it ends or will be cut

The tailor MEASURED OFF the material for my suit.

Measure out : Measure or weigh the amount needed

He MEASURED OUT the flour for the bread.

Measure up :

1. Find the size of something

The estate agent MEASURED UP all the rooms.

2. Be good enough, meet the required standard

She didn't MEASURE UP in her probationary period, so we didn't extend her contract.

Meet with : Have something happen to you

They MET WITH some problems they hadn't anticipated.

Mess about :

1. Not be serious, not use something properly

The children were MESSING ABOUT with the TV remote control and broke it.

2. Treat someone badly

He is always MESSING me ABOUT and never does what he promises.

3. Have a sexual relationship outside marriage or a permanent relationship

He's not faithful- he's been MESSING ABOUT since they were married.

Mess about with :

1. Have a sexual relationship outside marriage or a permanent relationship

She's been MESSING ABOUT WITH another guy she knows from work.

2. Try to improve something, usually making things worse

The computer was working fine until he started MESSING ABOUT WITH it.

Mess around :

1. Not be serious, play with something

I was MESSING AROUND on the internet because I couldn't be bothered to do any work.

2. Treat someone badly

She is always MESSING me AROUND and never does what she promises.

3. Have a sexual relationship outside marriage or a permanent relationship

She's not faithful- she's been MESSING ABOUT since they got married.

Mess around with :

1. Have a sexual relationship outside marriage or a permanent relationship

He's been MESSING ABOUT WITH a woman he works with.

2. Try to improve something, usually making things worse

The computer was working fine until they started MESSING ABOUT WITH it.

Mess over : Treat someone badly

They MESSED her OVER when she applied for the job.

Mess up :

1. Spoil or ruin

They MESSED UP the discussions and the contract fell through.

2. Make something untidy or dirty

They MESSED UP the room and left stuff all over the place.

3. Cause mental, physical or emotional problems

He took a lot of LSD and it really MESSED him UP.

Mess with :

1. Become involved in something damaging or dangerous

He's been MESSING WITH cocaine.

2. Annoy, bother

Don't MESS WITH me or there will be trouble.

3. Associate (negative)

He's been MESSING WITH some dangerous people.

4. Try to repair of improve, usually unsuccessfully

She's been MESSING WITH it for hours and it still doesn't work.

Mill around : Walk around without going anywhere

There were a lot of people MILLING AROUND waiting for the bus.

Miss out :

1. Not do something enjoyable or rewarding

It'll be great; you'll be MISSING OUT if you don't come.

2. Not include

Make sure you don't MISS anyone OUT when you call their names.

Miss out on : Lose a chance, fail to achieve

Trudy MISSED OUT ON the promotion.

Mix up :

1. Confuse

I always MIX those two sisters UP because they look so like each other.

2. Make something lively

The DJ MIXED UP the night with some hard techno.

Monkey around : Not be serious

The police officer told the drunks to stop MONKEYING AROUND and go home quietly.

Mooch about : Spend time doing little or nothing

I MOOCHED ABOUT the whole afternoon because I didn't feel like working.

Mooch around : Spend time doing little or nothing

I MOOCHED AROUND the house all day.

Mop up :

1. Resolve a problem

He was left to MOP UP the mess after they resigned.

2. Kill or capture the last few enemy soldiers after a victory.

After the battle, it took them a couple of weeks to MOP UP the remaining rebels.

3. Eat a sauce with bread to finish it

The sauce was so delicious that I ordered some bread to MOP it UP.

4. Remove a liquid that has been spilt

I used a cloth to MOP UP the coffee I had knocked over.

Mope about : Move around being miserable

She didn't get the job and has been MOPING ABOUT all afternoon.

Mope around : Move around being miserable

He's been MOPING AROUND since his girlfriend left him.

Mount up : Increase over time

My debts MOUNTED UP while I was at university.

Mouth off : Speak angrily about something

I always get angry and start MOUTHING OFF when the news is on TV.

Move on :

1. Change the subject or your job

She MOVED ON to another company where the salary was considerably better.

2. Make people move from a place

The police MOVED the crowd ON because they were holding up the traffic.

Mug up : Study quickly, revise

I have to MUG UP before the exam.

Mug up on : Study something quickly, revise

I need to MUG UP ON my history for the test.

Mull over : Think about an issue or problem

She said that she'd had to MULL IT OVER before deciding what was right for her.

Muscle in : Become involved in something when your involvement is not wanted

We tried to exclude him of the committee, but he MUSCLED IN.

Muscle in on : Become involved in something despite opposition to your involvement

She MUSCLED IN ON the deal even though we wanted to do it without her.

Muscle into : Become involved even though there is opposition to your involvement

They are MUSCLING INTO our market and there is very little we can do to stop them.

Muscle out : Use power, contacts, etc, to force someone out

They used their contacts in local government to MUSCLE the competitors OUT.

Phrasal Verbs| Grammar| Phrasal Verbs to HOME PAGE