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 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 beginning with K :

Keel over :

1. Turn upside down

The boat KEELED OVER in the storm and the crew drowned.

2. Surrender, give in

He was going to confront his boss, but KEELED OVER and did not mention the matter.

3. Fall to the ground

The drunk KEELED OVER when trying to leave the pub.

Keep around : Keep something near you

I KEEP a dictionary AROUND when I'm doing my homework.

Keep at : Continue with something difficult

She found the course hard but she KEPT AT it and completed it successfully.

Keep away : Don't allow someone near something

Medicines should always be KEPT AWAY from children.

Keep back : Maintain a safe distance

The police told the crowd to KEEP BACK from the fire.

Keep down : Not vomit

The food was so horrible that I struggled to KEEP it DOWN.

Keep from : Control yourself, refrain

I could not KEEP FROM arguing with her.

Keep in : Not allow someone out

The teacher KEPT the students IN after school because they had misbehaved.

Keep off :

1. Not talk about

She KEPT OFF the subject of her divorce.

2. Not tread on something

KEEP OFF the grass in the park, please.

Keep on : Continue

He KEPT ON trying and succeeded in the end.

Keep out : Not allow someone to enter

The police KEPT the demonstrators OUT of the building.

Keep to : Stay within limits

Please KEEP TO the path.

Keep up : Not let someone go to bed

My neighbors KEPT me UP till after 4 am with their loud music last night.

Keep up at : Continue, not quit

Learning a language is difficult, but if you KEEP UP AT it, you'll succeed in the end.

Keep up with :

1. Move at the same rate

He walks too fast and it's really hard to KEEP UP WITH him.

2. Stay up to date

It's hard to KEEP UP WITH all the latest improvements and breakthroughs in technology nowadays.

Key in : Enter numbers or information into a computer or electronic system

It took me ages to KEY IN all the information into the database.

Kick about : Discuss

We KICKED the idea ABOUT at the meeting.

Kick around : Discuss

We KICKED the idea AROUND.

Kick around with : Spend time with

I used to KICK AROUND WITH them, but haven't seen them for a while.

Kick back :

1. Pay someone illegally as part of the price

I had to KICK ten percent BACK to the government official to get the contract.

2. Resist

They KICKED BACK when we suggested downsizing.

Kick down : Break something with your feet

The police KICKED the door DOWN.

Kick in :

1. When a drug starts to take effect

Her hay fever didn't feel half as bad once the antihistamines had KICKED IN.

2. Break something with your feet

They KICKED his head IN.

Kick off :

1. Start a game of football

The match KICKS OFF at three o'clock.

2. Die

He KICKED OFF last month when he had a massive heart attack.

3. When trouble starts

The fight KICKED OFF when he insulted the guy's girlfriend.

4. Argue, protest and refuse to co-operate

He started KICKING OFF big time when the police tried to arrest him.

Kick out : Expel

The family KICKED the au pair OUT when they found out that she was planning to move to work for another household.

Kick up : Cause trouble or pain

My back KICKS UP when it gets cold.

Kiss off :

1. Used to tell someone to go away

He was bugging us, so we told him to KISS OFF.

2. Consider something to be unimportant or inferior

He KISSED the criticism OFF.

Kiss up to : Try to get into someone's favor

He is a creep and is always KISSING UP TO the director.

Knock about : Beat someone

He KNOCKED his brother ABOUT after they argued.

Knock around : Discuss casually

We KNOCKED the idea AROUND a bit, but decided not to bother.

Knock back :

1. Cost someone a lot of money

Your holiday must have KNOCKED you BACK a bit.

2. Finish a drink quickly, drink a lot of alcohol

The pub was closing so we KNOCKED our drinks BACK and left.

3. Shock

It really KNOCKED me BACK when I heard they had been killed.

Knock down :

1. Demolish

They KNOCKED DOWN the old church and built a block of flats in its place.

2. Hit and injure someone

The car KNOCKED her DOWN and she broke her arm.

Knock it off : Stop doing something annoying

They were making too much noise, so I told them to KNOCK IT OFF.

Knock off :

1. Finish work for the day

We KNOCKED OFF early on Friday to avoid the rush hour queues.

2. Reduce the price of something

They KNOCKED ten pounds OFF when I asked for a discount.

3. Reduce the time required to do something

The new road KNOCKS an hour OFF the journey.

4. Steal

He KNOCKED it OFF and sold it.

5. Produce or create something quickly

I KNOCKED the essay OFF in an hour.

Knock out :

1. Hit and make somebody unconscious

The reigning middleweight champion KNOCKED OUT the challenger in the fourth round of the fight.

2. Sell, distribute

They are KNOCKING hundreds OUT a day in the sales.

Knock together : Join houses that had been separate

They KNOCKED TOGETHER two outbuildings and turned them into a home.

Knock up :

1. Become or get someone pregnant.

She got KNOCKED UP when she was on holiday.

2. Play a bit before a match to get ready

The teams KNOCKED UP for a few minutes before the final.

3. Produce or create something quickly

They KNOCKED a model UP over the weekend.

Knuckle down : Make a great effort

I've got my exams next week and I haven't done much work, so I'd better KNUCKLE DOWN.

Knuckle under : Submit to authority

The teacher made the students KNUCKLE UNDER and hand their projects in on time.

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