List 14 - Phrasal Verbs




Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

lapse into

To pass gradually into a worse state or condition.

He lapsed into a coma after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

lay about

To beat violently on all sides.+

He laid about his would-be pickpocket with his walking stick.

lay aside

To temporarily suspend doing something. 

They may decide to lay aside the building project until the rainy season ends. 

To save for future use.

The couple lay/lays aside an amount of money for a summer holiday.

lay away

To reserve for future use.

The land has been laid away for a housing project.

lay down

To stop fighting. 

A call for ceasefire was ignored as both sides refused to lay down their arms. 

To formulate rule, principle, etc. 

The document lays down clear guidelines on the use of chemicals. 

To store wine in a cellar for drinking in the future.

It is an underground cellar where they lay down wine.

lay in

To store away a supply of something for future use.

Residents in this remote region usually lay in sufficient food in case they are cut off by adverse weather conditions.

lay into

To carry out a physical or verbal attack against someone.

No one knew why she suddenly laid into him.

lay off

To discharge a worker temporarily or permanently

Mark was laid off after working for the company for twenty years. 

To stop doing or using something

She warned him to lay off excessive alcohol or she would leave him.

lay on

To provide something such as food, entertainment, etc.

They laid on a generous buffet for visitors to their sales promotion.

lay out

To arrange or spread out something.

Miniature models of houses and buildings in a new housing estate were laid out for viewing.  

To spend large amount of money. 

He has no hesitation in laying out hundreds of dollars on a hotel room for a night. 

To knock unconscious.

He was laid out for a few minutes when a ball struck him on the head.

lay over

To make a stopover when going on a journey.

He usually lays over when driving on a long journey.

lead off

To start or begin.

He led off by thanking those present for joining in the discussion.

lead on

To deceive.

How long is he going to let her lead him on before the truth dawns on him?

lead to

To join directly to some place.

We took a wrong turn which led us to an old cemetery. 

To result in something happening

A reward for information led to the capture of the murderer.

lead up to

To give an account of something.

The television documentary recounted the events leading up to the bombing of the airport.

leaf through

To turn pages quickly without serious reading.

Bob leafed through many magazines while waiting at the clinic.

lean against

To rest something against something else so that it is supported.

He leaned a ladder against the gutter to reach the roof.

lean on

To derive support from.

In times of difficulty it would be great to have someone to lean on for support.

lean towards

To have a tendency.

Police believe the group is leaning towards terrorism.

leave aside

To not include something.

Let’s leave that aside as it is not relevant in this discussion.

leave behind

To forget to take something with you.

I have this feeling that I have left something behind, but can’t figure out what it is. 

To have surviving relatives after one’s death.

The deceased left behind a wife and two children. 

To go away from a place without taking something along.

The tourists left behind a trail of litter. 

To go away and cause something such as damage and destruction to remain. 

The storm has passed, leaving behind a trail of devastation. 

To lag or fall behind.

You will get left behind if you don’t work as hard as the others.

leave off

To stop doing something.

Let’s continue from where we left off.

leave out

To not include someone or something.

This is the first time he is left out of the squad for the World Cup.

let down

To disappoint someone. 

He really let us down by not turning up to show us how to do it. 

To withdraw support.

The few of them let the candidate down by switching their support to his opponent.  

let in

To allow something to enter. 

Let’s open the windows and let the air in. 

To allow someone to enter. 

She believed the house was haunted as the bedroom door once opened by itself to let her in. 

To place oneself in a difficult situation.

He’s beginning to realize how much trouble he is letting himself in by borrowing heavily from different sources.

let in on

To trust someone.

She’s prepared to let me in on her secret recipe if I promised not to tell other people about it.

let into

To allow someone to enter.

They only let certain individuals into the building.

let off

To not punish someone.

If you pluck my apples again, I’ll not let you off. 

To make something explode.

Someone tied a string of firecrackers to a dog’s tail and let them off.

let on

To reveal something.

He made her promise not to let on that he did it.

let out

To allow someone or something to leave.

It usually barks when it wants to be let out. 

To utter a sound.

When she heard the news, she let out a sigh of relief. 

To make an item of clothing looser.

She’s letting some of her clothes out as she has put on weight.

let up

To stop or abate.

It looks like the rain is not going to let up, so what shall we do? 

To become less determined.

The rescuers will not let up in their effort to find the missing victims.

level against

To direct accusation at someone.

They have yet to prove the charges relating to embezzlement leveled against him.

level at

To aim something such as criticism, accusation, etc. at someone.

All he can ever do is level criticism at others for their mistakes.

level off

To not fluctuate.

Prices of houses in the area have leveled off after recent hike.

level out

To move horizontally.

After reaching the height of 20,000 feet, the plane leveled out.

level with

To speak frankly.

The candidate’s aides will level with him about what the voters are saying about him.





Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

lie around

To fill a place with an untidy collection of things. 

With all these things lying around in the garage, we just can’t find anything. 


To pass time lying down while not doing anything.

Let’s take a week off and lie around on some secluded beach.

lie about

To leave things not in their proper places.

I shouldn’t have left my keys lying about; now I can’t find them.  

lie behind

To be the real cause although it is not immediately obvious.

No one knew what lay behind their sudden change of decision.

lie back

To change from sitting to lying position.

He lay back in the barber’s chair for a shave.

lie down

To take a sleeping or resting position.

He was told to lie down for the doctor to examine him.

lie in

To remain in bed later than usual. 

I wish I could lie in and did not have to get up so early. 

To reside or be found.

The real cause of the problem lies in the poor construction of the bridge.

lie with

To regard something as being caused by someone else.

The fault lay not with her but with her manager. 

To be decided by.

The choice as to which schools the children should attend lies with their parents.

listen for

To attentively listen for something.

John must listen for her signal before he can respond.

listen in

To watch or listen to a television or radio broadcast.

When the fighting broke out, I listened in to the daily news.

listen in on

To secretly listen to a conversation.

She’s always listening in on her sister’s conversations on the phone.

listen in to

To listen to a broadcast.

They listened in to the news as soon as the fighting broke out.  

listen out for

To listen to something that is anticipated.

Each time there’s an announcement, we listened out for the flight number.  

live in

To reside in the place where one is employed.

He called the police as his butler who lived in suddenly disappeared.

live off

To depend as a source of support.

He regarded living off the welfare as beneath his dignity.

live off (the land)

To depend as a source of food.

Most of the residents in the remote area live off their land.

live on

To continue to exist.

The pain of losing her husband still lives on. 

To continue to exist

The memory of that five-day ordeal at the hands of the hijackers lives on in my mind.

live out

To live the rest of one’s life in a way that one chooses.

He escaped from prison and lived out his life as a free man. 

To not live in the place where one is employed.

The three household servants we employed agreed to live out. 

To spend one’s life in a particular way

His release from prison makes it possible for him to live out a life that he has imagined.  

live through

To experience something dangerous or difficult.

She had lived through the terrifying experience as a hostage held for two months.

live up to

To fulfil what is desired, promised or expected.

She is certainly living up to her reputation as an incorrigible flirt.

live with

To tolerate or endure.

He was often seized by a sudden attack of cramp, which he had learned to live with.

lock away

To lock something in a safe place.

They lost their valuables which were not locked away in a burglary.

lock in

To keep someone in a building or room by locking the door.

She locked her children in and went to a nearby grocery store.

lock onto

By tracking an enemy target after locating it by radar.

Our naval ship locked onto a vessel that had intruded into our waters.

lock out

To not allow someone entry to a place by locking the door.

This is the second time I’ve locked myself out.

lock up

To lock all doors and windows.

As usual, we have to lock up before we leave the office.

To imprison someone

The police recaptured the escaped prisoner and locked him up in the maximum-security prison.

look after

To take care of.

Who is going to look after our dogs, cats and gold fish when we go on vacation? 

To take care of

He left his job to look after his sick wife.

look ahead

To be aware of and prepare for a future event.

We can look ahead to owning a new car if we start saving now.

look around/round:  

To search.

We have been looking around for a toilet. 

To survey goods in a casual way

Let’s look round the antique shops for old coins.

look at

To direct one’s gaze on someone or something.

The officer looked at my passport, and then my smiling face and waved me through.

look back/ (never) looked back

To recall.

Each time I look back at that fateful day, I realize I could have done more to help her. 

To continue to be successful.

After his new business received its first big order, he never looked back.

look back on

To remember a past event.

When I look back on those moments, I realize how unlucky I was.

look down on

To regard someone as of lesser importance.

She looked down on anyone who was a school dropout.

look for

To search for someone or something.

Police are looking for a man with a heavily tattooed face.

look forward to

To anticipate eagerly.

I look forward to seeing my next horror movie.

look in on

To make a short visit.

Every other day we look in on grandpa to see if he needs anything.

look into

To inquire into or investigate.

There was a proposal that management look into the high turnover of staff.

look on/upon

To watch without getting involved 

Only one person helped him, the others just looked on. 

To watch without getting involved 

A large crowd looked on as the two cocks fought bravely. 

To regard in a certain way

We are beginning to look upon him as a close friend.

look out

To search for.

We looked out the attic but couldn’t find the old coffee pot.

look out for

To keep careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.

Look out for pickpocket while you are there. 

To take care.

They promised to look out for each other on the expedition.

look over

To inspect hastily.

I looked the shorts over and decided to buy two pairs.

look through

To look for something among other things.

Police looked through his house and found blood stains.  

To search untidily for something.

We looked through all the drawers, but still couldn’t find the document.

look to

To depend on someone to provide something that is expected, promised or hope for.

They are cheering and looking to the last runner to win the relay.

look up

To improve.

He expects his business to look up in the new year. 

To search for and find a piece of information.

I enjoy enormously looking words up in the dictionary. 

To visit.

I never fail to look her up whenever I am in the vicinity.

look up to

To have considerable respect or admiration for someone.

He is the kind of man most people look up to.