Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

hand around/round

To pass something to all the people present in a group.

Could one of you hand these drinks around, please?

hand back

To return something to the same person who gave it out.

The officer handed back the form to me for filling it wrongly.

hand down

To pass on from older to younger generation.

These fairy stories and legends have been handed down from generation to generation.

To pass something on to a younger member of the family.

Her pearl necklace was handed down from her grandmother.

To publicly announce a judgment.

The sentence handed down by the judge was too lenient.

hand in

To give something to a person who is in a position of authority.

The students handed in their homework without being told to.

hand out

To distribute.

The volunteers helped to hand out parcels of food to victims of the disaster.

hand over

To give up. 

The captives were ordered to hand over their weapons. 

To pass control of someone to someone else 

Members of the crowd caught the pickpocket and handed him over to the police. 

To pass responsibility for something to someone else

The receptionist handed my call over to the person in charge.

hang around

To idle. 

She spends her time hanging around with friends in the park. 

To spend with someone

He hanged around with the wrong people and ended up in prison.

hang back

To be reluctant to do something because of lack of confidence or shyness.

He is often advised not to hang back but to mix freely at school.

hang on

To wait. 

She asked me to hang on while she made a telephone call. 

To hold tightly to something.

The standing passengers hung on tight as the bus went along a narrow, bumpy road. 

To continue in spite of difficulty.

We were exhausted but we realized we had to hang on a bit longer as we were nearing the summit. 

To depend on.

He believes the success of his public speaking hangs on his ability to speak effectively and clearly. 

To pay particular attention to

The cult members hang on every word spoken by their leader as they have great faith in him.

hang on to

To keep something.

Grandpa hangs on to his collection of stamps with the belief that they become more and more valuable as time passes.

hang out

To spend a lot of time with someone at some place.

After school, he hangs out with his classmates in a snooker hall.

hang over

To mull the possibility of something happening.

The thought of her husband’s unfaithfulness never ceases to hang over her.

hang together

To stick or stay together.

They hung together while waiting for the rescue team to find them.

hang up

To abruptly end a telephone conversation. 

She was so angry she hung up before I could explain. 

To replace the telephone receiver

Finally, she hung up after speaking for more than an hour.

happen along

To be, come, or go to a place by chance.

We invited our former lecturer to join us for a drink when he happened along.

happen by

To find a place by chance.

We would have remained lost if we hadn’t happened by a souvenir shop selling street maps.

happen on/upon

To find by chance.

He happened upon the key to his car just as he was about to give up his search.

To come upon.

We were walking and chatting when we happened on a fat wallet on the pavement.

happen to

To have or seem to have disappeared

Whatever happened to those ducks that used to waddle along the river bank?

hold against

To dislike someone for their past wrong or mistake.

It was not totally his fault, so I can’t hold it against him alone.

hold back

To have control over something.

She struggled to hold back her tears.

To block one’s advancement.

He felt his lack of qualifications would hold him back from his well-deserved promotion.

To retain in one’s possession.

The police subjected him to further interrogation as they believed he was holding back some information.

hold down

To keep a job.

Mick seems unable to hold down a job for longer than a month.

To restrain someone.

He wanted to beat up the other guy, and it took the two of us to hold him down.

hold forth

To talk at great length.

For more than an hour, the speaker held forth on the inevitable end of the world.

hold off

To delay doing something.

He always holds off making decisions until the very last moment. 

To have not happened at once 

It was unexpected that, despite the looming dark clouds, the rain held off until after we arrived home. 

To avoid being attacked

They held the invading armies off until reinforcements arrived.

hold on

To wait for a short while.

He asked me to hold on and he will be out in a minute. 

To maintain a firm hold of something

In the tug of war, the participants held on tightly to the rope and pulled it with all their might.

hold on to

To grip firmly to something.

We held tightly on to the rail as the bus sped on. 

To retain possession of

She held on to the national title for the second year running.

hold out

To offer. 

The supermarket held out the chance for customers to win a brand new car. 

To defend or continue to resist.

They could not hold out the fort as reinforcements arrived late. 

To last.

Will the food hold out through the winter? 

To offer the prospect for the future

The financial leaders are not holding out any hope of a quick recovery in the national economy.

hold out for

To accept something less.

The other party is not holding out for a compromise, but instead insisted they are the legal owners of the land. 

To desist from providing information

Why do you hold out on me all the things I need to know?

hold over

To postpone.

The match was held over because of the snowy conditions.

To extend the duration of the showing of a film

The film was unexpectedly held over for a couple of months.

hold to

To manage to achieve a draw and nothing more against an opponent.

The home team held the away team to a 2-2 draw. 

To remain faithful

She held to her religious beliefs despite marrying someone from another religion.

hold together

To remain united or mutually loyal.

The different factions within the party are held together by a charismatic leader.

hold up

To delay.

We arrived late as we were held up by traffic jam. 

To rob someone using the threat of violence

The gang held up a money changer at gunpoint before fleeing with huge amounts of different currencies.

hold up as

To use as a model.

The Governor was held up as a model of integrity and decency.