Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

pass around/round

To give something to everyone in a group.

Please take a form and pass the others around.


To offer something to everyone in a group.

Please pass these drinks round.

pass away

To die.

Grandpa passed away peacefully in his sleep.

pass by

To move past.

The small child watched open-mouthed the parade passing by. 

To move past someone and not be recognized.

I passed by her without being noticed by her. 

To go past someone or something

We often sat on the river bank and looked at the barges passing by.

pass down

To hand something down from older people to younger ones.

The centuries-old tradition still passes down from generation to generation.

pass for

To regard something as true.

His mother-in-law in mini-skirt could easily pass for a teenager.

pass off

To falsely represent oneself as someone else.

There is no reason for me to pass myself off as anyone else. 

To happen in a satisfactory way.

The protest match against alleged vote rigging passed off peacefully. 

To deliberately cause someone to believe something that is not true or genuine.

He was under investigation for passing off fakes as authentic documents.

pass on

To infect someone.

You passed your cough on to me. See, I’m coughing now. 

To let someone else bear the cost of something.

The restaurant owners threatened to pass the proposed increase in the service tax on to the consumers. 

To die. 

It’s exactly a year that he passed on. 

To pass something from one person to another

He was not present, so no one passed on the message about the urgent meeting to him.

pass out

To briefly lose consciousness.

During a heavy drinking session, he suddenly passed out. 

To give out something.

He passed out the application forms to those who put up their hands. 

To successfully compete a training, especially in the armed forces.

She was the only woman who passed out from one of the top police colleges in the country.

pass over

To be ignored or left out.

Jane threatened to resign when she was passed over for promotion. 

To avoid mentioning something

Certain facts were passed over, thus making the report misleading.

pass up

To reject.

His parents thought he should accept it as the opportunity to work overseas is too good to pass up. 

To refuse to accept.

He passed up a chance for promotion out of fear of new responsibilities.

pay back

To revenge oneself.

I’ll pay him back one of these days for what he did to me. 

To repay someone.

Can I now pay you back half of the amount I owe you?

pay for

To be punished.

Let’s hope he will pay dearly for his evil deeds.

pay in

To put money into an account.

I will pay this cheque in for you.

pay into

To put money into an account.

I will pay this cheque into your account.

pay off

To bribe someone to keep quiet, especially about something that is illegal or dishonest.

He wanted to pay me off substantially to keep quiet about something illegal he had done. 

To produce a good outcome.

Our persistence really paid off as we got this thing done successfully. 

To make full settlement of one’s debt.

We paid off the washing machine in four installments.

pay out

To give out money. 

A huge sum of money was paid out to the jackpot winner. 

To spend

I don’t know how much I have to pay out to fix the leak in the roof.

pay up

To make a payment although not readily or eagerly.

I was told to pay up by Monday or had my car repossessed.

pick at

To eat in small amounts, displaying no desire to satisfy one’s hunger or need for food.

The patient picked at her breakfast.

pick off

To shoot someone or something one by one from a distance.

We picked the moving toy ducks off one by one at the fun fair, and won some prizes.

pick on

To repeatedly choose the same person for unfair treatment.

I don’t think she likes me; she’s always picking on me.

pick out

To easily recognize someone in a group.

Anyone of us can pick out Rose’s father from the crowd because he is exceptionally tall.

pick over

To examine item by item, choosing the ones one wants.

We picked over the apples before buying them.  

pick up

To lift.

We picked the broken pieces up off the floor.

To collect.

As we walked along the beach, we picked up empty sea shelves.

To take on passengers or goods.

Finally, the bus arrived to pick up commuters.  

To get or bring back something from somewhere.

The mechanic called to ask me to pick up my car.

To buy.

The father picked up some items of food from a grocer’s shop.

To buy something cheaply.

She picked up some discounted dresses in the sale.

To learn through practice.

We could pick up French more quickly when we lived in France.

To detain someone.

He was picked up as a suspect from his home by the police.

To accept to pay, especially a restaurant bill for food and drinks.

The kind uncle offered to pick up the tab.

To catch an illness.

He picked up an unknown disease while on an overseas holiday.  

To increase or improve.

We waited until the wind picked up before setting sail. 

To improve.

Sales are expected to pick up at the end of the year.

To detect.

One of the hounds had picked up the scent of a fox.

pitch in

To join in taking on a task or an activity.

Bob pitched in to help complete the project before the deadline. 

To provide help or support.

Some employers pitched in with financial help to get the training scheme going.

pitch into

To make physical or verbal attack against someone.

He would pitch into anyone who commented that he was uncooperative.

pitch up

To turn up.

By the time he pitched up, the evening was drawing to a close.

plan on

To decide on something and arrange it in advance.

She plans on allowing only invited guests at her party. 

To prepare for a future event.

They had not planned on having such bad weather.

plan out

To make thorough preparation.

We have already planned out the schedule for a week’s outing to the seaside resort.

play along

To act so as to make it appear that you are cooperating when in fact you are not.

He played along with her suggestion for the time being.

play around

To make small movements with something in the hand/s.

He was playing around with a pencil when he talked to me. 

To enter into a casual sexual relationship with a woman

She heard a rumour that her boss was playing around with his secretary.

play at

To play the role of someone.

Some of the children love to play at cowboys and Red Indians.

play back

To replay something that has been recorded.

She played back the tape-recorder to listen to her voice with a view to improving it.

play down

To minimize the true importance of something.

The accused’s lawyers played down the seriousness of his offence.

play off

To play in a tie, the winner of which goes to the next stage of the competition.

The two teams are playing off for a place in the Premier League. 

To give your support to a person or group to oppose another in a dispute so as to gain an advantage or benefit for yourself.

The children are playing off one parent against the other.

play on

To exploit someone’s way of thinking or feeling in order to benefit oneself.

He’s always playing on his friends’ generosity to get free treats.

play up

To give undue prominence to something.

A pro-government newspaper played up the internal squabble of the main opposition party.

play up to

To please someone for their support.

Many politicians are expert at playing up to the voters to gain their votes.

play with

To move something about with no useful purpose.

He unconsciously played with his pen while talking to us.

point out

To inform someone of something.

The leader pointed out the things we should and shouldn’t do while jungle trekking. 

To make someone notice a person.

He pointed his teacher out to his parents.

point to

To reach a particular conclusion based on fact which is likely to be true.

Available evidence points to pilot error as the cause of the crash.

point up

To draw attention to something.

The report pointed up the definite weaknesses in the security arrangements.

polish off

To consume food or drink quickly. 

David could easily polish off seven different types of fruit at one sitting. 

To defeat.

As expected, the underdog was polished off in straight sets. 

To kill.

His family believed he was polished off by a hit man engaged by his ex-wife.

polish up

To improve on a skill.

We intend to polish up our English in order to know her better. 

To make smooth and shiny by rubbing

You need to polish up your boots.