- Move backwards, in fear or dislike
“When he saw the dog, he backed away.”
- Withdraw; concede defeat
“Local authorities backed down on their plans to demolish the cinema.”
- Stop defending your opinion
“Jenny never backs down. She loves debating and usually wins.”
- Reverse a vehicle into a space
“Tom backed his car into a parking space.”
- Hit something when reversing a vehicle
“Lisa backed into the fire hydrant that she couldn’t see in the rear view mirror.”
- Retreat; abandon an intention; become less aggressive
“The thugs backed off when they saw the police.”
- Reverse a vehicle onto something
“Jack backed the van onto the gravel path.”
- Overlook something from the back.
“They have a beautiful house that backs onto the beach.”
- Not keep a promise; decide not to do something agreed on
“You promised to help. Please don’t back out now!”
back out of
- Withdraw from an agreement
“He backed out of the Paris agreement.”
back out of
- Drive out of a place in reverse gear.
“She backed the car out of the garage.”
- Give support or encouragement
“If I tell the boss we’ve got too much work, will you back me up? “
- Make a copy of (file, document, program…) for security purposes.
“It is recommended to back up all files for safety.”
- Pay money to secure someone’s release from jail.
“When he was arrested his family refused to bail him out.“
- Rescue from financial difficulties.
“The government bailed out the bank.”
- Unite in a group.
“Consumers banded together to protest against the measures.”
- Base your hopes on something/someone.
“Don’t forget the date. I’m banking on your help.”
- Expect; be prepared for.
“The interview was more difficult than he had bargained for.“
“The other witnesses will bear out my testimony.”
- Be patient.
“Please bear with me please while I finish my explanation.”
- Improve or make more substantial.
“He beefed up his presentation with diagrams and statistics.”
- Faint; lose consciousness.
“When he fell off the horse, he blacked out.“
- Separate using a barrier.
“The area was blocked off during the demonstration.”
- Fill a passage or opening
“All the windows have been blocked up in the old building.”
- Be destroyed by an explosion.
“The car blew up but luckily there was nobody in it.”
- Get caught up in something and be unable to make progress.
“Try not to get bogged down with/in unimportant details.”
boil down to
- Be reduced to the main reason or the essential part.
“The problem boils down to a lack of money.”
- Start a computer by loading an operating system or program.
“Just give me a few minutes to boot up the computer.”
- Escape from captivity.
“The horses were enclosed in a paddock but a few of them managed to break away.“
break away from
- Leave and become independent.
“He broke away from the organisation and set up his own agency.”
- Go out of order; stop functioning.
“John’s car broke down on the way to the airport.”
- Lose control of one’s emotions.
“The parents broke down when they heard the news.”
break something down
- Divide into smaller or simpler parts.
“The lesson will be easier to learn if you break it down into small sections.”
- Detach from a physical hold.
“He broke free from his attacker’s grasp.”
- Enter by force in order to steal something.
“I saw a man outside the shop trying to break in.
“The burglars broke into the house around midnight.”
break in on
- Interrupt unexpectedly.
“An operator suddenly broke in on our telephone conversation.”
- Stop, discontinue.
“It has been decided to break off diplomatic relations with that country.”
- Stop speaking.
“She broke off in the middle of a sentence.”
- Start suddenly or erupt.
“Rioting broke out as a result of the strike.”
“He was in such a nervous state that sweat started to break out on his forehead.”
break out of
- Escape from captivity by force.
“Three prisoners broke out of the central prison last night.”
- Force a way through something.
“The car broke through the barrier set up by the police.”
- Come to an end (marriage, a relationship …).
“After her marriage broke up, Caroline went to live in London.”
- Separate into small pieces.
“Pablo had to use a fork to break up the soil.”
- Discontinue something or do something in a different way.
“He broke with tradition and invented new methods.”
- Cause something to happen.
“The arrival of electricity in rural areas brought about a huge change.”
- Succeed in doing something difficult.
“You pretended to be a journalist and he believed you? I never thought you’d bring it off!“
- Raise (a child).
“She stopped working for a few years in order to bring up her children.”
- Mention something.
“His friends knew he had lost his job but they decided not to bring up the subject.”
brush up on
- Improve; refresh one’s knowledge of something.
Mary decided to brush up on her Spanish before going to South America.”
- Meet by accident or unexpectedly.
“Rafael bumped into his English teacher at the supermarket.”
- Stop (something) working.
“These electric bulbs seem to burn out more quickly than the old ones.”
“The lawn mower has broken down. I think the motor has burnt out.”
- Become exhausted from too much work or stress.
“Tom will burn himself out if he doesn’t slow down and stop working such long hours..“
butt in (on)
- Interrupt impolitely.
“It’s rude to butt in on a conversation.”