A phrasal verb is a verb followed by a preposition or an adverb; the combination creates a meaning different from the original verb.

back away

  • Move backwards, in fear or dislike
    “When he saw the dog, he backed away.”

back down

  • Withdraw; concede defeat
    “Local authorities backed down on their plans to demolish the cinema.”

back down

  • Stop defending your opinion
    “Jenny never backs down. She loves debating and usually wins.”

back into

  • Reverse a vehicle into a space
    “Tom backed his car into a parking space.”

back into

  • Hit something when reversing a vehicle
    “Lisa backed into the fire hydrant that she couldn’t see in the rear view mirror.”

back off

  • Retreat; abandon an intention; become less aggressive
    “The thugs backed off when they saw the police.”

back onto

  • Reverse a vehicle onto something
    “Jack backed the van onto the gravel path.”

back onto

  • Overlook something from the back.
    “They have a beautiful house that backs onto the beach.”

back out

  • 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.”

back up

  • Give support or encouragement
    “If I tell the boss we’ve got too much work, will you back me up? “

back up

  • Make a copy of (file, document, program…) for security purposes.
    “It is recommended to back up all files for safety.”

bail out

  • Pay money to secure someone’s release from jail.
    “When he was arrested his family refused to bail him out.

bail out

  • Rescue from financial difficulties.
    “The government bailed out the bank.”

band together

  • Unite in a group.
    “Consumers banded together to protest against the measures.”

bank on

  • Base your hopes on something/someone.
    “Don’t forget the date. I’m banking on your help.”

bargain for

  • Expect; be prepared for.
    “The interview was more difficult than he had bargained for.

bear out

  • Confirm.
    “The other witnesses will bear out my testimony.”

bear with

  • Be patient.
    “Please bear with me please while I finish my explanation.”

beef up

  • Improve or make more substantial.
    “He beefed up his presentation with diagrams and statistics.”

black out

  • Faint; lose consciousness.
    “When he fell off the horse, he blacked out.

block off

  • Separate using a barrier.
    “The area was blocked off during the demonstration.”

block up

  • Fill a passage or opening
    “All the windows have been blocked up in the old building.”

blow up

  • Be destroyed by an explosion.
    “The car blew up but luckily there was nobody in it.”

bog down

  • 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.”

boot up

  • Start a computer by loading an operating system or program.
    “Just give me a few minutes to boot up the computer.”

break away

  • 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.”

break down

  • 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.”

break free

  • Detach from a physical hold.
    “He broke free from his attacker’s grasp.”

break in/into

  • 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.”

break off

  • 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.”

break out

  • 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.”

break through

  • Force a way through something.
    “The car broke through the barrier set up by the police.”

break up

  • 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.”

break with

  • Discontinue something or do something in a different way.
    “He broke with tradition and invented new methods.”

bring about

  • Cause something to happen.
    “The arrival of electricity in rural areas brought about a huge change.”

bring off

  • Succeed in doing something difficult.
    “You pretended to be a journalist and he believed you? I never thought you’d bring it off!

bring up

  • 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.”

bump into

  • Meet by accident or unexpectedly.
    “Rafael bumped into his English teacher at the supermarket.”

burn out

  • 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.”