Saddle up : Put a saddle on and prepare an animal to ride.

She SADDLED UP the horse and rode off.


Saddle with : Give someone a task or responsibility that is difficult or hard work.
They SADDLED me WITH preparing the visit.


Sag off : Not go to school or work, or leave early when you shouldn’t.
I was bored so I SAGGED OFF work early and went home.


Sail into : Criticise angrily.
He SAILED INTO me for turning up an hour late.

Sail through : Pass easily, succeed. He SAILED THROUGH the final test.


Sally forth : Leave somewhere safe or comfortable.
The townspeople SALLIED FORTH to fight the invading army.


Sally out : Leave somewhere safe or comfortable.
Though it was pouring with rain, we SALLIED OUT to meet her.


Salt away : Save money.
She’s making a lot of money, but SALTS it AWAY rather than spending it.


Save on : Reduce or avoid consumption to cut costs.

I use Skype to SAVE ON my phone bills.


Save up:  For money for a particular purpose. He’s SAVING UP to buy a car.

Save up : Collect or store something for future use.
I’m SAVING UP the receipts to claim on them all at once.


Saw off : To remove something by cutting it with a saw.
He SAWED OFF the legs of the chair.


Saw up : Cut into pieces with a saw.
We SAWED the plank UP to make the shelves.


Scale back : Make something smaller than originally planned.
They had to SCALE BACK the project because of the costs.


Scale down : Make something smaller than originally planned.
They have had to SCALE DOWN the project because of the costs.


Scale up : Increase, make bigger.
They are SCALING UP the programme because it has been so successful.

Scare away : Frighten someone some much that they go
The cat SCARED the birds AWAY.


Scare off : Make someone so frightened that he or she away.
The vicious Doberman guard-dog SCARED the burglars AWAY.


Scout about : Look in different places for something.
The company is SCOUTING ABOUT for new staff.


Scout around : Look in different places for something.
We SCOUTED AROUND to find the best price.


Scout out : Search for something.
The researcher spent months SCOUTING OUT the answer.


Scout round : Look in different places for something. I SCOUTED ROUND for a bargain.

Scout up : Try to find someone for a task or requirement.
We’d better SCOUT UP a replacement for her.


Scrape along : Manage with little money.
I’ve been SCRAPING ALONG on temporary work since I lost my job.


Scrape by : Just manage to pass something.
I thought I was going to fail, but SCRAPED BY with 51%.


Scrape in : Just get enough to succeed, pass or be accepted.
The government SCRAPED IN with 51% of the votes cast.


Scrape into : Be accepted somewhere, but only just.
She got mediocre grades and just SCRAPED INTO university.


Scrape through : Pass a test but only just.
I did no revision and only just SCRAPED THROUGH the final exams.

Scrape together : Manage to collect enough of something you need, usually money.
I had to search my flat for money to SCRAPE TOGETHER what I needed.

Scrape up : Manage to collect enough of something you need, usually money.
It took me ages to SCRAPE UP the money for the tickets.


Screen off : Separate a part of a room with something like a curtain, screen, etc..
We SCREENED OFF the area where we had the discussion from the rest of the meeting.

Screen out : Exclude.
Applicants without the right qualifications were SCREENED OUT.


Screen out : Block light. The sun cream SCREENS OUT UV light.


Screen out : Stop noticing something.
There are so many notices and signs that I have started SCREENING them OUT.


Screw around : Waste time.
He spent the afternoon SCREWING AROUD and got nothing done.


Screw around : Be sexually promiscuous.
He SCREWED AROUND a lot at university.


Screw over : Treat harshly or cheat. The IRS really SCREWED him OVER.


Screw up :  Do badly or fail.
David SCREWED UP his oral exam but still managed to scrape a pass.


See about : Arrange, consider.
I’ll SEE ABOUT whether we can manage it.


See into : Accompany someone into an office.

Her secretary SAW me INTO her office.


See off : Chase somebody or something away.

A cat came into the back garden but the  dog soon SAW it OFF.


See off : Go to the airport, station, etc., to say goodbye to someone.
I went to the station to SEE them OFF.


See out : Accompany a guest to your front door when they are leaving your house.

Are you sure you’re going? I’ll get your coats and SEE you OUT.

See through : Continue with something to the end.
They had a lot of difficulties in implementing the project, but the team SAW it THROUGH successfully.


See through : Realise someone is lying or being deceitful.
The police quickly SAW THROUGH her disguise and arrested her.

See to : Deal with something.
He SAW TO the arrangements and everything ran smoothly and efficiently.


Sell off : Sell a business or part of it.
They SOLD OFF their research subsidiary.


Sell off  : Sell something cheaply because you need the money or don’t need it.
She SOLD OFF her furniture before she emigrated.


Sell on : Convince someone.
We managed to SELL him ON the expansion plans.


Sell on : Buy something then sell it to someone else.
We buy them wholesale and SELL them ON to the public.


Sell out : Have no more of something left because it has been bought.
The tickets for the Primal Scream concert
at the Brixton Academy SOLD OUT in a couple of hours.


Sell out : Lose all artistic integrity in return for commercial success.
Most bands SELL OUT when they sign to a major record label, and forget all their principles when pursuing chart success.


Sell up : Sell a house or business to move somewhere or do something different.
We want to SELL UP and move to the country.


Send back : Return something.
I SENT my food BACK because it was overcooked.


Send for : Ask someone to come and help.
I had to SEND FOR a plumber because the radiator was leaking.

Send in : Order people into a place to handle a problem.
The police were SENT IN to quell the riot as the protesters had started burning cars and wrecking shops.


Send in : Write to get information.
If you want to enter the competition, you have to SEND IN for an entry form.

Send off : Expel a sports player from a match.
The football striker was SENT OFF for arguing with the referee’s decision.


Send off : Post a letter.
I must SEND this letter OFF today otherwise it won’t get there in time.


Send off for : Order something by post.
I SENT OFF FOR some jeans that I liked in the catalogue.


Send out : Send something to a lot of people.
They SENT OUT a mailshot to all their existing customers.


Send out for : Order takeaway food by phone.
We couldn’t be bothered to cook, so we SENT OUT FOR a pizza.
Send up : Imitate/impersonate for comic effect.
The mischievous schoolboy was standing at the front of the class, SENDING the teacher UP, when the teacher opened the door behind him.


Set about : Start doing something.
We SET ABOUT the cleaning and got it done before lunchtime.


Set about : Attack.
The gang SET ABOUT her as she left the bank.


Set apart : Distinguish, be better than or different from others.
The quality of their work SETS them APART from their rivals.


Set aside : Overturn a court verdict or decision.
The Appeal Court SET ASIDE the guilty verdict because the evidence was unsatisfactory and declared her not guilty.


Set back : Cost.
The car repairs SET me BACK eight hundred pounds.

Set back : Delay.
The accident SET the project BACK several months.


Set forth : State or outline an opinion.
He SET FORTH his ideas in his autobiography.


Set forth : Start a journey.
We SET FORTH at daybreak for the summit of the mountain.


Set in : Change season noticeably.

Winter has SET IN; it’s started snowing.


Set off : Explode a bomb.
Terrorists SET OFF a car bomb in the city centre last night. Fortunately, no-one was hurt or killed.


Set off : Ring an alarm. The smoke SET the fire alarm OFF.

Set off : Start a journey. We SET OFF for work at seven-thirty.

Set off : Counterbalance a debt.
The company SET OFF its overseas debts against it profits at home.


Set off : Provide a visual contrast that looks good.
The dark frame SETS the pale drawing OFF well.


Set off : Cause, trigger events.
The pay freeze SET OFF a wave of strikes.


Set on : Attack. He was SET ON when he left the bar.

Set out : Display, show.
The figures are SET OUT in the council’s annual report.


Set out : Start a journey.
The explorers SET OUT for the South Pole yesterday morning.


Set out : Arrange, organise.
The contract SETS OUT all the details of the agreement.


Set to : Work hard or enthusiastically.
If we all SET TO, we should be able to finish this in a few hours.


Set up : Prepare equipment, software, etc., for use.
The technician SET UP the computer network perfectly.


Set up : Start a company.
They SET UP a dot com company, floated it a couple of years later on the Stock Exchange and made an absolute fortune.

Set up : Provide someone with the money needed to live.
Winning the lottery SET them UP for life.


Set up : Trick, deceive. The police SET them UP.


Set upon : Attack.
They SET UPON her when she was in the car park.


Settle down : Start living a fixed and routine life.
After years of partying and drinking, she finally got married and SETTLED DOWN.


Settle for : Accept whatever is available.
We were upset not to win and had to SETTLE FOR the second prize.


Settle in : Get used to.
It took him a while to SETTLE IN when he moved to Japan.


Settle on : Agree.
They couldn’t agree at first on a name for their daughter, but finally SETTLED ON Alice.


Settle up : Pay a debt.
Let’s SETTLE UP for the dinner the other night.

Sex up : Change information to make it more attractive to the reader or listener.
The government denied that they had SEXED UP the report to make the front page.


Shack up : Live with someone when you are in a relationship..
They SHACKED UP a few months after they started going out.


Shack up : Live somewhere temporarily.
We had to SHACK UP with friends while our house was being decorated.


Shade in : Make a part of a picture darker. She SHADED IN the area under the tree.
Shake down : Search.
The police SHOOK the house DOWN looking for drugs.


Shake down : Extort or cheat money from someone.
He SHOOK the guy DOWN with some story about needing the money for an operation.


Shake off : Get rid of an illness.
It took me ages to SHAKE OFF the cough.

Shake out : Shake clothes, cloths, etc to remove dirt or creases.
He took the tablecloth outside and SHOOK it OUT after dinner.


Shake up : Upset or shock.
The news of her death really SHOOK me UP.

Shake up : Make major changes to improve or save a company, organisation, etc.
The management are SHAKING things UP and getting rid of a lot of workers.

Shake up : Mix things in a container by shaking hard.
Pour the ingredients into a container and SHAKE them UP.


Shape up : Develop in a positive way.
Things are SHAPING UP at workeverything’s going well again.


Shape up : Improve to reach an acceptable standard.
If they don’t start SHAPING UP, they’re going to lose their jobs.


Shave off : Shave completely.
He has SHAVED OFF his moustache and looks much younger.


Shave off : Reduce by a small amount. He SHAVED a few thousand OFF the budget for the year.


Shell out : Spend money on something, especially when you think it’s too expensive.
I had to SHELL OUT a hundred pounds on the dinner.


Ship off : Send someone away, often because of a problem.
He was causing a lot of trouble, so they SHIPPED him OFF to another branch


Ship out : Send goods to a place.
We SHIPPED the order OUT two days ago.


Ship out : Leave a place.
If you’ve finished your work, I’m ready to SHIP OUT.


Shoot away : Leave somewhere quickly.
He SHOT AWAY as soon as the bell rang for the end of the lesson.


Shoot back : Return quickly.
I’m SHOOTING BACK home to pick up some things I forgot to bring with me.


Shoot for : Have as a goal. I’m SHOOTING FOR nothing less than the presidency.


Shoot off : Leave promptly and quickly.
I’ll have to SHOOT OFF as soon as the lesson finishes, otherwise I’ll miss my train.
Shoot out  : Go out for a short time.
I’m SHOOTING OUT to the shops for a paper.


Shoot up : Increase quickly.
The share prices of internet companies have been SHOOTING UP lately.


Shoot up  : Take illicit drugs intravenously..
The heroin-user would SHOOT UP in shop doorways.


Shoot up : Damage with gun-shots. The gangsters SHOT UP the pub.


Shoot up : Increase quickly, grow.
Johnny has SHOT UP since I last saw him


Shop around :  Look around for the best price, quality, etc..
If you SHOP AROUND, you can find some real bargains for air tickets.


Short out : Short circuit.
The battery SHORTED OUT when it got wet.
Shout down : Make so much noise to stop someone
being heard.
His efforts to raise the issue were SHOUTED DOWN.


Shout out : Say something loudly, often to attract someone’s attention.
She SHOUTED OUT my name.


Show around : Take someone to a place to show them certain parts.
The estate agent SHOWED us AROUND the house but we didn’t like it much.


Show in : Take someone into an office or other room.
The secretary SHOWED me IN to speak to the manager.


Show off : Behave in a way so as to attract attention.
The children were SHOWING OFF and irritated me.


Show off : Display something you are proud of.
He wanted to SHOW OFF his new sound system.


Show off : Make the qualities of another thing more apparent.
The shirt really SHOWED OFF his new tie.


Show out  : Take someone to out of a room or building.
Her secretary SHOWED me OUT after the interview.

Show over : Take someone around a site.
He SHOWED us OVER the scene of the accident


Show round :  Take someone to a place to show them certain parts.
The guide SHOWED them ROUND the historic part of the city.


Show through : When a feeling can be seen despite attempts to conceal it.
His anger SHOWED THROUGH despite his smile.


Show up : Attend something or arrive somewhere. Very few SHOWED UP at the meeting.


Show up : Become clear or apparent.
The downturn in sales  in the company’s accounts.


Show up : Make someone feel embarrassed or ashamed.
He SHOWED us UP when he arrived drunk and started arguing.


Shrug off : Disregard something, not consider it important or harmful.
He SHRUGGED OFF the criticism and carried on the same way.


Shut away : Imprison or remove someone’s freedom.
Many people have been SHUT AWAY in psychiatric hospitals for disagreeing with the government.


Shut down : Close a business, shop, etc..
The shop SHUT DOWN when the out-oftown supermarket opened.


Shut down : Turn a computer off.
You should close all programs before you SHUT a computer DOWN.


Shut in  : Prevent someone from leaving.
I SHUT the cat IN until it was time to go to the vet.


Shut off : Close, prevent access.
They SHUT the water OFF while they did the repairs.

Shut out : Exclude.
You have to SHUT your feelings OUT to deal with it.


Shut out : Not allow a player or team to score. The Dodgers SHUT OUT the Giants 3-0.


Shut out of : Exclude someone from an activity, etc.
He’s been SHUT OUT OF the discussions.


Shut up : Stop talking or making noise.
He told us to SHUT UP and start working.


Shut up : Close for a period of time.
They SHUT the shop UP for a fortnight while they were on holiday.


Shut yourself away  : Withdraw from company.
She’s SHUT herself AWAY to revise for her exams.


Shy away from : Avoid doing something because you lack confidence.
Many learners SHY AWAY FROM using phrasal verbs.


Side with : Support someone.
The lecturer SIDED WITH her students and got sacked for her pains.


Sidle up to : Approach someone discreetly.
He SIDLED UP TO me and whispered his name.


Sift through : Examine a lot of things carefully.
We had to SIFT THROUGH thousands of files before we found what we were looking for.


Sign away : Give away legal or property rights.
He SIGNED AWAY his rights to compensation when he signed the contract.


Sign for : Write a signature on behalf on someone.
My boss was out for the day, so I SIGNED her letters FOR her.


Sign in : Register in a hotel. We SIGNED IN and went straight to bed.

Sign in : Open a computer program that requires a name and password.
I SIGNED IN and started chatting online.


Sign in : Write your name when entering a place.
You have to SIGN IN before you can enter the club.


Sign into : Open a particular computer program that requires a name and password.
I SIGN INTO MSN Messenger automatically when I boot up.


Sign off : End a message.
I’ll SIGN OFF now, but will write again next week.


Sign off : Close a claim for unemployment benefit.

I SIGNED OFF when I got my new job.


Sign off : Stop doing something to leave.
I’m SIGNING OFF now and going home- I’m shattered.


Sign off : Give someone a letter to be away from work.
My doctor SIGNED me OFF for a month  with back problems.


Sign off on  : Give official approval.
The director SIGNED OFF ON the plans to increase sales.


Sign on : Open a claim for unemployment benefit.

I had to SIGN ON when I lost my job.


Sign on : Agree to participate.
I’ve SIGNED ON to help at the village
Sign on : Start broadcasting.

He SIGNS ON the same way every show.


Sign on : Employ. We’ve SIGNED ON two new teachers.
Sign on with : Sign a document joining or agreeing to something.
He’s SIGNED ON WITH Manchester United for the next three years.


Sign out : Close a computer program that requires a
name and password.
I SIGNED OUT and then shut the computer down.


Sign out : Sign something to show you have borrowed something.
Could you SIGN those books OUT, please?


Sign out of : Close a particular computer program that requires a name and password.
I SIGNED OUT OF MSN Messenger and shut the computer down.


Sign up : Give your name to do something. I’ve SIGNED UP as a volunteer.

Sign up : Subscribe. I SIGNED UP for their newsletter.


Sign with : Make a contract with.
She’s SIGNED WITH EMI for the next few years.


Simmer down : Become calmer, make less noise.
He told them to SIMMER DOWN because they were disturbing the class next door.


Sing along : To sing when a piece of music is being played or performed by someone else..
I SANG ALONG when they played it on the radio.

Sing out : Reply loudly. When you hear your name, SING OUT!


Sing out : Sing loudly. Everyone SANG OUT during the chorus.

Sing up : Sing louder. We can’t hear you- SING UP.


Single out : Select or choose one from a group. Many people applied for the job but we will SINGLE OUT the best one.

Sink in : Slowly come to be understood.
The truth finally SANK IN about her death when it was broadcast on TV.


Sit about : Sit and do nothing, especially when you should be working.
We spent the afternoon SITTING ABOUT chatting instead of doing any work.
Sit around : Sit idly, doing nothing.
They just SAT AROUND while the others did all the work.

Sit back : Wait for something to happen without making any effort.
We SAT BACK and waited for them to make the first mistake.


Sit back :  Relax in a chair. I SAT BACK and enjoyed the show.

Sit by : Not try to stop something.
I can’t SIT BY while they are punished wrongly.


Sit down : Help someone to sit. The nurse SAT me DOWN in a chair.

Sit for : Pose for an artist or photographer.
The Queen SAT FOR another official portrait.


Sit for : Look after children while their parents are out.
She SITS FOR her neighbors when they go out.


Sit in : Occupy a building to protest about
The students SAT IN the Library as a protest against the increase in tuition fees.


Sit in for : Take on someone’s responsibilities while they are absent.
Her deputy’s SITTING IN FOR her while she’s away.


Sit in on : Attend as an observer.
She SAT IN ON the meeting and took notes but said nothing.


Sit on : Be on a committee.
She’s SAT ON the finance committee from the beginning.


Sit on : To handle somebody firmly who behaves impertinently, conceitedly.
If his girlfriend finds out, she’ll get mad and SIT ON him.


Sit on : Hold information back or keep it secret.
The government have been SITTING ON the report because it was so critical.


Sit out : Not take part.
I had to SIT the game OUT because I was ill.


Sit over : Eat or drink slowly.
WE SAT OVER dinner discussing the plans.


Sit through : Stay till the end of something dull.
I was bored and wanted to leave halfway through, but we SAT THROUGH the film.


Sit with : Reconcile different positions.
It’s hard to see how their new plan SITS WITH the promises they made.


Size up : Assess a situation or person carefully..
The doorstaff SIZED UP everyone entering the club.


Size up : Make something bigger or produce bigger products.
Soft drinks manufacturers have SIZED UP their products in recent years.


Skin up : Make a cannabis joint. She SKINNED UP a fat spliff.

Skin up : Make a cannabis joint. Who’s going to SKIN UP?

Skive off : Avoid doing work or other duty. I pretended I was ill and SKIVED OFF on Monday.

Slack off : Reduce one’s effort, perform with less enthusiasm and energy.

Students usually begin the term well, then SLACK OFF near the end of the

Slacken off : Become less busy or intense.
Work SLACKENS OFF during the holiday period.

Slag off : Criticise heavily.
The concert was terrible and all the papers SLAGGED the band OFF.


Slant toward : Favour one viewpoint, bias.
That travel magazine is totally SLANTED TOWARD the ultra-rich.


Sleep in : Sleep longer than usual. Let’s SLEEP IN tomorrow morning- we won’t have another chance for weeks.


Sleep off : Sleep in order to recover from excess alcohol, drugs, etc..
She went to bed TO SLEEP OFF the effects of the tequila.


Sleep on : Think about something.
My boss said she’d have to SLEEP ON it when I asked her for a raise.


Sleep over : Spend the night at someone else’s house.
The au pair made tea for the friends who were SLEEPING OVER.


Sleep through : Not wake up.
I SLEPT THROUGH the storm even though the wind blew some slates off the roof.

Slice off : Cut, remove an amount or part of something.
They SLICE 10% OFF the original price.


Slice up : Cut completely into pieces or slices.
I SLICED the cake UP and handed it round to the people there.


Slip away : Lose an opportunity or the chance of winning, succeeding, etc.
Their hopes of getting back into the game


SLIPPED AWAY : after the second goal.

Slip away : Pass quickly (time).
The year has SLIPPED AWAY and it is hard to believe it’s over.

Slip by : Pass quickly (time). The years SLIP BY as you get older.

Slip by : Lose an opportunity or the chance of winning, succeeding, etc.
He didn’t follow the offer up and let it SLIP BY.
Slip down : Be enjoyable to drink or eat.
The cold beer SLIPPED DOWN a treat after the walk.


Slip in : Try to include something discreetly when speaking.
He SLIPPED IN a mention of his exam results to remind us how well he did.


Slip into : Put clothes on quickly.
I got out of my suit and SLIPPED INTO my pyjamas.

Slip into : Acquire bad habits or fall into a bad or negative state or condition.
The economy SLIPPED INTO recession and shows no signs of recovery.


Slip off : Leave a place discreetly.
It was very boring so we SLIPPED OFF before it finished.

Slip off : Remove clothes.
I SLIPPED my shoes OFF when I entered.


Slip off to : Go somewhere discreetly. We SLIPPED OFF TO the pub.

Slip on : Put clothes on quickly.
I SLIPPED my coat ON and rushed outside.

Slip out : Leave discreetly.
The party was really dull so we SLIPPED OUT and went to the pub instead.

Slip up : Make an error.
The waitress SLIPPED UP and didn’t bring us what we had ordered.

Slob about : Be lazy, do nothing.
I SLOBBED ABOUT all day as I couldn’t be bothered to do any work.

Slob around : Be lazy, do nothing.
I spent the day SLOBBING AROUND at home.


Slope off : Leave somewhere without letting others know.
The lecture sounded really boring, so I SLOPED OFF and went to the pub.

Slough off : Get rid of, dispose.
The government is increasing its powers but is SLOUGHING OFF responsibility for its failures.


Slough off : Lose or shed outer layers of skin.

Snakes SLOUGH OFF their old skin.


Slough off : Ignore or trivialize an injury or insult.
He SLOUGHED OFF the pain and continued running.


Slow down : Reduce speed.
The car SLOWED DOWN when they saw the police.

Slow down : Become less active.
It is important to slow down, rest, and eat sensibly.

Slow up : Slow the progress of something.
The negotiations were SLOWED UP by the arguments.

Slug it out : Fight or argue.
They SLUGGED IT OUT for hours but never came to an agreement.

Smack of : Appear to have a negative quality.
The government’s decision SMACKS OF hypocrisy.

Smash down : Demolish or break something down.
The police SMASHED the door DOWN to get into the house.

Smash in : Break something by hitting it repeatedly. He SMASHED the windscreen IN.

Smash up : Destroy, break into many pieces.
The burglars SMASHED UP the office as there was no money to steal.

Smoke out : Force someone out of a place they’re hiding in.
The police SMOKED the gang OUT and arrested them.

Snaffle up : Consume, take, buy something other people may want.
They SNAFFLED UP all the food before we got there.

Snap off : Break a piece off something.
He SNAPPED OFF a bit of chocolate from the bar and gave it to me..


Snap out of : Control negative emotions.
I was feeling depressed and knew I had to SNAP OUT OF it.

Snap to it: Do something quickly.
He had taken ages so I told him to SNAP TO IT and get it finished.


Snap up : Get, acquire or buy something quickly.
Collectors SNAPPED UP every copy the day it was released.

Snarl up  : Entangle.
My line was all SNARLED UP after I caught that last fish.

Sneak out : Depart furtively.
Although the thieves tried to SNEAK OUT after dark, we were ready for them.

Sneak up on : Approach someone furtively.
Dave tried to SNEAK UP ON the guard, but was seen anyway.

Sniff around : Look around to see how good something is or to try to find something better.
I SNIFFED AROUND to see if I could find a better deal.


Sniff at :  Disapprove or be scornful.
A job opportunity like that is not to be SNIFFED AT.

Sniff out : Find something by smell (usually for dogs).
Customs use dogs to SNIFF OUT illegal drugs being smuggled in.


Sniff out : Find out information, especially when people don’t want anyone to know.
Our rivals are trying to SNIFF OUT our plans for expansion.

Snitch on : Divulge secrets, inform authorities about someone.
Reggie was caught after someone SNITCHED ON him to the teacher.


Snuff out : Extinguish a small flame by covering it.
I SNUFFED OUT the candles before I went to bed.


Snuff out : Kill. He got SNUFFED OUT in a gang war.


Snuff out : End something suddenly.
I messed up the first question, which SNUFFED OUT my chances of getting a good grade.

Sober up : Stop showing the effects of alcohol or drugs.
Keith SOBERED UP a bit when we left the pub and walked home.


Soften up : Weaken.
The bombardment SOFTENED UP their defenses; I think we can move in

Soften up : Do things to please someone in the hope that they will do what you want.
I paid for everything to SOFTEN them UP before they made the decision.

Soldier on : Continue even when things get difficult.
Life got hard for my dog when he went blind, but he just SOLDIERED ON and never complained.


Sort out : Resolve a problem.
Has the firm SORTED OUT its tax problems yet?


Sound off : To express your opinions forcefully.
He SOUNDED OFF about the quality of the food.


Sound out : Check what someone thinks about an issue, idea, etc..
You should SOUND her OUT to get her opinion before you go ahead with the plan.


Spaff away : Waste (money, time, resources, etc).
The council is SPAFFING AWAY our taxes on bonuses and consultants.


Spark off : Cause something, usually unpleasant, to happen.
The riot was SPARKED OFF by the police raid on the club.


Spark up : Light a cigarette or joint.
They SPARKED UP in a no smoking area.


Speak out : Talk openly and freely.
People are afraid to SPEAK OUT in oppressive political regimes.


Speak up : Talk more loudly.
They couldn’t hear the speaker and asked him to SPEAK UP a bit.


Spell out : Explain something in great detail.
He won’t understand you unless you SPELL everything OUT for him.

Spell out : Write or say the individual letters that make up a word.
I had to SPELL my surname OUT to him as he didn’t know how to spell it.


Spew out : Expel, throw out.
The volcano is SPEWING OUT lava and hot gases.


Spew up : Vomit. He SPEWED UP when he was drunk.

Spill out : When large numbers of people leave a place at the same time.
The crowd SPILLED OUT onto the streets after the match had ended.


Spill out : Come or flow out of a box, container, etc.
The container was cracked and the chemicals SPILLED OUT.

Spill out : Express or display emotions openly. I let my frustration SPILL OUT.

Spill over : When something bad has a wider impact on other people or situations.
The protests and demonstrations have SPILLED OVER into neighbouring states.


Spill over : Flow over the edge or top of a container.
I forgot to turn the tap off and the water SPILLED OVER.


Spin off : Produce an unexpected additional benefit.
The research SPUN OFF a number of new products as well as solving the problem.


Spin off : Form a separate company from part of an existing one.
They SPUN OFF the retail division last year.


Spin off : Create a TV show using characters from a popular show.
They SPUN it OFF from the main show, but it didn’t really attract many viewers.


Spin out : Lose control (vehicle). The car hit the water and SPUN OUT.

Spin out : Make something last as long as possible.
I SPUN the work OUT to make as much money from the job as I could.


Spirit away : Remove someone secretly from a place.
They SPIRITED her AWAY before the police arrived.


Spirit off : Remove someone secretly from a place.
They SPIRITED him OFF before any trouble started.


Spit it out : An informal way of telling someone to say something they are unwilling to say.
Hurry up, SPIT IT OUT! I can’t wait all day for the truth.


Spit out : Say something angrily.
He SPAT her name OUT when he saw her arrive.

Splash down : Land in the sea (space capsules).
Apollo 13 SPLASHED DOWN after a harrowing flight.

Splash out : Spend a lot of money on something that is not essential.
We went to an expensive restaurant and SPLASHED OUT to celebrate

Splash out on : Spend a lot of money on something.

I SPLASHED OUT ON a new camera.


Split up : Divide into groups.
The teacher SPLIT the class UP into groups of four.


Split up : Finish a relationship.
They are always SPLITTING UP and then getting back together again.


Spoil for :  Really want something.
He’s been SPOILING FOR an argument all day.


Sponge down : Clean something with a sponge.
I’ll SPONGE it DOWN before putting it away.
Sponge off : Accept free food and support without any shame or qualms.
Let’s go to New York, we can always SPONGE OFF my brother there.

Sponge on : Accept or get money without doing any work.
A lot of people are SPONGING ON the state by claiming benefits they’re not entitled to.


Spring back : Return to original position after being bent, forced or when pressure is removed.
The lock SPRINGS BACK when the key is turned.


Spring for : Pay for, often generously.
She is going to SPRING FOR all their medical bills.


Spring from : Appear suddenly and unexpectedly.
He SPRANG FROM the bushes when I walked past.


Spring from : Be the cause of something.
His anger SPRINGS FROM his feelings of insecurity.

Spring on : Surprise someone.
They SPRUNG a birthday party ON me at work.


Spring up : Appear suddenly.
Charity shops are SPRINGING UP in the recession.


Spruce up : To smarten, make something neat and tidy.
We SPRUCED the flat UP before we put it on the market.


Spur on : Encourage someone to continue.
The thought of the bonus SPURRED her ON to complete the work on time.


Square away :  Finish or sort something out.
There are few things I have to SQUARE AWAY before I can leave.


Square off : Confront someone or prepare to fight them.
The two drunks SQUARED OFF and the barman had to intervene before a fight broke out.


Square off against : Confront someone or prepare to fight them.
They SQUARED OFF AGAINST the police when they arrived.


Square up : Pay back a debt.
Can I SQUARE UP with you for last night?


Square up : Confront someone or prepare to fight them.
The companies are SQUARING UP for a fight.

Square up to : Accept responsibility or guilt.
They need to SQUARE UP TO what they did wrong if we are to make any progress.


Square with : Match, conform to.
What he said doesn’t SQUARE WITH what the others said.


Square with : Check with someone that something is OK.
I’ll have to CHECK that WITH my boss before I can confirm it.


Squeeze up : Get more people into a space than normal or comfortable.
Four of us had to SQUEEZE UP in the back of the car.


Stack up : Put things in a pile. I STACKED UP the boxes.


Stack up : Accumulate.
Work STACKED UP while I was away on holiday.


Stack up : Increase, accumulate something.
I’ve been STACKING UP a lot of air miles.


Stack up : Be logical, make sense.

The budget figures don’t STACK UP.


Stack up : Build up the number of planes waiting to Planes were STACKING UP while the land at an airport. airport was closed after the bomb threat.


Stack up against : Be as good as something.
The new model doesn’t STACK UP AGAINST the old one.


Staff up : Employ someone for something specific.
They haven’t STAFFED the project UP yet.


Stamp out : Get rid of something.
The government has started a campaign to STAMP OUT drugs in schools.


Stand about : Spend time in a place waiting or doing nothing or very little.
We STOOD ABOUT drinking coffee before the lecture.


Stand around : Spend time in a place waiting or doing nothing or very little.
We STOOD AROUND for an hour waiting for them to turn up.


Stand aside : Leave a position so that someone else can take it.
The prime minister should STAND ASIDE and let a new leader head the party.


Stand back : Keep a distance from something.
We STOOD BACK while he lit the firework.


Stand back : Try to understand something by taking a different perspective.
We need to STAND BACK and look at the problem differently.


Stand by : Support someone.
He STOOD BY her throughout the trial as he believed her to be innocent.


Stand by : Be ready and waiting for something to happen.
The emergency services were STANDING BY waiting for the plane to land.


Stand down : Leave a job or position so that someone else can take it.
The minister announced her intention to STAND DOWN at the next election.


Stand down : Finish being asked questions in a court.
The judge told the witness to STAND DOWN after the questioning.


Stand for : Accept or tolerate behaviour.
I’m not going to STAND FOR their rudeness any longer.


Stand for : The words represented by certain initials.
‘WHAT do the letters BBC STAND FOR?
‘ ‘British Broadcasting Corporation.’


Stand in for : Substitute someone temporarily.
She had to STAND IN FOR the editor while he was on holiday.


Stand out : Be extraordinary and different.
She STOOD OUT from the crowd in selection and was offered the job.


Stand up : Move from a sitting or lying down to a vertical position.
Everybody STOOD UP when the judge entered the court.


Stand up : Fail to keep an appointment.
He agreed to meet me last night, but he STOOD me UP.


Stand up for : Defend, support.
He’s the kind of manager who will always STAND UP FOR his staff.


Stand up to : Keep your principles when challenged by an authority.
She STOOD UP TO the police when they tried to corrupt her.


Stand up to : Resist damage.
This coat will STAND UP TO the roughest weather conditions.


Stare down : Look at someone until they cannot look at you.
He was angry but I STARED him DOWN and he left without saying much.

Start off : Make something start.
They STARTED OFF the meeting with an attack on our performance.


Start off : Begin life, a career or existence.
She STARTED OFF as a receptionist and ended up as the CEO.


Start off : Begin a journey.
We STARTED OFF early because we knew the journey would take all day.


Start Off : Make someone laugh. I was trying to be serious, but their comment STARTED me OFF.

Start off on : Help someone to start a piece or work or activity.
I STARTED her OFF ON the project then left her to finish it.

Start on : Begin to use or consume.
It’s time to START ON that bottle of wine.


Start on : Criticise angrily.
The manager was furious and STARTED ON her staff for not trying hard enough.
Start on at : Criticise or nag. He STARTED ON AT me for being late.

Start out : Begin a journey.

We STARTED OUT early in the morning.


Start out as : Begin life, existence or a career.
What had STARTED OUT AS a protest quickly turned into a full-blown rebellion.


Start out to : Intend, plan.
I didn’t START OUT TO become the boss- it just happened.


Start over : Begin something again.
It’s a mess- I think we should just START OVER.


Start up : Open a business.
The firm STARTED UP on a shoestring budget.


Start up : Begin, especially sounds.
There was a pause, then the noise STARTED UP again.


Start up : When an engine starts working.

The car STARTED UP first time.


Start up : Make an engine work. I STARTED the car UP.

Start up : Sit or stand upright because someone has surprised you.
He STARTED UP when I entered the room and tried to hide what he was doing.


Stash away : Store or hide something in a safe place.
I STASHED some money AWAY behind some books.


Stave in : Push or break something inwards.
The police STOVE the front door IN and arrested them.


Stave off : Delay, prevent something from happening.
The medicine STAVED OFF the worst of the disease.


Stay away : Not come.
He said he didn’t like them coming and wanted them to STAY AWAY.

Stay away from : Avoid, not come.
He told them to STAY AWAY FROM him.


Stay in : Not go out.
I’m going to STAY IN and chill tonight; I can’t be bothered to go out.


Stay on : Remain longer than anticipated.
She STAYED ON after she graduated to do a Master’s degree.


Stay out : Not go home. We STAYED OUT all night.


Stay over : Stay overnight. I STAYED OVER at a friend’s house last night because of the train strike.


Stay up : Not go to bed.
The children STAYED UP until way past their bedtime.


Steal away : Leave a place quietly or secretly.
We didn’t want to wake them, so we STOLE AWAY in the middle of the night.

Steal out : Leave in a stealthy or quiet manner.
Not wanting to attract attention, she STOLE OUT early.


Steal over : Be gradually overcome by an emotion or feeling.
A feeling of pride STOLE OVER me as I watched.


Steal up : Approach quietly or secretly.
The lights were off and everything was quiet so we STOLE UP as quietly as we could.

Steal up on : Approach a place or someone quietly or secretly.
We STOLE UP ON them so that they couldn’t sound the alarm.

Steer clear of : Avoid.
He’s trying to STEER CLEAR OF his lecturer because he hasn’t finished his assignment yet.


Stem from : Originate, be caused by.
The trouble STEMS FROM their refusal to discuss the matter.


Step aside : Leave a job or position so that someone else can take over.
Everyone thinks that the prime minister should STEP ASIDE so that someone new can lead the party into the election.

Step back : Look at something from a different perspective.
We should STEP BACK and try to see how our customers will view the scheme.


Step down : Leave a job or position so that someone can take over.
The CEO STEPPED DOWN after the share price dropped.


Step down : Reduce.
Production is being STEPPED DOWN because demand has dropped.


Step forward : Offer help.
When I had the accident, a lot of people STEPPED FORWARD to help me.


Step in : Get involved by interrupting something.
I had to STEP IN when they started fighting.


Step on it : An imperative used to tell someone to go faster, especially when driving.
I told the taxi driver to STEP ON IT as I was late for the meeting.


Step out : Leave a place for a very short time. They’ve STEPPED OUT for a cigarette.

Step to : Confront.
Don’t STEP TO those guys; they’ll kill you.


Step to : Chat, talk to. He tried to STEP TO her in the bar.


Step up : Increase.
The police have STEPPED UP the pressure on beggars working the Underground.


Stick around : Stay in a place for some time.
He’s late, but I’ll STICK AROUND for another few minutes before I leave.


Stick at : Continue doing something despite difficulties.
She found the course very tough but she STUCK AT it and did well in the end.


Stick by : Support someone when they are having difficulties.
No one STUCK BY him when the scandal became public.

Stick by : Support a plan, opinion or decision. They are STICKING BY their claims.


Stick down : Write something quickly or without thinking about it.
I couldn’t answer the test so I just STUCK anything DOWN that I could remember.


Stick down : Join surfaces with glue. I STUCK the label DOWN.

Stick it to : Criticise someone.
She STUCK IT TO me for turning up half an hour late.


Stick it to : Treat someone badly or unfairly.
My boss always STICKS IT TO me when she’s in a bad mood.


Stick out : Be easily noticed.
He’s so much better than the others that he STICKS OUT.


Stick out : Extend part of your body. He STUCK his tongue OUT at me.


Stick out : Continue doing something difficult or unpleasant.
I STUCK it OUT even though I hated every minute of it.


Stick out for : Demand a salary raise.
We’re STICKING OUT FOR a 5% increase.


Stick to : Not change.
The Prime Minister decided to STICK TO the original plan despite the criticism in the media.

Stick to : Restrict or limit and not change.
I STUCK TO the path and didn’t take the shortcut.


Stick together : Support each other.
If we don’t STICK TOGETHER, things will be much worse for all of us- we need some unity.


Stick up : Stand on end.
The static electricity made my hair STICK UP.


Stick up : Rob using weapons.
They STUCK the bank UP and stole tens of thousands.


Stick up for : Support or defend.
You have to STICK UP FOR yourself here, because no one will back you.


Stick with : Not change something.
We’d better STICK WITH our original idea.


Stick with : Stay near someone.
He told the children to STICK WITH him in the station.


Stick with : Not be forgotten.
The details have STUCK WITH me ever since.


Stick with : Continue with something difficult or unpleasant.
I STUCK WITH the job though I found it very stressful.


Stiffen up : Become rigid. My back STIFFENS UP in cold weather.
Stiffen up : Make something rigid.
They used starch to STIFFEN the collars UP.


Stir up : Make trouble for someone else.
He STIRRED things UP by complaining to senior management about his line manager.


Stitch up  : Sew something so that it is closed. I STITCHED UP the hole in my sleeve.
Stitch up : Finalise a deal. We get the contract STITCHED UP this week.


Stitch up : Cheat someone or make them look guilty when they aren’t.
The police STITCHED them UP because they couldn’t find any evidence against them.


Stomp off : Leave somewhere angrily.
He lost his temper and STOMPED OFF home.


Stomp on : Treat badly or defeat. They STOMP ON their competitors.

Stop around :  Visit someone for a short time..
Why don’t you STOP AROUND my place on your way back?


Stop back : Return somewhere.
I’ll STOP BACK this afternoon when you’re free.


Stop behind : Stay somewhere when other people leave.
I STOPPED BEHIND at the end of the lecture to ask a couple of questions.


Stop by : Visit somewhere briefly or quickly.
I must STOP BY the supermarket and pick up some things for dinner.


Stop in : Stay at home.
I was feeling tired so I STOPPED IN last night.

Stop in : Visit briefly. I STOPPED IN at my aunt’s after work.

Stop off : Break a journey.
We STOPPED OFF for lunch about halfway there, then carried on driving.

Stop out : Be out late, especially when you are expected home.
Her parents were annoyed because she STOPPED OUT all night.


Stop over : Stay somewhere when on a journey.
I STOPPED OVER in Bangkok for a couple of days on my way back from Tokyo.


Stop up : Stay up late.
I STOPPED UP last night watching the film.


Stop up : Fill or block something. I STOPPED UP the bottle with a cork.

Storm off : Leave a place angrily. They had a row and he STORMED OFF.

Storm out : Leave a place angrily.
He lost his temper and STORMED OUT OF the bar. (If you don’t mention the
place, you can just say ‘He stormed out’)


Stow away : Hide in a vehicle to travel without people knowing.
She STOWED AWAY on the plane but was caught when it landed.


Stow away : Store something in a safe place.
We STOWED it AWAY in the garage to keep it dry.


Straighten out : Make something straight.
I’m always having to STRAIGHTEN OUT the wires connected to my computer.


Straighten out :  Deal with a problem.
I had to STRAIGHTEN OUT things after the mess they had made.


Straighten out : Make clear and resolve.
There are a few issues I’d like to STRAIGHTEN OUT first.


Straighten out : Improve someone’s behaviour.
Starting work has STRAIGHTENED him OUT and calmed him down.


Straighten Up: Stand straight. She STRAIGHTENED UP when her boss
up walked in.

Straighten up : Tidy.
I STRAIGHTENED UP the room before they arrived.


Strike back : Attack, take action against someone who has hurt you.
At first, he ignored them, but when things got very serious, he STRUCK BACK.


Strike down : Kill.
A hitman STRUCK him DOWN as he entered the building.(This verb is often used in the passive- He was struck down as he entered the building.)


Strike down : Make someone ill.
I was STRUCK DOWN with food poisoning.(This verb is mostly used in the

Strike down : Disallow a law, decision, etc.
The Appeal Court STRUCK DOWN the lower court’s ruling.


Strike off : Remove someone’s professional licence to practise.
The Medical Council STRUCK him OFF for malpractice.


Strike on : Have a good idea.
I STRUCK ON the solution when I was out with my dog.


Strike out : Start doing something new and different.
After doing the same job for five years, I decided to STRIKE OUT and change careers.


Strike out : Try to hit someone. When he pushed me, I STRUCK OUT.

Strike out : Start going towards a place.
We got up early and STRUCK OUT for our final destination.


Strike out : Cross writing out.
As they arrived, I STRUCK their names OUT on the list I had.


Strike out : Fail.
I tried to get the government to support us but I STRUCK OUT.


Strike up : Start (conversation, relationship).
He STRUCK UP a conversation with me in the bar.


Strike up : Start performing music.
The band STRUCK UP and everyone turned to listen.


Strike upon : Have a good idea.
It took us a long time to STRIKE UPON a solution.


String along : Deceive someone for a long time.
They kept saying they were interested, but they were just STRINGING me ALONG

String along : Accompany someone because you haven’t got anything better to do.
Is it alright if I STRING ALONG with you tonight?

String out : Make something last as long as possible.
There was half an hour to go, so I STRUNG the questions OUT as long as I could.


String together : Put words together into a coherent text.
I was so nervous in the interview that I could hardly STRING a sentence


String up : Hang somebody.
The rebels STRUNG the soldiers UP after they captured them.

Stub out : Extinguish a cigarette.
He STUBBED his cigarette OUT in a saucer because he couldn’t find an ashtray.


Stuff up :  Make a mistake, do badly, spoil. I STUFFED the exam UP.

Stumble across : Find something accidentally.
You’ll never guess what I STUMBLED ACROSS when I was packing my stuff.


Stumble upon : Find something accidentally.
I STUMBLED UPON these photos when I was clearing my room up.


Stump up : Pay for something.
He didn’t want to pay me back, but I got him to STUMP UP in the end.


Suck in : Become involved in something unpleasant.
Everyone around her was taking drugs and she got SUCKED IN.


Suck into : Become involved in something unpleasant.
The country got SUCKED INTO the war.


Suck up : Try to ingratiate yourself.
He is always SUCKING UP to try to get the boss’s approval.


Suck up to : Ingratiate yourself with someone. He’s always SUCKING UP TO our boss.


Suit up : Get dressed or put on a uniform for an activity or task.
They SUITED UP and went to the interview


Sum up : Summarise.
At the end of the lecture, she SUMMED UP the main points again.


Summon up : Get the energy or courage to do something.
Andrea couldn’t SUMMON UP the enthusiasm to apply for the position.


Suss out : Come to understand.
It took her ages to SUSS OUT what was going on.


Swan about : Move in a dramatic or affected manner. He SWANNED ABOUT at the party.

Swan around : Move in a dramatic or affected manner.
She SWANNED AROUND trying to impress people.


Swan in : Enter in a dramatic or attention-seeking manner.
He SWANNED IN surrounded by photographers.


Swan off : Leave somewhere in a defiant or pompous
He didn’t like the way the spoke to him so he SWANNED OFF angrily.


Swear by : Have great confidence in.
I SWEAR BY their products- they’re the best on the market.


Swear down : Promise that something is true.
He SWORE DOWN that he hadn’t done it.


Sweep through : Pass easily, succeed. She SWEPT THROUGH the exams.


Sweep through : Move quickly through.
The disease SWEPT THROUGH the population.


Swing around : Change your opinion quickly.
They SWUNG AROUND to our idea after reading the press reports.


Swing around : Turn around quickly.
He SWUNG ROUND to see what had made the noise.


Swing at :  Try to hit. He SWUNG AT me but missed.
Swing by : Visit a person or place on your way I will SWING BY this afternoon and pick somewhere you up.


Swing round : Change your opinion quickly.
They were against it at first then SWUNG ROUND and supported it.


Swing round : Turn around quickly. She SWUNG ROUND and greeted them.

Syphon off  : Take business, support or votes from someone.
The candidate SYPHONED OFF a lot of  votes because of his anti-war stance.

Syphon off :  Divert money illegally.
The minister had been SYPHONING OFF funds from his department for years.

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