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Phrasal Verb Dictionary: S

Phrasal verbs are a common English verb form that consist of a verb followed by a p-word that functions as a particle. To learn more about some of the most common phrasal verbs in the English language, click on a letter in the following menu to browse the Phrasal Verb Dictionary in alphabetical order.

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Note: When a word entry includes a p-word enclosed in parentheses, the phrasal verb is a phrasal-prepositional verb.

Phrasal Verb Definition Category Example
saddle up put a saddle on, get ready separable transitive He saddled the horse up.
sail through succeed easily inseparable transitive The little boy sailed through the exam.
sand down rub with sandpaper, make smooth separable transitive He sanded the board down.
save on reduce, spend less on inseparable transitive She saves on groceries with coupons.
save up accumulate separable transitive She saved her tickets up for a big prize.
scale back reduce separable transitive Please scale your excitement back.
scale down minimize separable transitive Can you scale the party down?
scare away frighten off separable transitive He scared the wolverine away.
scare off frighten away separable transitive The witch scared the children off.
scare up manage to get enough separable transitive I think I can scare some supplies up.
scarf down consume a lot separable transitive She scarfed the burgers down.
scoop out remove the insides separable transitive He scooped the pumpkin innards out.
scoop up lift, collect separable transitive I scooped my daughter up from the pool.
scoot over move separable transitive Just scoot my purse over.
scope out inspect carefully separable transitive The spy scoped the apartment out.
score out draw a line through separable transitive The editor scored the typo out.
scout out search for, investigate separable transitive The bride scouted a local for the reception out.
scout up search for separable transitive I scouted some snacks up for the kids.
scrape by manage despite difficulties intransitive The family barely scrapes by.
scrape through manage despite difficulties inseparable transitive The student scraped through the difficult novel.
scrape together manage or accomplish despite difficulties separable transitive I barely scraped the welcome party together.
scream out shout separable transitive The crossing guard scream the warning out.
screen out stop from entering separable transitive She screens the bad apples out.
screw around treat badly separable transitive I wish my boss would stop screwing me around.
screw around have sex with many partners intransitive He screws around.
screw down confirm, affix separable transitive She finally screwed the dates for the party down.
screw over deceive, trick, con separable transitive The bank screwed me over.
screw up spoil, mess up, make a mistake separable transitive The loud noises screwed my concentration up.
scribble down write quickly separable transitive She scribbled some notes down.
scrounge around look in multiple places intransitive Let me scrounge around a bit.
scrounge up seek or find despite difficulties separable transitive He scrounge some snacks up.
scrub out clean the inside thoroughly separable transitive She scrubbed the oven out.
scrub up wash, clean intransitive The doctor scrubbed up before the surgery.
scrunch up crush, make smaller separable transitive He scrunched the blanket up.
seal off enclose separable transitive The police sealed the crime scene off.
seal up close separable transitive The cook sealed the jar up.
search out seek, look for separable transitive The man searched me out.
see about arrange, consider inseparable transitive We will see about taking a vacation next year.
see off say goodbye to separable transitive My aunt saw me off at the bus depot.
see to ensure happens, arrange inseparable transitive He see to the hiring of new employees.
see through finish separable transitive I always see my projects through.
see through know about a deception inseparable transitive He saw through my disguise.
sell off sell all separable transitive She sold all her belongings off.
sell out surrender, give up separable transitive My partner in crime sold me out.
send back return separable transitive I sent the incorrect order back.
separate off divide, separate separable transitive The teacher separated the finished students off.
set about start inseparable transitive She set about her assigned tasks.
set aside save for later separable transitive He set some money aside.
set back hinder, slow down separable transitive The storm set our plans back.
set forth start a journey intransitive The group set forth in the morning.
set off start a journey intransitive The hikers set off last night.
set out start a journey intransitive Some hunters set off yesterday evening.
set to start, begin inseparable transitive She set to her studies.
set up arrange a relationship separable transitive My friend set him up with her sister.
set up falsely incriminate separable transitive His neighbor set him up.
set up arrange separable transitive We set an appointment up to see the fertility doctor.
settle down calm, relax, stabilize separable transitive The mother settled the crying baby down.
settle for accept (often begrudgingly) inseparable transitive He settled for the smaller wage.
settle in acclimatize, get comfortable intransitive The new puppy has already settled in.
settle on make a decision (usually after a long time) inseparable transitive She settled on the blue tulips for her bouquet.
settle up pay debt separable transitive The gambler never settled up his bets.
sew up close, repair, sew separable transitive The doctors sewed the incision up.
shack up live together intransitive The two students shacked up.
shake down threaten separable transitive The criminals shook the man down for money.
shake off get rid off, ignore, leave behind separable transitive She shook the criticism off.
shake out clean by shaking separable transitive He shook the blanket out.
shake up mix up, make big changes separable transitive The new singer shook the music business up.
shape up improve intransitive He needs to shape up or leave.
sharpen up improve separable transitive She sharpened her hunting skills up.
shave off reduce minimally separable transitive He shaved a few pounds off.
shell out give, pay separable transitive I can shell a few bucks out.
ship off get rid of, send separable transitive He shipped the package off yesterday.
ship out get rid of, send separable transitive She shipped the books out in the mail.
shoot down deny, refuse to consider separable transitive My boss shot my proposal down.
shoot down kill, destroy, or injure by shooting separable transitive The enemy shot the helicopter down.
shoot for try to achieve inseparable transitive You should shoot for a loftier goal.
shoot off leave quickly intransitive She shot off after lunch.
shoot up increase separable transitive The storm shot food prices up.
shoot up use intravenous drugs separable transitive He shoots up heroin.
shop around (for) compare prizes, look and compare intransitive She shopped around for a new apartment.
shore up strengthen separable transitive I shored the house up before the hurricane.
show off boast, flaunt separable transitive I showed my new haircut off.
show up make seem inferior separable transitive He showed me up during the contest.
show up arrive intransitive Our lost package finally showed up.
shrivel up become dried out and smaller intransitive The fruit shriveled up in the heat.
shrug off not worry about separable transitive She shrugged the bad advice off.
shut off stop separable transitive The gas company shut our heat off.
shut up quiet separable transitive A snack shut the whining boy up.
sidle up (to) approach slowly and nervously intransitive The shy man sidled up to the pretty lady.
sift out separate, sieve separable transitive The librarian sifted the popular titles out.
sift through examine, look through inseparable transitive She sifted through the recipes.
sign in log in (usually to a computer program), announce an arrival intransitive He signed in at the start of his shift.
sign off log out (usually from a computer program) separable transitive She signed off the computer.
sign off on agree, assent, give approval inseparable transitive Her boss signed off on her new project.
sign on log in (usually to a computer program) intransitive She signed on when she arrived at the desk.
sign out log off (usually from a computer program), announce a departure intransitive He signed out after his shift.
sign up arrange to take part separable transitive My mom signed me up for dance classes.
simmer down become less angry or excited, calm intransitive The child needs to simmer down.
single out choose one from a large group (usually to praise or criticize) separable transitive The teacher always singles me out during class.
sink in enter, penetrate, permeate intransitive The calamity finally sunk in.
siphon off draw off, empty separable transitive Her charm siphoned votes off her opponent.
sit by fail to act, be idle intransitive You will not sit by while chaos ensues.
size up consider carefully separable transitive The puppy sized up the situation.
skate around avoid discussing inseparable transitive He skated around the subject.
sketch out give a general description separable transitive She sketched the directions out for me.
skim off remove a small amount separable transitive He skimmed some icing off.
skim over read quickly inseparable transitive The students skimmed over the instructions.
skim through read quickly inseparable transitive She skimmed through the essays.
skimp on not buy or have enough inseparable transitive Grandma always skimps on napkins.
skip out leave suddenly intransitive The couple skipped out before dessert.
skip out on leave suddenly and without warning inseparable transitive The man skipped out on his wife and kids.
skirt around avoid discussing inseparable transitive We skirted around the issue.
skive off avoid working intransitive He skives off in the afternoon.
slack off do less, go slower intransitive She slacked off after midterms.
slave away work hard and for a long time intransitive Some students slave away all semester.
sleep around have sex with many partners intransitive She sleeps around.
sleep in sleep later than usual intransitive I sleep in on the weekends.
sleep on consider at a later time inseparable transitive Let me sleep on the idea.
sleep together have sex intransitive The friends slept together last weekend.
sleep with have sex with inseparable transitive He slept with her best friend.
slice off remove a piece separable transitive The doctor sliced the wart off.
slice up cut into pieces separable transitive She sliced the cucumber up.
slick up make more appealing or attractive separable transitive He slicked his apartment up before his date.
slim down lose weight, become thinner, become smaller, minimize separable transitive She slimmed her hips down by eating healthier.
slip away slowly disappear intransitive She saw her dreams slip away.
slip by pass quickly, move or progress easily intransitive Time just slipped by today.
slip in insert separable transitive He slipped the proposal in.
slip into put on inseparable transitive Let me slip into something more comfortable.
slip off remove, take off, leave separable transitive She slipped her shoes off.
slip on put on, get dressed separable transitive He slipped his shoes on.
slip out leave quickly intransitive We slipped out after dinner.
slobber over show a lot of interest in inseparable transitive He slobbered over the hot woman.
slough off remove, get rid of, shed separable transitive The magazine is trying to slough its old image off.
slow down make go a slower speed separable transitive The speed bumps slow traffic down considerably.
slow up make go a slower speed separable transitive My injured teammate slowed me up in the race.
smack of evoke, hint at, conjure up inseparable transitive Your essay smacks of plagiarism.
smarten up revamp, improve, make smarter separable transitive The company smartened their ad campaign up.
smash up damage badly separable transitive The baseball played smashed his knee up.
smell out search for and find separable transitive The teacher smelled the cheater out.
smell up make smelly or stinky separable transitive Your cooking smelled the house up.
smoke out force out, succeed in finding a problem separable transitive She smoked the culprit out of her shed.
smooth away remove, eliminate separable transitive Mom always smoothed my problems away.
smooth down flatten separable transitive She smoothed her frizzy hair down.
smooth out flatten, reduce changes or difficulties separable transitive He smoothed the bad situation out.
smooth over make less serious separable transitive She smoothed the argument over.
snack on eat a small quantity inseparable transitive He snacked on raisins and nuts.
snap out of force to stop a feeling inseparable transitive She cannot snap out of her bad mood.
snap up grab separable transitive He snapped the new phone up.
sniff out look for, discover, find separable transitive She sniffs the best deals out.
snow in get trapped due to snow separable transitive The blizzard snowed us in.
snow under (with) overcome with work intransitive I was snowed under with grading essays.
snuff out stop, kill separable transitive She snuffed the candle out.
snuggle up move into a warm and comfortable position intransitive The kittens snuggled up for the night.
soak up absorb separable transitive A paper towel soaked the spilled grease up.
sober up become sober separable transitive Boot camp sobered her up for good.
soften up make more malleable separable transitive She softened her boss up with cookies.
soldier on continue despite difficulties or unpleasantness intransitive He soldiered on despite his illness.
sort out resolve, deal with separable transitive She sorted her problems out.
speed up increase speed separable transitive Can you speed your husband up?
spell out explain in detail separable transitive Can you spell your plan out again?
spice up make more interesting separable transitive She spiced the party up with some music.
spiel off say or list quickly separable transitive He spieled his accomplishments off.
spiff up make fancier separable transitive He spiffed his wardrobe up for his date.
spill over transfer intransitive Her stress at home spilled over to her job.
spirit away remove quickly separable transitive The morgue spirited the victim away.
spit out get rid of, say quickly separable transitive Spit the gum out and spit out the truth!
spit up vomit a small amount separable transitive The baby spit the milk up.
split off (from) divide intransitive A few members split off from the rest of the group.
spoon out serve separable transitive She spooned out some insults of her own.
spout off (about) talk without knowing or understanding intransitive She spouted off about sports again.
spring back recoil, rebound, recover intransitive She sprang back after the accident.
spring for treat inseparable transitive I sprang for a new pair of shoes.
spring from be caused by, originate from, arise from inseparable transitive The conflict sprang from a minor disagreement.
spring up arise intransitive A major disaster just sprung up.
sprout up appear, happen intransitive A great opportunity has sprouted up.
spruce up make cleaner or more attractive separable transitive She spruced her living room up.
spur on encourage separable transitive He spurred me on.
spurt out gush intransitive Blood spurted out of the wound.
square away finish separable transitive She squared her finances away.
square off prepare to fight intransitive The two chickens squared off.
square up work out, settle up, arrange separable transitive He squared the deal up.
square with settle a disagreement, apologize inseparable transitive Let me square with you.
squeak by manage just barely intransitive She squeaked by in class.
squeak through manage just barely inseparable transitive He squeaked through the exam.
squeal on tell, tattle inseparable transitive My sister squealed on me again.
squirrel away save for later separable transitive I squirreled some money away.
stack up compare intransitive How do the new employees stack up?
stamp out stop separable transitive The teacher stamped all creativity in the classroom out.
stand by wait intransitive Please stand by while the internet reboots.
stand for represent inseparable transitive IRMA stands for Infrequently Requested Materials Area.
stand for tolerate inseparable transitive I will not stand for your rudeness.
stand for support inseparable transitive I stand for equal rights for all.
stand out be very noticeable intransitive She really stands out in a crowd.
stand up not arrive (usually for a date) separable transitive She stood him up again.
stand up for defend inseparable transitive He stands up for the little guy.
stand up to defend against inseparable transitive He stood up to the bully.
stare down glare at menacingly separable transitive The dog stared the cat down.
start over repeat, restart separable transitive The musician started the song over.
start up begin separable transitive I just started a new business up.
stash away save for later separable transitive I stashed some candy away after Halloween.
stave off prevent from happening separable transitive She staved the flu off with clean living.
stay on remain for longer than planned intransitive He stayed on at this job for an extra three weeks.
stay over spend the night intransitive Can you stay over tomorrow?
stay up not go to sleep intransitive He stayed up all night.
steady on continue intransitive She steadied on with her plans.
steal away leave by sneaking away quietly separable transitive He stole me away during the night.
stem from arise from, originate from inseparable transitive Your problems stem from your lack of trying.
stick by support inseparable transitive He sticks by my decision.
stick to preserver, continue inseparable transitive She stuck to her studies.
stick up for defend inseparable transitive She sticks up for her friends.
stir up kindle, awaken, incite separable transitive Seeing her again stirred old feelings up.
stoke up make more exciting separable transitive Thinking about the concert stoked me up.
store away save for later separable transitive I stored some extra food away in the pantry.
straighten out set right, settle, rectify, correct separable transitive She straightened our plans out.
straighten up clean and organize separable transitive I straightened my bedroom up.
stretch out prolong, lengthen separable transitive He can really stretch a dollar out.
string along deceive for a longer period of time separable transitive She strung him along.
string up hang separable transitive She strung the Christmas lights up.
strip off remove separable transitive He stripped the old paint off.
stumble upon find accidentally inseparable transitive I stumbled upon a new recipe.
suit up put on special clothes intransitive Barney suited up.
sum up total, conclude, summarize separable transitive You summed the evening up nicely.
swear off decide to stop using separable transitive She swore carbs off.
sweep out remove (usually by sweeping) separable transitive I swept my closets out.
swell up increase in size intransitive His head swelled up from the compliments.
swing by visit briefly inseparable transitive I can swing by your house later.

 

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