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Phrasal Verbs Beginning with B

Here is a list of phrasal verbs beginning with the letter B.

Back down

To back down is to stop defending your opinion.

  • Don’t argue with her. She will never back down.
  • At last he backed down and conceded that he was indeed wrong.
Back out

To back out is to escape or withdraw from a promise, deal etc.

  • John had promised to lend me 1000 dollars but at the last moment he backed out.
  • He will never back out of his promises.
Back up (separable)

To back something up is to support it.

  • Back up your arguments with real-life examples.

Back up can also mean ‘move backwards’. When used with this meaning it is inseparable.

  • Seeing the dog the boy backed up.
Bawl out (separable)

This is used only in informal English. To bawl somebody out is to criticize them.

  • The teacher bawled him out for coming late.
Bear down on

To bear down on somebody is to take strong actions against them.

  • The government must bear down on all anti-social elements.
Bear up

To bear up is to be brave against misfortune etc.

  • I never thought that he would bear up so well in such a tough situation.
Bear up under (= withstand)
  • I can’t believe that he bore up under such extreme pressure.
Bear with

To bear with somebody is to be patient with them.

  • Please bear with us while we clean the rooms.
Blow over

When something blows over it passes without creating a problem.

  • The scandal blew over in a couple of weeks.
Blow up (separable)

To blow something up is to destroy it using explosives.

  • The terrorists blew the bridge up.

Blow up can also mean ‘become very angry’.

  • She blew up when she heard the news.
Break down

When a machine breaks down it stops working properly.

  • The car broke down on the way to work.

Break down can also mean ‘become mentally ill’ or ‘cry’.

  • She broke down when she heard the news.
  • She broke down after her only son died.
Break in

To break in is to interrupt.

  • My mother-in-law always breaks in while we discuss personal matters.

Break in can also mean ‘enter a place unlawfully’.

  • The burglars broke in at 2 am.
Break in on

When somebody breaks in on a conversation, they interrupt it.

  • The supervisor broke in on our conversation and told us to go back to our seats.
Break into

To break into a place is to enter unlawfully.

  • Thieves broke into the house when the family was away on a vacation.
Break off (separable)

To break something off is to end it.

  • Her parents were shocked when she broke off her engagement to her cousin.
Break out

To break out is to appear violently.

  • Riots broke out in many parts of the city.
Break up (separable)

To break something up is to break it into pieces.

  • She broke the chocolate up into equal pieces and gave them to the kids.

Break up can also mean ‘disperse a crowd’.

  • The police broke up the mob before things went out of control.
Break up

To break up is to end a relationship.

  • She has broken up with her boyfriend.
Bring about

To bring something about is to cause it to happen.

  • Internet has brought about great changes in the way people communicate with one another.
Bring along

To bring somebody along is to bring them with you.

  • Can I bring my kids along?
Bring around (separable)

To bring somebody around is to change their mind.

  • She didn’t want to go abroad, but eventually they managed to bring her around.
Bring off

To bring off is to succeed in an attempt.

Bring out (separable)

To bring something out is to highlight it.

  • She was wearing a blue gown which brought out her fair complexion.
Bring over (separable)

To bring somebody over is to bring them to your house.

  • Can I bring a friend over for dinner?
  • She brings over her friends late at night.
Bring up (separable)

To bring something up is to mention it.

  • You shouldn’t have brought up the fact that she was a divorcee.
Bring up (separable)

To bring a child up is to raise him / her.

  • She was brought up by her aunt.
Brush off (separable)

To brush something off is to ignore it.

  • She brushed off my concerns about her safety.
Burn up

To be burned up is to be consumed by fire.

  • The documents were burned up in the fire.
Buy out

To buy out is to buy the shares of a company.

  • Alpha Inc. was bought out by a rival firm.
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