Prepositions - Quynh Huong Center for Foreign Language Translation & Education

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3 Sept 2014


1. AT
1. Used to say where sth/sb is or where sth happens: at the corner of the street we changed at Crewe. They arrived late at the airport. At the roundabout take the third exit. I’ll be at home all morning. She’s at Tom’s (= at Tom’s house). I met her at the hospital. How many people were there at the concert?
2. Used to say where sb works or studies: He’s been at the bank longer than anyone else. She’s at Yale (= Yale University).
3. Used to say when sth happens: We left at 2 o’clock. At the end of the week we woke at dawn. I didn’t know at the time of writing (= when I wrote). At night you can see the stars. (BrE) What are you doing at the weekend?
4. Used to state the age at which sb does sth: She got married at 25. He left school at the age of 16.
5. In the direction of or towards sb/sth: What are you looking at? He pointed a gun at her. Somebody threw paint at the prime minister.
6. Used after a verb to show that sb tries to do sth, or partly does sth, but does not succeed or complete it: He clutched wildly at the rope as he fell. She nibbled at a sandwich (= ate only small bits of it).
7. Used to state the distance away from sth: I held it at arm’s length. Can you read a car number plate at fifty metres?
8. Used to show the situation sb/sth is in, what sb is doing or what is happening: The country is now at war. I felt at a disadvantage. I think Mr Harris is at lunch.
9. Used to show a rate, speed, etc.: He was driving at 70 mph. The noise came at two-minute intervals (= once every two minutes).
10. At sb’s / sth ’s best / worst, etc. used to say that sb/sth is as good, bad, etc. as they can be: This was Hen man at his best. The garden is at its most beautiful in June.
11. Used with adjectives to show how well sb does sth: I’m good at French. She’s hopeless at managing people.
12. Used with adjectives to show the cause of sth: They were impatient at the delay. She was delighted at the result.
13. (Formal) in response to sth: They attended the dinner at the chairman’s invitation.
14. (NAmE) used when giving a telephone number: You can reach me at 637-2335, extension 354.
At that: used when you are giving an extra piece of Information: He managed to buy a car after all—and a nice one at that.
Be at it again: to be doing sth, especially sth bad: Look at all that graffiti—those kids have been at it again.
Where it’s at: (Informal) a place or an activity that is very popular or fashionable: Judging by the crowds waiting to get in, this seems to be where it’s at.

1. A little more or less than; a little before or after. SYN approximately: It costs about $10. They waited (for) about an hour. He arrived (at) about ten.
2. Nearly: very close to: I’m just about ready. This is about the best we can hope for.
3. (Especially BrE) in many directions, here and there: The children were rushing about in the garden.
4. (Especially BrE) in no particular order, in various places: Her books were lying about on the floor.
5. (Especially BrE) doing nothing in particular: People were standing about in the road.
6. (Especially BrE) able to be found in a place: There was nobody about. There’s a lot of flu about.
7. (Technical or formal) facing the opposite direction: He brought the ship about.
That’s about all / that’s about it: used to say that you have finished telling sb about sth and there is nothing to add: ‘Anything else?’ ‘No, that’s about it for now.’
1. On the subject of sb/sth; in connection with sb/sth: a book about flowers Tell me all about it. What’s she so angry about? There’s something strange about him. I don’t know what you’re on about (= talking about). There’s nothing you can do about it now.
2. Used to describe the purpose or an aspect of sth: Movies are all about making money these days. What was all that about? (= What was the reason for what has just happened?)
3. Busy with sth/ doing sth: Everywhere people were going about their daily business. And while you’re about it … (= while you’re doing that)
4. (Especially BrE) in many directions in a place, here and there: We wandered about the town for an hour or so. He looked about the room.
5. (Especially BrE) in various parts of a place, here and there: The papers were strewn about the room.
6. (Especially BrE) next to a place or person, in the area mentioned: She’s somewhere about the office.
7. (Literary) surrounding sb/sth: She wore a shawl about her shoulders.
How / what about …?
1. Used when asking for Information about sb/sth: How about Ruth? Have you heard from her? I’m having fish. What about you?
2. Used to make a suggestion: How about going for a walk? What about a break?
Be about to do sth: to be close to doing sth, to be going to do sth very soon: I was just about to ask you the same thing.
Not be about to do sth: to not be willing to do sth, to not intend to do sth: I’ve never done any cooking and I’m not about to start now.
Ways of saying approximately: The flight takes approximately three hours. The tickets cost about £20 each. The repairs will cost $200, give or take a few dollars. How much will it cost, more or less? We are expecting thirty or so people to come. She must be 25 or thereabouts. Profits have fallen by roughly 15%. You can expect to earn round about £40,000 a year. The price is somewhere around $800. She earns somewhere in the region of £25,000. All these words and phrases are used in both speaking and writing; about is the most common and approximately the most formal.

3. BY
1. Near sb/sth; at the side of sb/sth; beside sb/sth: a house by the river. The telephone is by the window. Come and sit by me.
2. Used, usually after a passive verb, to show who or what does, creates or causes sth: He was knocked down by a bus. A play by Ibises. Who’s that book by? I was frightened by the noise.
3. Used for showing how or in what way sth is done: The house is heated by gas. May I pay by cheque? I will contact you by letter. To travel by boat / bus / car / plane/to travel by air / land / sea. Switch it on by pressing this button.
4. Used before particular nouns without the, to say that sth happens as a result of sth: They met by chance. I did it by mistake. The coroner’s verdict was ‘death by misadventure’.
5. Not later than the time mentioned, before: Can you finish the work by five o’clock? I’ll have it done by tomorrow. By this time next week we’ll be in New York. He ought to have arrived by now / by this time. By the time (that) this letter reaches you I will have left the country.
6. Past sb/sth: He walked by me without speaking.
7. During sth, in a particular situation: to travel by day / night. We had to work by candlelight.
8. Used to show the degree or amount of sth: The bullet missed him by two inches. House prices went up by 10%. It would be better by far (= much better) to …
9. From what sth shows or says; according to sth: By my watch it is two o’clock. I could tell by the look on her face that something terrible had happened. By law, you are a child until you are 18.
10. Used to show the part of sb/sth that sb touches, holds, etc.: I took him by the hand. She seized her by the hair. Pick it up by the handle!
11. Used with “the” to show the period or quantity used for buying, selling or measuring sth: We rented the car by the day. They’re paid by the hour. We only sell it by the metre.
12. Used to state the rate at which sth happens: They’re improving day by day. We’ll do it bit by bit. It was getting worse by the minute (= very fast). The children came in two by two (= in groups of two).
13. Used for giving more Information about where sb comes from, what sb does, etc.: He’s German by birth. They’re both doctors by profession.
14. Used when swearing to mean ‘in the name of’: I swear by Almighty God …
15. Used to show the measurements of sth: The room measures fifteen feet by twenty feet.
16. Used when multiplying/ dividing: 6 multiplied by 2 equals 12. 6 divided by 2 equals 3.
By the by / bye = by the way at way
1. Past: Just drive by. Don’t stop. He hurried by without speaking to me. Excuse me! I can’t get by. Time goes by so quickly.
2. Used to say that sth is saved so that it can be used in the future: I’ve put some money by for college fees.
3. In order to visit sb for a short time: I’ll come by this evening and pick up the books.
By and by: (old-fashioned) before long; soon: By and by she met an old man with a beard.

4. IN
1. At a point within an area or a space: a country in Africa. The kids were playing in the street. It’s in that drawer. I read about it in the paper.
2. Within the shape of sth: surrounded by sth: She was lying in bed. Sitting in an armchair Leave the key in the lock. Soak it in cold water.
3. Into sth: He dipped his brush in the paint. She got in her car and drove off.
4. Forming the whole or part of sth/sb: contained within sth/sb: There are 31 days in May. All the paintings in the collection I recognize his father in him (= his character is similar to his father’s).
5. During a period of time: in 2005 in the 18th century in spring / summer / autumn / winter/ in the fall/ in March/ in the morning / afternoon / evening: I’m getting forgetful in my old age.
6. After a particular length of time: to return in a few minutes / hours / days / months. It will be ready in a week’s time (= one week from now). She learnt to drive in three weeks (= after three weeks she could drive).
7. (Used in negative sentences or after first, last, etc.) for a particular period of time: I haven’t seen him in years. It’s the first letter I’ve had in ten days.
8. Wearing sth: dressed in their best clothes, the man in the hat to be in uniform. She was all in black.
9. Used to describe physical surroundings: We went out in the rain. He was sitting alone in the darkness.
10. Used to show a state or condition: I’m in love! The house is in good repair. I must put my affairs in order. A man in his thirties. The daffodils were in full bloom.
11. Involved in sth; taking part in sth: to act in a play
12. Used to show sb’s job or profession: He is in the army. She’s in computers. In business
13. Used to show the form, shape, arrangement or quantity of sth: a novel in three parts. Roll it up in a ball. They sat in rows. People flocked in their thousands to see her.
14. Used to show the language, material, etc. used: Say it in English. She wrote in pencil. Put it in writing. I paid in cash. He spoke in a loud voice.
15. Concerning sth: She was not lacking in courage. A country rich in minerals three metres in length
16. While doing sth: while sth is happening: In attempting to save the child from drowning, she nearly lost her own life. In all the commotion I forgot to tell him the news.
17. Used to introduce the name of a person who has a particular quality: We’re losing a first-rate editor in Jen.
18. Used to show a rate or relative amount: a gradient of one in five. A tax rate of 22 pence in the pound
1. Contained within an object, an area or a substance: We were locked in. I can’t drink coffee with milk in.
2. Into an object, an area or a substance: She opened the door and went in. The kids were playing by the river and one of them fell in.
3. (Of people) at home or at a place of work: Nobody was in when we called. OPP out.
4. (Of trains, buses, etc.) at the place where people can get on or off, for example the station: The bus is due in (= it should arrive) at six.
5. (Of letters, etc.) received: Applications must be in by April 30.
6. (Of the tide) at or towards its highest point on land: Is the tide coming in or going out?
7. Elected: Several new councillors got in at the last election.
8. (In cricket, baseball, etc.) if a team or team member is in, they are batting.
9. (In tennis, etc.) if the ball is in, it has landed inside the line: Her serve was just in.
Be in at sth: to be present when sth happens: They were in at the start.
Be in for sth: (Informal) to be going to experience sth soon, especially sth unpleasant: He’s in for a shock! I’m afraid we’re in for a storm.
Be/ get in on sth: (Informal) to be/ become involved in sth; to share or know about sth: I’d like to be in on the plan. Is she in on the secret?
Be (well) in with sb: (Informal) to be (very) friendly with sb, and likely to get an advantage from the friendship.
In and out (of sth): going regularly to a place: He was in and out of jail for most of his life.
[Usually before noun] (Informal) popular and fashionable: Purple is the in colour this spring. Exotic pets are the in thing right now. Short skirts are in again.
An in to sth = a way into sth at way noun.
Have an in with sb: (Especially NAmE) to have Influence with sb.
The ins and outs (of sth): all the details, especially the complicated or difficult ones: the ins and outs of the problem He quickly learned the ins and outs of the job.
In that: (formal) for the reason that: because: She was fortunate in that she had friends to help her.
For the special uses of “in” in phrasal verbs, look at the entries for the verbs. For example fill in (for sb) is in the phrasal verb section at fill.

5. OF
1. Belonging to sb: relating to sb: a friend of mines the love of a mother for her child the role of the teacher. Can’t you throw out that old bike of Tommy’s? The paintings of Monet
When you are talking about everything someone has painted, written, etc. use of. When you are referring to one or more examples of somebody’s work, use by: a painting by Monet
2. Belonging to sth; being part of sth; relating to sth: the lid of the box. The director of the company. A member of the team. The result of the debate
3. Coming from a particular background or living in a place: a woman of Italian descent. The people of Wales
4. Concerning or showing sb/sth: a story of passion. A photo of my dog a map of India
5. Used to say what sb/sth is, consists of, or contains: the city of Dublin. The issue of housing. A crowd of people. A glass of milk
6. Used with measurements and expressions of time, age, etc.: 2 kilos of potatoes an increase of 2% a girl of 12. The Fourth of July, the year of his birth (old-fashioned. We would often have a walk of an evening.
7. Used to show sb/sth belongs to a group, often after some, a few, etc.: some of his friends. A few of the problems. The most famous of all the stars
8. Used to show the position of sth/sb in space or time: just north of Detroit at the time of the revolution (NAmE) at a quarter of eleven tonight (= 10.45 p.m.)
9. Used after nouns formed from verbs. The noun after ‘of’ can be either the object or the subject of the action: the arrival of the police (= they arrive) criticism of the police (= they are criticized). Fear of the dark. The howling of the wind
10. Used after some verbs before mentioning sb/sth involved in the action: to deprive sb of sth. He was cleared of all blame. Think of a number, any number.
11. Used after some adjectives before mentioning sb/sth that a feeling relates to: to be proud of sth
12. Used to give your opinion of sb’s behaviour: It was kind of you to offer.
13. Used when one noun describes a second one: Where’s that idiot of a boy? (= The boy that you think is stupid)
Of all: used before a noun to say that sth is very surprising: I’m surprised that you of all people should say that.
Of all the …: used to express anger: Of all the nerve!

6. ON
1. In or into a position covering, touching or forming part of a surface: a picture on a wall. There’s a mark on your skirt. The diagram on page 5. Put it down on the table. He had been hit on the head. She climbed on to the bed.
2. Supported by sb/sth: She was standing on one foot. Try lying on your back. Hang your coat on that hook.
3. Used to show a means of transport: He was on the plane from New York. To travel on the bus /tube/ coach. I came on my bike. A woman on horseback
4. Used to show a day or date: He came on Sunday. We meet on Tuesdays. On May the first / the first of May, on the evening of May the first, on one occasion, on your birthday
5. Immediately after sth: On arriving home I discovered they had gone. Please report to reception on arrival. There was a letter waiting for him on his return.
6. About sth/sb: a book on South Africa. She tested us on irregular verbs.
7. Being carried by sb: in the possession of sb: Have you got any money on you?
8. Used to show that sb belongs to a group or an organization: to be on the committee / staff / jury / panel. Whose side are you on (= which of two or more different views do you support)?
9. Eating or drinking sth: using a drug or a medicine regularly: He lived on a diet of junk food. The doctor put me on antibiotics.
10. Used to show direction: on the left / right. He turned his back on us.
11. At or near a place: a town on the coast, a house on the Thames. We lived on an estate.
12. Used to show the basis or reason for sth: a story based on fact. On their advice I applied for the job.
13. Paid for by sth: to live on a pension / a student grant, to be on a low wage. You can’t feed a family on £50 a week. Drinks are on me (= I am paying).
14. By means of sth: using sth: She played a tune on her guitar. The Information is available on the Internet. We spoke on the phone. What’s on TV? The programmes on Channel 4.
15. Used with some nouns or adjectives to say who or what is affected by sth: a ban on smoking, He’s hard on his kids. Go easy on the mayo! (= Do not give me too much)
16. Compared with sb/sth: Sales are up on last year.
17. Used to describe an activity or a state: to be on business / holiday / vacation. The book is currently on loan.
18. Used when giving a telephone number: You can get me on 0181 530 3906. She’s on extension 2401.
1. Used to show that sth continues: He worked on without a break. If you like a good story, read on.
2. Used to show that sb/sth moves or is sent forward: She stopped for a moment, then walked on. Keep straight on for the beach. From then on he never trusted her again. Please send the letter on to my new address.
3. On sb’s body: being worn: Put your coat on. I didn’t have my glasses on. What did she have on (= what was she wearing)?
4. Covering, touching or forming part of sth: Make sure the lid is on.
5. Connected or operating; being used: The lights were all on. The TV is always on in their house. We were without electricity for three hours but it’s on again now.
6. Happening: There was a war on at the time. What’s on at the movies? The bands are on (= performing) in ten minutes.
7. Planned to take place in the future: The game is still on (= it has not been cancelled). I don’t think we’ve got anything on this weekend. I’m sorry we can’t come—we’ve got a lot on.
8. On duty: working: I’m on now till 8-tomorrow morning.
9. In or into a vehicle: The bus stopped and four people got on. They hurried on to the plane.
Be on about sth: (Informal) to talk about sth; to mean sth: I didn’t know what he was on about. It didn’t make sense.
Be / go / keep on about sth: (Informal, disapproving) to talk in a boring or complaining way about sth: Stop keeping on about it!
Be / go / keep on at sb (to do sth): (Informal, disapproving) to keep asking or telling sb sth so that they become annoyed or tired: He was on at me again to lend him money.
Be on for sth: (Informal) to want to do sth: Is anyone on for a drink after work?
It isn’t on: (Informal) used to say that sth is not acceptable
On and on: without stopping; continuously: She went on and on about her trip.
What are you, etc. on: (Informal) used when you are very surprised at sb’s behaviour and are suggesting that they are acting in a similar way to sb using drugs
You’re on: (Informal) used when you are accepting a bet

1. Used to show where sb/sth starts: She began to walk away from him. Has the train from Bristol arrived?
2. Used to show when sth starts: We’re open from 8 to 7 every day. He was blind from birth.
3. Used to show who sent or gave sth/sb: a letter from my brother. Information from witnesses the man from (= representing) the insurance company.
4. Used to show what the origin of sb/sth is: I’m from Italy. Documents from the sixteenth century. Quotations from Shakespeare, heat from the sun
5. Used to show the material that sth is made of: Steel is made from iron.
6. Used to show how far apart two places are: 100 metres from the scene of the accident
7. Used to show sb’s position or point of view: You can see the island from here. From a financial point of view the project was a disaster.
8. From sth (to sth) used to show the range of sth: The temperature varies from 30 degrees to minus 20. The store sells everything from shoelaces to computers. Conditions vary from school to school.
9. From sth (to sth) used to show the state or form of sth/sb before a change: Things have gone from bad to worse. Translating from English to Spanish. You need a break from routine.
10. Used to show that sb/sth is separated or removed: The party was ousted from power after eighteen years.
11. Used to show that sth is prevented: She saved him from drowning.
12. Used to show the reason for sth: She felt sick from tiredness.
13. Used to show the reason for making a judgement: You can tell a lot about a person from their handwriting. From what I heard the company’s in deep trouble.
14. Used when distinguishing between two people or things: Is Portuguese very different from Spanish? I can’t tell one twin from the other.
From … on: starting at the time mentioned and continuously after that: From now on you can work on your own. She never spoke to him again from that day on.

1. In the company or presence of sb/sth: She lives with her parents. I have a client with me right now. A nice steak with a bottle of red wine
2. Having or carrying sth: a girl with (= who has) red hair, a jacket with a hood. He looked at her with a hurt expression. They’re both in bed with flu. A man with a suitcase.
3. Using sth: Cut it with a knife. It is treated with acid before being analysed.
4. Used to say what fills, covers, etc. sth: The bag was stuffed with dirty clothes. Sprinkle the dish with salt.
5. In opposition to sb/sth; against sb/sth: to fight with sb to play tennis with sb at war with a neighbouring country. I had an argument with my boss.
6. Concerning; in the case of: Be careful with the glasses. Are you pleased with the result? Don’t be angry with her. With these students it’s pronunciation that’s the problem.
7. Used when considering one fact in relation to another: She won’t be able to help us with all the family commitments she has. It’s much easier compared with last time.
8. Including: The meal with wine came to $20 each. With all the lesson preparation I have to do I work 12 hours a day.
9. Used to show the way in which sb does sth: He behaved with great dignity. She sleeps with the window open. Don’t stand with your hands in your pockets.
10. Because of: as a result of: She blushed with embarrassment. His fingers were numb with cold.
11. Because of sth and as it happens: The shadows lengthened with the approach of sunset. Skill comes with practice.
12. In the same direction as sth: Marine mammals generally swim with the current.
13. Used to show who has possession of or responsibility for sth: The keys are with reception. Leave it with me.
14. Employed by; using the services of: She acted with a touring company for three years. I bank with the HSBC.
15. Showing separation from sth/sb: I could never part with this ring. Can we dispense with the formalities?
16. Despite sth: With all her faults I still love her.
17. Used in exclamations: Off to bed with you! Down with school!
Be with me / you: (Informal) to be able to understand what sb is talking about: Are you with me? I’m afraid I’m not quite with you.
Be with sb (on sth): to support sb and agree with what they say: We’re all with you on this one.
With it (Informal)
1. Knowing about current fashions and ideas. SYN trendy: Don’t you have anything more with it to wear?
2. Understanding what is happening around you. SYN alert: You don’t seem very with it today.
With that: straight after that; then: He muttered a few words of apology and with that he left.

9. FOR
1. Used to show who is intended to have or use sth or where sth is intended to be put: There’s a letter for you. It’s a book for children. We got a new table for the dining room. This is the place for me (= I like it very much).
2. In order to help sb/sth: What can I do for you (= how can I help you)? Can you translate this letter for me? I took her classes for her while she was sick. Soldiers fighting for their country
3. Concerning sb/sth: They are anxious for her safety. Fortunately for us, the weather changed.
4. As a representative of: I am speaking for everyone in this department.
5. Employed by: She’s working for IBM.
6. Meaning: Shaking your head for ‘No’ is not universal.
7. In support of sb/sth: Are you for or against the proposal? They voted for independence in a referendum. There’s a strong case for postponing the exam. I’m all for people having fun
8. Used to show purpose or function: a machine for slicing bread. Let’s go for a walk. Are you learning English for pleasure or for your work? What did you do that for (= Why did you do that)?
9. Used to show a reason or cause: The town is famous for its cathedral. She gave me a watch for my birthday. He got an award for bravery. I couldn’t speak for laughing.
10. In order to obtain sth: He came to me for advice. For more Information, call this number. There were over fifty applicants for the job.
11. In exchange for sth: Copies are available for two dollars each. I’ll swap these two bottles for that one.
12. Considering what can be expected from sb/sth: The weather was warm for the time of year. She’s tall for her age. That’s too much responsibility for a child.
13. Better, happier, etc. sth better, happier, etc. following sth: You’ll feel better for a good night’s sleep. This room would look more cheerful for a spot of paint.
14. Used to show where sb/sth is going: Is this the bus for Chicago? She knew she was destined for a great future.
15. Used to show a length of time: I’m going away for a few days. That’s all the news there is for now.
16. Used to show that sth is arranged or intended to happen at a particular time: an appointment for May 12. We’re invited for 7.30.
17. Used to show the occasion when sth happens: I’m warning you for the last time—stop talking!
18. Used to show a distance: The road went on for miles and miles.
19. Used to say how difficult, necessary, pleasant, etc. sth is that sb might do or has done: It’s useless for us to continue. There’s no need for you to go. For her to have survived such an ordeal was remarkable. The box is too heavy for me to lift. Is it clear enough for you to read?
20. Used to show who can or should do sth: It’s not for me to say why he left. How to spend the money is for you to decide.
Be in for it (BrE also be for it): (Informal) to be going to get into trouble or be punished: We’d better hurry or we’ll be in for it.
For all
1. Despite: For all its clarity of style, the book is not easy reading.
2. Used to say that sth is not important or of no interest or value to you/sb: For all I know she’s still living in Boston. You can do what you like, for all I care. For all the good it’s done we might as well not have bothered.
There’s / that’s … for you: (often ironic) used to say that sth is a typical example of its kind: She might at least have called to explain. There’s gratitude for you.
(Old-fashioned or literary) used to introduce the reason for sth mentioned in the previous statement: We listened eagerly, for he brought news of our families. I believed her—for surely she would not lie to me.

10. TO
1. In the direction of sth: towards sth: I walked to the office. I fell to the ground. It was on the way to the station. He’s going to Paris. My first visit to Africa He pointed to something on the opposite bank. Her childhood was spent travelling from place to place.
2. To the sth (of sth) located in the direction mentioned from sth: Place the cursor to the left of the first word. There are mountains to the north.
3. As far as sth: The meadows lead down to the river. Her hair fell to her waist.
4. Reaching a particular state: The vegetables were cooked to perfection. He tore the letter to pieces. She sang the baby to sleep. The letter reduced her to tears (= made her cry). His expression changed from amazement to joy.
5. Used to show the end or limit of a range or period of time: a drop in profits from $105 million to around $75 million I’d say he was 25 to 30 years old (= approximately 25 or 30 years old). I like all kinds of music from opera to reggae. We only work from Monday to Friday. I watched the programme from beginning to end.
6. Before the start of sth: How long is it to lunch? (Especially BrE) It’s five to ten (= five minutes before ten o’clock).
7. Used to show the person or thing that receives sth: He gave it to his sister. I’ll explain to you where everything goes. I am deeply grateful to my parents. Who did she address the letter to? (Formal) To whom did she address the letter?
8. Used to show the person or thing that is affected by an action: She is devoted to her family. What have you done to your hair?
9. Used to show that two things are attached or connected: Attach this rope to the front of the car.
10. Used to show a relationship between one person or thing and another: She’s married to an Italian. The Japanese ambassador to France the key to the door the solution to this problem
11. Directed towards: concerning: It was a threat to world peace. She made a reference to her recent book.
12. Used to introduce the second part of a comparison or ratio: I prefer walking to climbing. The industry today is nothing to what it once was. We won by six goals to three.
13. Used to show a quantity or rate: There are 2.54 centimetres to an inch. This car does 30 miles to the gallon.
14. In honour of sb/sth: a monument to the soldiers who died in the war. Let’s drink to Julia and her new job.
15. While sth else is happening or being done: He left the stage to prolonged applause.
16. Used after verbs of movement to mean ‘with the intention of giving sth’: People rushed to her rescue and picked her up.
17. Used to show sb’s attitude or reaction to sth: His music isn’t really to my taste. To her astonishment, he smiled.
18. Used to show what sb’s opinion or feeling about sth is: It sounded like crying to me.
To is often used before the base form of a verb to show that the verb is in the Infinitive. The Infinitive is used after many verbs and also after many nouns and adjectives.
1. Used to show purpose or intention: I set out to buy food. I am going to tell you a story. She was determined to do well. His aim was to become president. To be honest with you, I don’t remember what he said.
2. Used to show the result of sth: She managed to escape. It was too hot to go out. He couldn’t get close enough to see.
3. Used to show the cause of sth: I’m sorry to hear that.
4. Used to show an action that you want or are advised to do: I’d love to go to France this summer. The leaflet explains how to apply for a place. I don’t know what to say.
To can also be used without a verb following when the missing verb is easy to understand: He asked her to come but she said she didn’t want to.
5. Used to show sth that is known or reported about a particular person or thing: The house was said to be haunted.
6. Used to show that one action immediately follows another: I reached the station only to find that my train had already left.
7. Am, is, are, was, and were ~ used to show that you must or should do sth: You are not to talk during the exam. She was to be here at 8.30 but she didn’t arrive.
(Usually of a door) in or into a closed position: Push the door to.
To and fro: backwards and forwards: She rocked the baby to and fro.

11. INTO
1. To a position in or inside sth: Come into the house. She dived into the water. He threw the letter into the fire. (Figurative) She turned and walked off into the night.
2. In the direction of sth: Speak clearly into the microphone. Driving into the sun, we had to shade our eyes.
3. To a point at which you hit sb/sth: The truck crashed into a parked car.
4. To a point during a period of time: She carried on working late into the night. He didn’t get married until he was well into his forties.
5. Used to show a change in state: The fruit can be made into jam. Can you translate this passage into German? They came into power in 2003. She was sliding into depression.
6. Used to show the result of an action: He was shocked into a confession of guilt.
7. About or concerning sth: an inquiry into safety procedures.
8. Used when you are dividing numbers: 3 into 24 is 8.
Be into sb for sth: (US, Informal) to owe sb money or be owed money by sb: By the time he’d fixed the leak, I was into him for $500. The bank was into her for $100 000.
Be into sth: (Informal) to be interested in sth in an active way: He’s into surfing in a big way.

12. OUT
1. Out (of sth) away from the inside of a place or thing: She ran out into the corridor. She shook the bag and some coins fell out. I got out of bed. He opened the box and out jumped a frog. Out you go! (= Used to order sb to leave a room) (Informal, non-standard) He ran out the door.
2. Out (of sth) (of people) away from or not at home or their place of work: I called Liz but she was out. Let’s go out this evening (= for example to a restaurant or club). We haven’t had a night out for weeks. Mr Green is out of town this week.
3. Out (of sth) away from the edge of a place: The boy dashed out into the road. Don’t lean out of the window.
4. Out (of sth) a long or a particular distance away from a place or from land: She’s working out in Australia. He lives right out in the country. The boats are all out at sea. The ship sank ten miles out of Stockholm.
5. Out (of sth) used to show that sth/sb is removed from a place, job, etc.: This detergent is good for getting stains out. We want this government out. He got thrown out of the restaurant.
6. Out of sth/sb used to show that sth comes from or is obtained from sth/sb: He drank his beer out of the bottle. A statue made out of bronze a romance straight out of a fairy tale. I paid for the damage out of my savings. We’ll get the truth out of her.
7. Out of sth used to show that sb/sth does not have any of sth: We’re out of milk. He’s been out of work for six months. You’re out of luck—she left ten minutes ago.
8. Out of sth used to show that sb/sth is not or no longer in a particular state or condition: Try and stay out of trouble. I watched the car until it was out of sight.
9. Out (of sth) used to show that sb is no longer involved in sth: It was an awful job and I’m glad to be out of it. He gets out of the army in a few weeks. They’ll be out (= of prison) on bail in no time. Brown goes on to the semi-finals but Lee is out.
10. Out of sth used to show the reason why sth is done: I asked out of curiosity. She did it out of spite.
11. Out of sth from a particular number or set: You scored six out of ten. Two out of three people think the President should resign.
12. (Of a book, etc.) not in the library; borrowed by sb else: The book you wanted is out on loan.
13. (Of the tide) at or towards its lowest point on land: I like walking on the wet sand when the tide is out.
14. If the sun, moon or stars are or come out: they can be seen from the earth and are not hidden by clouds
15. (Of flowers) fully open: There should be some snowdrops out by now.
16. Available to everyone; known to everyone: When does her new book come out? Word always gets out (= people find out about things) no matter how careful you are. Out with it! (= Say what you know)
17. Clearly and loudly so that people can hear: to call / cry / shout out. Read it out loud. Nobody spoke out in his defence.
18. (Informal) having told other people that you are homosexual: I had been out since I was 17. An out gay man
19. (In cricket, baseball, etc.) if a team or team member is out, it is no longer their turn with the bat: The West Indies were all out for 364 (= after scoring 364 runs in cricket).
20. (In tennis, etc.) if the ball is out, it landed outside the line: The umpire said the ball was out.
21. Out (in sth) not correct or exact; wrong: I was slightly out in my calculations. Your guess was a long way out (= completely wrong). The estimate was out by more than $100.
22. Not possible or not allowed: Swimming is out until the weather gets warmer.
23. Not fashionable: Black is out this year.
24. (Of fire, lights or burning materials) not or no longer burning or lit: Suddenly all the lights went out. The fire had burnt itself out.
25. At an end: It was summer and school was out. She was to regret her words before the day was out.
26. Unconscious: He was out for more than an hour and came round in the hospital. She was knocked out cold.
27. (BrE, Informal) on strike
28. To the end; completely: Hear me out before you say anything. We left them to fight it out (= settle a disagreement by fighting or arguing)
Be out for sth / to do sth: to be trying to get or do sth: I’m not out for revenge. She’s out for what she can get (= trying to get something for herself). The company is out to capture the Canadian market.
Out and about (BrE)
1. Able to go outside again after an illness
2. Travelling around a place: We’ve been out and about talking to people all over the country.
Out of here: (Informal) going or leaving: As soon as I get my money I’m out of here!
Out of it (Informal)
1. Sad because you aren’t included in sth: We’ve only just moved here so we feel a little out of it.
2. Not aware of what is happening, usually because of drinking too much alcohol, or taking drugs.

13. UP
1. Towards or in a higher position: He jumped up from his chair. The sun was already up (= had risen) when they set off. They live up in the mountains. It didn’t take long to put the tent up. I pinned the notice up on the wall. Lay the cards face up (= facing upwards) on the table. You look nice with your hair up (= arranged on top of or at the back of your head). Up you come! (= Said when lifting a child).
2. To or at a higher level: She turned the volume up. Prices are still going up (= rising). United were 3–1 up at half time. The wind is getting up (= blowing more strongly). Sales are well up on last year.
3. To the place where sb/sth is: A car drove up and he got in. She went straight up to the door and knocked loudly.
4. To or at an important place, especially a large city: We’re going up to New York for the day. (BrE, formal) His son’s up at Oxford (= Oxford University).
5. To a place in the north of a country: They’ve moved up north. We drove up to Inverness to see my father.
6. Into pieces or parts: She tore the paper up. They’ve had the road up (= with the surface broken or removed) to lay some pipes. How shall we divide up the work?
7. Completely: We ate all the food up. The stream has dried up.
8. So as to be formed or brought together: The government agreed to set up a committee of inquiry. She gathered up her belongings.
9. So as to be finished or closed: I have some paperwork to finish up. Do your coat up; it’s cold.
10. (Of a period of time) finished: over: Time’s up. Stop writing and hand in your papers.
11. Out of bed: I stayed up late (= did not go to bed until late) last night. (BrE) He’s up and about again after his illness.
12. (Informal) used to say that sth is happening; especially sth unusual or unpleasant: I could tell something was up by the looks on their faces. What’s up? (= What is the matter?) What’s up with him? He looks furious. Is anything up? You can tell me.
In NAmE what’s up? Can just mean ‘What’s new?’ or ‘What’s happening?’ There may not be anything wrong.
Be up to sb: to be sb’s duty or responsibility; to be for sb to decide: It’s not up to you to tell me how to do my job. Shall we eat out or stay in? It’s up to you.
Not be up to much: (BrE) to be of poor quality: to not be very good: His work isn’t up to much.
Up against sth: (Informal) facing problems or opposition: Teachers are up against some major problems these days. She’s really up against it (= in a difficult situation).
Up and down
1. Moving upwards and downwards: The boat bobbed up and down on the water.
2. In one direction and then in the opposite direction: She was pacing up and down in front of her desk.
3. Sometimes good and sometimes bad: My relationship with him was up and down.
Up and running: (of a system, for example a computer system) working; being used: By that time the new system should be up and running.
Up before sb/sth: appearing in front of sb in authority for a judgement to be made about sth that you have done: He came up before the local magistrate for speeding.
Up for sth
1. On offer for sth: The house is up for sale.
2. Being considered for sth, especially as a candidate: Two candidates are up for election.
3. (Informal) willing to take part in a particular activity: We’re going clubbing tonight. Are you up for it?
Up to sth
1. As far as a particular number, level, etc.: I can take up to four people (= but no more than four) in my car. The temperature went up to 35°C.
2. (Also up until sth) not further or later than sth; until sth: Read up to page 100. Up to now he’s been very quiet.
3. As high or as good as sth: Her latest book isn’t up to her usual standard.
4. (Also up to doing sth) physically or mentally capable of sth: He’s not up to the job. I don’t feel up to going to work today.
5. (Informal) doing sth, especially sth bad: What’s she up to? What’ve you been up to? I’m sure he’s up to no good (= doing sth bad).
1. To or in a higher position somewhere: She climbed up the flight of steps. The village is further up the valley.
2. Along or further along a road or street: We live just up the road, past the post office.
3. Towards the place where a river starts: a cruise up the Rhine
Up and down sth: in one direction and then in the opposite direction along sth: I looked up and down the corridor.
Up yours: (taboo, slang) an offensive way of being rude to sb, for example because they have said sth that makes you angry
1. [Only before noun] directed or moving upwards: an up stroke, the up escalator
2. [Not before noun] (Informal) cheerful; happy or excited: The mood here is resolutely up.
3. [Not before noun] (of a computer system) working: Our system should be up by this afternoon.
1. [V] up and… (Informal or humorous) to suddenly move or do sth unexpected: He upped and left without telling anyone.
2. [Vn] to increase the price or amount of sth. SYN raise: The buyers upped their offer by £1 000.
Up sticks (BrE) (NAmE pull up stakes): (Informal) to suddenly move from your house and go to live somewhere else.
On the up: increasing or improving: Business confidence is on the up.
On the up and up (Informal)
1. (BrE) becoming more and more successful: The club has been on the up and up since the beginning of the season.
2. (NAmE) = on the level at level noun: The offer seems to be on the up and up.
Ups and downs: the mixture of good and bad things in life or in a particular situation or relationship.

14. OVER
1. Downwards and away from a vertical position: Try not to knock that vase over. The wind must have blown it over.
2. From one side to another side: She turned over onto her front. The car skidded off the road and rolled over and over.
3. Across a street, an open space, etc.: I stopped and crossed over. He rowed us over to the other side of the lake. They have gone over to France. This is my aunt who’s over from Canada. I went over (= across the room) and asked her name. Let’s ask some friends over (= to our home). Put it down over there.
4. So as to cover sb/sth completely: The lake was frozen over. Cover her over with a blanket.
5. Above; more: children of 14 and over. You get an A grade for scores of 75 and over.
6. Remaining; not used or needed: If there’s any food left over, put it in the fridge.
7. Again: He repeated it several times over until he could remember it. (NAmE) It’s all wrong. You’ll have to do it over.
8. Ended: By the time we arrived the meeting was over. Thank goodness that’s over! I was glad when it was over and done with.
9. Used to talk about sb/sth changing position: He’s gone over to the enemy (= joined them). Please change the wheels over (= for example, put the front wheels at the back). Hand over the money!
10. Used when communicating by radio: Message received. Over (= it is your turn to speak). Message understood. Over and out.
(All) over again: a second time from the beginning: He did the work so badly that I had to do it all over again myself.
Over against sth: in contrast with sth
Over and over (again): many times: repeatedly: I’ve told you over and over again not to do that.
Over to you: used to say that it is sb’s turn to do sth
HELP NOTE: For the special uses of over in phrasal verbs, look at the entries for the verbs. For example get over sth is in the phrasal verb section at get.
1. Resting on the surface of sb/sth and partly or completely covering them / it: She put a blanket over the sleeping child. He wore an overcoat over his suit. She put her hand over her mouth to stop herself from screaming.
2. In or to a position higher than but not touching sb/sth; above sb/sth: They held a large umbrella over her. The balcony juts out over the street. There was a lamp hanging over the table.
3. From one side of sth to the other: across sth: a bridge over the river. They ran over the grass. They had a wonderful view over the park.
4. On the far or opposite side of sth: He lives over the road.
5. So as to cross sth and be on the other side: She climbed over the wall.
6. Falling from or down from a place: The car had toppled over the cliff. He didn’t dare look over the edge.
7. All ~ in or on all or most parts of sth: Snow is falling all over the country. They’ve travelled all over the world. There were papers lying around all over the place.
8. More than a particular time, amount, cost, etc.: over 3 million copies sold. She stayed in Lagos for over a month. He’s over sixty.
9. Used to show that sb has control or authority: She has only the director over her. He ruled over a great empire. She has editorial control over what is included.
10. During sth: We’ll discuss it over lunch. Over the next few days they got to know the town well. She has not changed much over the years. He built up the business over a period of ten years. We’re away over (= until after) the New Year.
11. Past a particular difficult stage or situation: We’re over the worst of the recession. It took her ages to get over her illness.
12. Because of or concerning sth: about sth: an argument over money a disagreement over the best way to proceed
13. Using sth: by means of sth: We heard it over the radio. She wouldn’t tell me over the phone.
14. Louder than sth: I couldn’t hear what he said over the noise of the traffic.
Over and above: in addition to sth: There are other factors over and above those we have discussed.

15. OFF
1. Away from a place; at a distance in space or time: I called him but he ran off. Sarah’s off in India somewhere. I must be off soon (= leave). Off you go! Summer’s not far off now. A solution is still some way off.
2. Used to say that sth has been removed: He’s had his beard shaved off. Take your coat off. Don’t leave the toothpaste with the top off.
3. Starting a race: They’re off (= the race has begun).
4. No longer going to happen: cancelled: The wedding is off.
5. Not connected or functioning: The water is off. Make sure the TV is off.
6. (Especially BrE) (of an item on a menu) no longer available or being served: Sorry, the duck is off.
7. Away from work or duty: She’s off today. I’ve got three days off next week. How many days did you take off? I need some time off.
8. Taken from the price: shoes with $20 off. All shirts have / are 10% off.
9. Behind or at the sides of the stage in a theatre. SYN offstage
Be well / better / badly, etc. off: used to say how much money sb has: Families will be better off under the new law (= will have more money). They are both comfortably off (= have enough money to be able to buy what they want without worrying too much about the cost).
Be better / worse off (doing sth): to be in a better or worse situation: She’s better off without him. The weather was so bad we’d have been better off staying at home. We can’t be any worse off than we are already.
Be off for sth: (Informal) to have a particular amount of sth: How are we off for coffee (= how much do we have)?
Off and on /on and off: from time to time; now and again: It rained on and off all day.
1. Down or away from a place or at a distance in space or time: I fell off the ladder. Keep off the grass! An island off the coast of Spain, They were still 100 metres off the summit. Scientists are still a long way off finding a cure. We’re getting right off the subject.
2. Leading away from sth, for example a road or room: We live off Main Street. There’s a bathroom off the main bedroom.
3. Used to say that sth has been removed: You need to take the top off the bottle first! I want about an inch off the back of my hair.
4. Away from work or duty: He’s had ten days off school.
5. Away from a price: They knocked £500 off the car.
6. Off of (non-standard or NAmE, Informal) off, from: I got it off of my brother.
7. Not wanting or liking sth that you usually eat or use: I’m off (= not drinking) alcohol for a week. He’s finally off drugs (= he no longer takes them).
1. (Of food) no longer fresh enough to eat or drink: This fish has gone off. The milk smells off. It’s off.
2. Off (with sb) (Informal, especially BrE) not polite or friendly: He was a bit off with me this morning.
3. (Informal, especially BrE) not acceptable: It’s a bit off expecting us to work on Sunday.
[Sing.] The off the start of a race: They’re ready for the off.

1. At or to a higher place or position than sth/sb: The water came above our knees. We were flying above the clouds. The people in the apartment above mine. A captain in the navy ranks above a captain in the army. They finished the year six places above their local rivals.
2. More than sth: greater in number, level or age than sb/sth: Inflation is above 6%. Temperatures have been above average. We cannot accept children above the age of 10.
3. Of greater importance or of higher quality than sb/sth: I rate her above most other players of her age.
4. Too good or too honest to do sth: She’s not above lying when it suits her. He’s above suspicion (= he is completely trusted).
5. (Of a sound) louder or clearer than another sound: I couldn’t hear her above the noise of the traffic.
Above all: most important of all: especially: Above all, keep in touch.
Above yourself: (Disapproving) having too high an opinion of yourself.
1. At or to a higher place: Put it on the shelf above. Seen from above the cars looked tiny. They were acting on instructions from above (= from sb in a higher position of authority).
2. Greater in number, level or age: increases of 5% and above. A score of 70 or above will get you an ‘A’. Children aged 12 and above
3. Earlier in sth written or printed: As was stated above … See above, page 97.
[Only before noun] mentioned or printed previously in a letter, book, etc.: Please write to us at the above address.
The above noun [sing. + sing. /pl. v.]: Please notify us if the above is not correct. All the above (= people mentioned above) have passed the exam.
Above / over
Above and over can both be used to describe a position higher than something: They built a new room above / over the garage. When you are talking about movement from one side of something to the other, you can only use over: They jumped over the stream. Over can also mean ‘covering’: He put a blanket over the sleeping child.
Above and over can also mean ‘more than’. Above is used in relation to a minimum level or a fixed point: 2 000 feet above sea level Temperatures will not rise above zero tonight. Over is used with numbers, ages, money and time: He’s over 50. It costs over £100. We waited over 2 hours.

17. DOWN
1. To or at a lower place or position: She jumped down off the chair. He looked down at her. We watched as the sun went down. She bent down to pick up her glove. Mary’s not down yet (= she is still upstairs). The baby can’t keep any food down (= in her body).
2. From a standing or vertical position to a sitting or horizontal one: Please sit down. He had to go and lie down for a while.
3. At a lower level or rate: Prices have gone down recently. We’re already two goals down (= the other team has two goals more).
4. Used to show that the amount or strength of sth is lower, or that there is less activity: Turn the music down! The class settled down and she began the lesson.
5. (In a crossword) reading from top to bottom, not from side to side: I can’t do 3 down.
6. To or in the south of a country: They flew down to Texas. Houses are more expensive down south.
7. On paper; on a list: Did you get that down? I always write everything down. Have you got me down for the trip?
8. Used to show the limits in a range or an order: Everyone will be there, from the Principal down.
9. Having lost the amount of money mentioned: At the end of the day we were £20 down.
10. If you pay an amount of money down, you pay that to start with, and the rest later
11. (Informal) used to say how far you have got in a list of things you have to do: Well, I’ve seen six apartments so far. That’s six down and four to go!
12. (Informal) to or at a local place such as a shop / store, pub, etc.: I’m just going down to the post office. I saw him down at the shops.
HELP NOTE: In Informal British English, to and at are often left out after down in this sense: He’s gone down the shops.
Be down to sb: (Informal) to be the responsibility of sb: It’s down to you to check the door.
Be down to sb/sth: to be caused by a particular person or thing: She claimed her problems were down to the media.
Be down to sth: to have only a little money left: I’m down to my last dollar.
Be / go down with sth: to have or catch an illness.
Down through sth: (formal) during a long period of time: Down through the years this town has seen many changes.
Down under: (Informal) to or in Australia and/or New Zealand.
Down with sb/sth: used to say that you are opposed to sth, or to a person: The crowds chanted ‘Down with NATO!’
1. From a high or higher point on sth to a lower one: The stone rolled down the hill. Tears ran down her face. Her hair hung down her back to her waist.
2. Along: towards the direction in which you are facing: He lives just down the street. Go down the road till you reach the traffic lights. There’s a bridge a mile down the river from here.
3. All through a period of time: an exhibition of costumes down the ages (= from all periods of history)
1. To finish a drink or eat sth quickly: We downed our coffees and left.
2. To force sb/sth down to the ground: to down a plane.
Down tools: (BrE) (of workers) to stop work: to go on strike.
1. (Informal) sad or depressed: I feel a bit down today.
2. (Of a computer or computer system) not working: The system was down all morning.
1. [U] the very fine soft feathers of a bird: duck down.
Have a down on sb/sth: (BrE, Informal) to have a bad opinion of a person or thing.

1. Later than sth: following sth in time: We’ll leave after lunch. They arrived shortly after 5. Not long after that he resigned. Let’s meet the day after tomorrow / the week after next. After winning the prize she became famous overnight. After an hour I went home (= when an hour had passed). (NAmE) It’s ten after seven in the morning (= 7.10 a.m.)
2… after … used to show that sth happens many times or continuously: day after day of hot weather I’ve told you time after time not to do that.
3. Behind sb when they have left: following sb: Shut the door after you. I’m always having to clean up after the children (= clean the place after they have left it dirty and untidy). He ran after her with the book. She was left staring after him.
4. Next to and following sb/sth in order or importance: Your name comes after mine in the list. He’s the tallest, after Richard. After you (= Please go first). After you with the paper. (= Can I have it next?)
5. In contrast to sth: It was pleasantly cool in the house after the sticky heat outside.
6. As a result of or because of sth that has happened: I’ll never forgive him after what he said.
7. Despite sth: although sth has happened: I can’t believe she’d do that, not after all I’ve done for her.
8. Trying to find or catch sb/sth: The police are after him. He’s after a job at our place.
9. About sb/sth: She asked after you (= how you were).
10. In the style of sb/sth: following the example of sb/sth: a painting after Goya. We named the baby ‘Ana’ after her grandmother.
11. After- (in adjectives) happening or done later than the time or event mentioned: after-hours drinking (= after closing time) an after-school club, after-dinner mints
After all
1. Despite what has been said or expected: So you made it after all!
2. Used when you are explaining sth, or giving a reason: He should have paid. He suggested it, after all.
Be after doing sth (Irish E)
1. To be going to do sth soon; to be intending to do sth soon.
2. To have just done sth
At a time later than sth; when sth has finished: I’ll call you after I’ve spoken to them. Several years after they’d split up they met again by chance in Paris.
Later in time; afterwards: That was in 1996. Soon after, I heard that he’d died. I could come next week, or the week after. And they all lived happily ever after.
[Only before noun] (Old use) following; later: in after years.

19. AS
1. Used to describe sb/sth appearing to be sb/sth else: They were all dressed as clowns. The bomb was disguised as a package.
2. Used to describe the fact that sb/sth has a particular job or function: She works as a courier. Treat me as a friend. I respect him as a doctor. You can use that glass as a vase. The news came as a shock. She had been there often as a child (= when she was a child).
1. As … as … used when you are comparing two people or things, or two situations: You’re as tall as your father. He was as white as a sheet. She doesn’t play as well as her sister. I haven’t known him as long as you (= as you have known him). He doesn’t earn as much as me. He doesn’t earn as much as I do. It’s not as hard as I thought. Run as fast as you can. We’d like it as soon as possible.
2. Used to say that sth happens in the same way: As always, he said little. The ‘h’ in honest is silent, as in ‘hour’.
1. While sth else is happening: He sat watching her, as she got ready. As she grew older she gained in confidence.
2. In the way in which: They did as I had asked. Leave the papers as they are. She lost it, just as I said she would.
3. Used to state the reason for sth: As you were out, I left a message. She may need some help as she’s new.
4. Used to make a comment or to add Information about what you have just said: As you know, Julia is leaving soon. She’s very tall, as is her mother.
5. Used to say that in spite of sth being true, what follows is also true. SYN though: Happy as they were, there was something missing. Try as he might (= however hard he tried), he couldn’t open the door.
As against sth: in contrast with sth: They got 27% of the vote as against 32% at the last election.
As and when: used to say that sth may happen at some time in the future, but only when sth else has happened: We’ll decide on the team as and when we qualify. I’ll tell you more as and when (= as soon as I can).
As for sb/sth: used to start talking about sb/sth. SYN regarding: As for Jo, she’s doing fine. As for food for the party, that’s all being taken care of.
As from … / as of …: used to show the time or date from which sth starts: Our fax number is changing as from May 12.
As if / as though: in a way that suggests sth: He behaved as if nothing had happened. It sounds as though you had a good time. It’s my birthday. As if you didn’t know! ‘Don’t say anything’ ‘As if I would!’ (= Surely you do not expect me to)
As it is: considering the present situation; as things are: We were hoping to finish it by next week—as it is, it may be the week after. I can’t help—I’ve got too much to do as it is (= already).
As it were: used when a speaker is giving his or her own impression of a situation or expressing sth in a particular way: Teachers must put the brakes on, as it were, when they notice students looking puzzled.
As to sth/ as regards sth: used when you are referring to sth: As to tax, that will be deducted from your salary.
As you do: used as a comment on sth that you have just said: He smiled and I smiled back. As you do.
As / like
You can use both as and like to say that things are similar.
Like is a preposition and is used before nouns and pronouns: He has blue eyes like me.
As: is a conjunction and an adverb and is used before a clause, another adverb or a clause beginning with a preposition: She enjoys all kinds of music, as I do. Repeat these five steps, as in the last exercise.
In Informal English like is frequently used as a conjunction or an adverb instead of as: Nobody understands him like I do. I don’t want to upset him again like before. It is also used instead of as if: It looks like we’re going to be late. These uses of like are common but are not considered correct in formal written English.

20. LIKE
1. Similar to sb/sth: She’s wearing a dress like mine. He’s very like his father. She looks nothing like (= not at all like) her mother. That sounds like (= I think I can hear) him coming now.
2. Used to ask sb’s opinion of sb/sth: What’s it like studying in Spain? This new girlfriend of his—what’s she like?
3. Used to show what is usual or typical for sb: It’s just like her to tell everyone about it.
4. In the same way as sb/sth: Students were angry at being treated like children. He ran like the wind (= very fast). You do it like this. I, like everyone else, had read these stories in the press. Don’t look at me like that. (Informal) The candles are arranged like so (= in this way).
5. For example: Anti-utopian novels like ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’
More like …: used to give a number or an amount that is more accurate than one previously mentioned: He believes the figure should be more like $10 million.
More like (it) (Informal)
1. Better; more acceptable: This is more like it! Real food.
2. Used to give what you think is a better description of sth: Just talking? Arguing more like it.
What is sb like: (BrE, Informal) used to say that sb has done sth annoying, silly, etc.: Oh, what am I like? I just completely forgot it.
How would you like it: used to emphasize that sth bad has happened to you and you want some sympathy: How would you like it if someone called you a liar?
If you like (Informal)
1. Used to politely agree to sth or to suggest sth: ‘Shall we stop now?’ ‘If you like.’ If you like, we could go out this evening.
2. Used when you express sth in a new way or when you are not confident about sth: It was, if you like, the dawn of a new era.
I like that! (Old-fashioned, Informal) used to protest that sth that has been said is not true or fair: ‘She called you a cheat.’ ‘Well, I like that!’
I / I’d like to think: used to say that you hope or believe that sth is true: I like to think I’m broad-minded.
1. In the same way as: No one sings the blues like she did. It didn’t turn out like I intended. Like I said (= as I said before), you’re always welcome to stay.
2. As if: She acts like she owns the place.
1. Likes [pl.] the things that you like: We all have different likes and dislikes.
2. [Sing.] a person or thing that is similar to another: jazz, rock and the like (= similar types of music). A man whose like we shall not see again. You’re not comparing like with like.
3. The likes of sb/sth (Informal) used to refer to sb/sth that is considered as a type, especially one that is considered as good as sb/sth else: She didn’t want to associate with the likes of me.
[Only before noun] (Formal) having similar qualities to another person or thing: a chance to meet people of like mind (= with similar interests and opinions). She responded in like manner.
1. Used in very informal speech, for example when you are thinking what to say next, explaining sth, or giving an example of sth: It was, like, weird. It was kind of scary, like. It’s really hard. Like I have no time for my own work.
2. I’m, he’s, she’s, etc. ~ used in very informal speech, to mean ‘I say’, ‘he / she says’, etc.: And then I’m like ‘No Way!’
3. Used in Informal speech instead of as to say that sth happens in the same way: There was silence, but not like before.
(As) like as not/ like enough/ most / very like: (Old-fashioned) quite probably: She would be in bed by now, as like as not.

21. BACK
1. [Usually sing.] back (of sth) the part or area of sth that is furthest from the front: We could only get seats at the back (= of the room). I found some old photos at the back of the drawer. He was shot in the back of the knee. The house has three bedrooms at the front and two at the back. (BrE) There’s room for three people in the back. (NAmE) There’s room for three people in back. (BrE) If you’d like to come round the back (= to the area behind the house), I’ll show you the garden.
2. [Usually sing.] back (of sth) the part of a piece of paper, etc. that is on the opposite side to the one that has Information or the most important Information on it: Write your name on the back of the cheque.
3. [Usually sing.] back (of sth) the last few pages of a book, etc.: The television guide is at the back of the paper.
4. (In sports) a player whose main role is to defend their team’s goal.
Back and forth: from one place to another and back again repeatedly: ferries sailing back and forth between the islands
Back in the day: in the past: My dad’s always talking about how great everything was back in the day.
Back in the days: at a particular time in the past: I was a fan back in the days when the band wasn’t yet famous.
Back of sth: (NAmE, Informal) behind sth: the houses back of the church.
At / in the back of your mind: if a thought, etc. is at the back of your mind, you are aware of it but it is not what you are mainly thinking about.
The back of beyond: (Informal) a place that is a long way from other houses, towns, etc.
Back to back
1. If two people stand back to back, they stand with their backs facing or touching each other.
2. If two or more things happen back to back, they happen one after the other.
Back to front (BrE) (NAmE backwards): if you put on a piece of clothing back to front, you make a mistake and put the back where the front should be: I think you’ve got that sweater on back to front.
Be glad, etc. to see the back of sb/sth: (Informal, especially BrE) to be happy that you will not have to deal with or see sb/sth again because you do not like them or it: Was I pleased to see the back of her!
Behind sb’s back: without sb’s knowledge or permission: Have you been talking about me behind my back? They went ahead and sold it behind my back.
Be on sb’s back: (Informal) to keep asking or telling sb to do sth that they do not want to do, in a way that they find annoying
Break the back of sth: to finish the largest or most important part of a task.
Get / put sb’s back up: (Informal) to annoy sb: That sort of attitude really gets my back up!
Get off sb’s back: (Informal) to stop annoying sb, for example by criticizing them, or asking them to do sth: Just get off my back, will you!
Have your back to the wall: (Informal) to be in a difficult situation in which you are forced to do sth but are unable to make the choices that you would like.
Off the back of a lorry: (BrE, Informal, humorous) goods that fell off the back of a lorry were probably stolen. People say or accept that they came ‘off the back of a lorry’ to avoid saying or asking where they really came from.
On the back of sth: as a result of an achievement or a success: The profits growth came on the back of a 26 per cent rise in sales.
(Flat) on your back: (Informal) in bed because you are ill / sick: She’s been flat on her back for over a week now. (Figurative) The UK market was flat on its back (= business was very bad).
Put your back into sth: to use a lot of effort and energy on a particular task.
Turn your back: to turn so that you are facing in the opposite direction.
Turn your back on sb/sth
1. To move so that you are standing or sitting with your back facing sb/sth: When on stage, try not to turn your back on the audience.
2. To reject sb/sth that you have previously been connected with: She turned her back on them when they needed her.
[Only before noun]
1. Located behind or at the back of sth: We were sitting in the back row. Back teeth, a back room (= one at the back of a building) the back page of a newspaper.
2. Of or from a past time: a back number of the magazine.
3. Owed for a time in the past: back pay / taxes / rent.
On the back burner: (Informal) (of an idea, a plan, etc.) left for the present time, to be done or considered later.
1. Away from the front or centre: behind you: I stepped back to let them pass. Sit back and relax. You’ve combed your hair back. He turned and looked back. She fell back towards the end of the race.
2. At a distance away from sth: The barriers kept the crowd back. Stand back and give me some room.
3. Under control: prevented from being expressed or coming out: He could no longer hold back his tears.
4. To or into the place, condition, situation or activity where sb/sth was before: Put the book back on the shelf. Please give me my ball back. He’ll be back on Monday. It takes me an hour to walk there and back. Could you go back to the beginning of the story? She woke up briefly and then went back to sleep. We were right back where we started, only this time without any money.
5. In or into the past: ago: The village has a history going back to the Middle Ages. She left back in November. That was a few years back.
6. At a place previously left or mentioned: We should have turned left five kilometres back. Back at home, her parents were worried. I can’t wait to get back home.
7. In return or reply: If he kicks me, I’ll kick him back. Could you call back later, please?
Back the wrong horse: (BrE) to support sb/sth that is not successful.
Back away (from sb/sth): to move away backwards from sb/sth that is frightening or unpleasant: to avoid doing sth that is unpleasant.
Back down (on / from sth) (NAmE also back off): to take back a demand, an opinion, etc. that other people are strongly opposed to; to admit defeat: She refused to back down on a point of principle.
Back off
1. To move backwards in order to get away from sb/sth frightening or unpleasant: As the riot police approached the crowd backed off.
2. To stop threatening, criticizing or annoying sb: Back off! There’s no need to yell at me. The press have agreed to back off and leave the couple alone.
Back off (from sth): to choose not to take action, in order to avoid a difficult situation: The government backed off from a confrontation.
Back onto sth: BrE) (of a building) to have sth directly behind it: Our house backs onto the river.
Back out (of sth): to decide that you are no longer going to take part in sth that has been agreed: He lost confidence and backed out of the deal at the last minute.
Back up/ back sth up: to move backwards, especially in a vehicle: You can back up another two feet or so. I backed the car up to the door.
Back sb/sth up
1. To support sb/sth; to say that what sb says, etc. is true: I’ll back you up if they don’t believe you. The writer doesn’t back up his opinions with examples.
2. To provide support for sb/sth: two doctors backed up by a team of nurses. The rebels backed up their demands with threats.
Back sth up: (computing) to prepare a second copy of a file, program, etc. that can be used if the main one fails or needs extra support.
At the back / at the rear / behind
At the back and at the rear have a similar meaning, but at the rear is used more in formal or official language: What’s that at the back of the fridge? Smoking is only allowed at the rear of the aircraft. It is more usual to talk about the back door of a house but the rear exit of an aircraft or public building. If something is behind something else it is near to the back of it but not part of it. Compare: Our room was at the back of the hotel and there’s a lovely wood just behind our hotel.

1. From one end or side of sth/sb to the other: The burglar got in through the window. The bullet went straight through him. Her knees had gone through (= made holes in) her jeans. The sand ran through (= between) my fingers. The path led through the trees to the river. The doctor pushed his way through the crowd. The Charles River flows through Boston.
2. See, hear, etc. sth to see, hear, etc. sth from the other side of an object or a substance: I couldn’t hear their conversation through the wall. He could just make out three people through the mist.
3. From the beginning to the end of an activity, a situation or a period of time: The children are too young to sit through a concert. He will not live through the night. I’m halfway through (= reading) her second novel.
4. Past a barrier stage or test: Go through this gate, and you’ll see the house on your left. He drove through a red light (= passed it when he should have stopped). First I have to get through the exams. The bill had a difficult passage through Parliament. I’d never have got through it all (= a difficult situation) without you.
5. (Also Informal thru) (both NAmE) until, and including: We’ll be in New York Tuesday through Friday
6. By means of; because of: You can only achieve success through hard work. It was through him (= as a result of his help) that I got the job. The accident happened through no fault of mine.
HELP NOTE: For the special uses of through in phrasal verbs, look at the entries for the verbs. For example carry sth through is in the phrasal verb section at carry.
1. From one end or side of sth to the other: Put the coffee in the filter and let the water run through. The tyre’s flat—the nail has gone right through. The onlookers stood aside to let the paramedics through. The flood was too deep to drive through.
2. From the beginning to the end of a thing or period of time: Don’t tell me how it ends—I haven’t read it all the way through yet. I expect I’ll struggle through until payday.
3. Past a barrier stage or test: The lights were red but he drove straight through. Our team is through to (= has reached) the semi-finals.
4. Travelling through a place without stopping or without people having to get off one train and onto another: ‘Did you stop in Oxford on the way?’ ‘No, we drove straight through.’ This train goes straight through to York.
5. Connected by telephone: Ask to be put through to me personally. I tried to call you but I couldn’t get through.
6. Used after an adjective to mean ‘completely’: We got wet through.
Through and through: completely: in every way: He’s British through and through.
1. [Only before noun] through traffic travels from one side of a place to the other without stopping.
2. [Only before noun] a through train takes you to the final place you want to get to and you do not have to get off and get on another train.
3. [Only before noun] a through road or route is open at both ends and allows traffic to travel from one end to the other: The village lies on a busy through road. No through road (= the road is closed at one end).
4. [Not before noun] through (with sth/sb) (especially NAmE) used to show that you have finished using sth or have ended a relationship with sb: Are you through with that newspaper? Todd and I are through.

23. AWAY
1. Away (from sb/sth) to or at a distance from sb/sth in space or time: The beach is a mile away. The station is a few minutes’ walk away. Christmas is still months away.
2. To a different place or in a different direction: Go away! Put your toys away. The bright light made her look away.
3. Away (from sb/sth) not present. SYN absent: She was away from work for a week. There were ten children away yesterday. Sorry, he’s away.
4. Used after verbs to say that sth is done continuously or with a lot of energy: She was still writing away furiously when the bell went. They were soon chatting away like old friends.
5. Until disappearing completely: The water boiled away. The music faded away. They danced the night away (= all night).
6. (Sport) at the opponent’s ground or stadium: Chelsea is playing away this Saturday. An away match / game.
Away with … (literary) used to say that you would like to be rid of sb/sth: Away with all these rules and regulations!

24. ONTO
1. Used with verbs to express movement on or to a particular place or position: Move the books onto the second shelf. She stepped down from the train onto the platform.
2. Used to show that sth faces in a particular direction: The window looked out onto the terrace.
Be onto sb
1. (Informal) to know about what sb has done wrong: She knew the police would be onto them.
2. To be talking to sb, usually in order to ask or tell them sth: They’ve been onto me for ages to get a job.
Be onto sth: to know about sth or be in a situation that could lead to a good result for you: Scientists believe they are onto something big. She’s onto a good thing with that new job.
25. UPON
1. (Formal, especially BrE) = on: The decision was based upon two considerations.
HELP NOTE: Although the word upon has the same meaning as on, it is usually used in more formal contexts or in phrases such as once upon a time and row upon row of seats.
2… upon … used to emphasize that there is a large number or amount of sth: mile upon mile of dusty road, thousands upon thousands of letters
(Almost) upon you: if sth in the future is almost upon you, it is going to arrive or happen very soon: The summer season was almost upon them again.

1. Shaped like a circle or a ball: a round plate. These glasses suit people with round faces. The fruit are small and round. Rugby isn’t played with a round ball. The discovery that the world is round. The child was watching it all with big round eyes (= showing interest). A T-shirt with a round neck.
2. Having a curved shape: the round green hills of Donegal round brackets (= in writing) She had a small mouth and round pink cheeks.
3. [Only before noun] a round figure or amount is one that is given as a whole number, usually one ending in 0 or 5: Make it a round figure—say forty dollars. Two thousand is a nice round number—put that down. Well, in round figures (= not giving the exact figures) we’ve spent twenty thousand so far.
Adverb (especially BrE) (NAmE usually around) for the special uses of round in phrasal verbs, look at the verb entries. For example, the meaning of come round to sth is given in the phrasal verb section of the entry for come.
1. Moving in a circle: Everybody joins hands and dances round. How do you make the wheels go round? The children were spinning round and round. (Figurative) The thought kept going round and round in her head.
2. Measuring or marking the edge or outside of sth: a young tree measuring only 18 inches round. They’ve built a high fence all round to keep intruders out.
3. On all sides of sb/sth: A large crowd had gathered round to watch.
4. At various places in an area: People stood round waiting for something to happen.
5. In a circle or curve to face another way or the opposite way: He turned the car round and drove back again. She looked round at the sound of his voice.
6. To the other side of sth: We walked round to the back of the house. The road’s blocked—you’ll have to drive the long way round.
7. From one place, person, etc. to another: They’ve moved all the furniture round. He went round interviewing people about local traditions. Pass the biscuits round. Have we enough cups to go round?
8. (Informal) to or at a particular place, especially where sb lives: I’ll be round in an hour. We’ve invited the. Fraser’s round this evening.
Round about
1. In the area near a place: in Oxford and the villages round about.
2. Approximately: We’re leaving round about ten. A new roof will cost round about £3 000.
1. In a circle: the first woman to sail rounds the world. The earth moves round the sun.
2. On, to or from the other side of sth: Our house is round the next bend. There she is, coming round the corner. There must be a way round the problem.
3. On all sides of sb/sth; surrounding sb/sth: She put her arms round him. He had a scarf round his neck. They were all sitting round the table.
4. In or to many parts of sth: She looked all round the room.
5. To fit in with particular people, ideas, etc.: He has to organize his life round the kids.
Round here: near where you are now or where you live: There are no decent schools round here.
1. A set of events, which form part of a longer process: the next round of peace talks. The final round of voting in the election.
2. A stage in a sports competition: the qualifying rounds of the National Championships, Hewitt were knocked out of the tournament in the third round.
3. A stage in a boxing or wrestling match: The fight only lasted five rounds.
4. A complete game of golf; a complete way around the course in some other sports, such as show jumping: We played a round of golf. The first horse to jump a clear round
5. A regular series of activities: the daily round of school life. Her life is one long round of parties and fun.
6. A regular route that sb takes when delivering or collecting sth; a regular series of visits that sb makes: Dr Green was on her daily ward rounds. (BrE) a postman on his delivery round.
7. A number of drinks bought by one person for all the others in a group: a round of drinks. It’s my round (= it is my turn to pay for the next set of drinks).
8. (BrE) a whole slice of bread; sandwiches made from two whole slices of bread: Who’s for another round of toast? Two rounds of beef sandwiches.
9. A round object or piece of sth: Cut the pastry into rounds.
10. Of applause / cheers a short period during which people show their approval of sb/sth by clapping, etc.: There was a great round of applause when the dance ended.
11. A single shot from a gun; a bullet for one shot: They fired several rounds at the crowd. We only have three rounds of ammunition left.
12. (Music) a song for two or more voices in which each sings the same tune but starts at a different time.
Do / go the rounds (of sth)
1. (BrE) (NAmE make the rounds) if news or a joke does the rounds, it is passed on quickly from one person to another.
2. (BrE) (also make the rounds NAmE, BrE) to go around from place to place, especially when looking for work or support for a political campaign, etc.
In the round
1. (Of a work of art) made so that it can be seen from all sides: an opportunity to see. Can ova’s work in the round?
2. (Of a theatre or play) with the people watching all around a central stage.
1. [Vn] to go around a corner of a building, a bend in the road, etc.: The boat rounded the tip of the island. We rounded the bend at high speed.
2. To make sth into a round shape; to form into a round shape: [vn] she rounded her lips and whistled. [v] His eyes rounded with horror.
3. [Vn] sth (up / down) (to sth) to increase or decrease a number to the next highest or lowest whole number.
Round sth off (with sth)
1. (NAmE also round sth out) to finish an activity or complete sth in a good or suitable way: She rounded off the tour with a concert at Carnegie Hall.
2. To take the sharp or rough edges off sth: You can round off the corners with sandpaper.
Round on sb: to suddenly speak angrily to sb and criticize or attack them. SYN turn on: He rounded on journalists, calling them ‘a pack of vultures’.
Round sb/sth up
1. To find and gather together people, animals or things: I rounded up a few friends for a party. The cattle are rounded up in the evenings.
2. If police or soldiers round up a group of people, they find them and arrest or capture them.
1. (NAmE traffic circle, rotary) a place where two or more roads meet, forming a circle that all traffic must go around in the same direction: At the roundabout, take the second exit
2. (NAmE merry-go-round) a round platform for children to play on in a park, etc. that is pushed round.

1. Approximately: He arrived around five o’clock. The cost would be somewhere around £1 500.
2. On every side: surrounding sb/sth: I could hear laughter all around. A yard with a fence all around
3. (Especially NAmE) (BrE usually round) moving in a circle: How do you make the wheels go around?
4. (Especially NAmE) (BrE usually round) measured in a circle: an old tree that was at least ten feet around
5. In or to many places: We were all running around trying to get ready in time. This is our new office—Kay will show you around. There were papers lying around all over the floor.
6. Used to describe activities that have no real purpose: There were several young people sitting around looking bored.
7. Present in a place: available: There was more money around in those days. I knocked but there was no one around. Digital television has been around for some time now.
8. Active and well known in a sport, profession, etc.: a new tennis champion who could be around for a long time. She’s been around as a film director since the 1980s.
9. (Especially NAmE) (BrE usually round) in a circle or curve to face another way or the opposite way: She turned the car around and drove off. They looked around when he called.
Have been around: to have gained knowledge and experience of the world.
1. Surrounding sb/sth: on each side of sth: The house is built around a central courtyard. He put his arms around her.
2. On, to or from the other side of sb/sth: Our house is just around the corner. The bus came around the bend. There must be a way around the problem.
3. In a circle: They walked around the lake.
4. To fit in with particular people, ideas, etc.: I can’t arrange everything around your timetable!
5. In or to many places in an area: They walked around the town looking for a place to eat.
Around / round / about:
Around and round can often be used with the same meaning in BrE, though around is more formal: The earth goes round / around the sun. They live round / around the corner. We travelled round / around India. She turned round / around when I came in. In NAmE only around can be used in these meanings.
Around, round and about can also sometimes be used with the same meaning in BrE: The kids were running around / round / about outside. I’ve been waiting around / round / about to see her all day. In NAmE only around can be used in these meanings. About or around can be used in both BrE and NAmE to mean ‘approximately’: We left around / about 8 o’clock.

1. Earlier than sb/sth: before lunch. The day before yesterday. The year before last he won a gold medal, and the year before that he won a silver. She’s lived there since before the war. He arrived before me. She became a lawyer as her father had before her. Leave your keys at reception before departure. Something ought to have been done before now. We’ll know before long (= soon). Turn left just before (= before you reach) the bank.
2. (Rather formal) used to say that sb/sth is in a position in front of sb/sth: hey knelt before the throne. Before you: is a list of the points we have to discuss.
3. Used to say that sb/sth is ahead of sb/sth in an order or arrangement: Your name is before mine on the list. He puts his work before everything (= regards it as more important than anything else).
4. Used to say that sth is facing sb in the future: The task before us is a daunting one. The whole summer lay before me.
5. In the presence of sb who is listening, watching, etc.: He was brought before the judge. She said it before witnesses. They had the advantage of playing before their home crowd.
6. (Formal) used to say how sb reacts when they have to face sb/sth: They retreated before the enemy.
1. Earlier than the time when: Do it before you forget. Did she leave a message before she went?
2. Until: It may be many years before the situation improves. It was some time before I realized the truth.
3. Used to warn or threaten sb that sth bad could happen: Put that away before it gets broken.
4. (Formal) rather than: I’d die before I apologized!
At an earlier time; in the past; already: You should have told me so before. It had been fine the week before (= the previous week). That had happened long before (= a long time earlier). I think we’ve met before.

1. At or towards the back of sb/sth, and often hidden by it or them: Who’s the girl standing behind Jan? Stay close behind me. A small street behind the station. She glanced behind her. Don’t forget to lock the door behind you (= when you leave). The sun disappeared behind the clouds.
2. Making less progress than sb/sth: He’s behind the rest of the class in reading. We’re behind schedule (= late).
3. Giving support to or approval of sb/sth: She knew that, whatever she decided, her family was right behind her.
4. Responsible for starting or developing sth: What’s behind that happy smile (= what is causing it)? He was the man behind the plan to build a new hospital.
5. Used to say that sth is in sb’s past: The accident is behind you now, so try to forget it. She has ten years’ useful experience behind her.
1. At or towards the back of sb/sth, further back: She rode off down the road with the dog running behind. The others are a long way behind. He was shot from behind as he ran away. I had fallen so far behind that it seemed pointless trying to catch up.
2. In the place where sb/sth is or was: I was told to stay behind after school (= remain in school). This bag was left behind after the class.
3. Behind (with / in sth) late in paying money or completing work: She’s fallen behind with the payments. He was terribly behind in his work.
A person’s bottom. People often say ‘behind’ to avoid saying ‘bottom’. SYN backside: The dog bit him on his behind.

1. In or into the space separating two or more points, objects, people, etc.: I sat down between Jo and Diana. Switzerland lies between France, Germany, Austria and Italy. The paper had fallen down between the desk and the wall. (Figurative) My job is somewhere between a secretary and a personal assistant.
2. In the period of time that separates two days, years, events, etc.: It’s cheaper between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. Don’t eat between meals. Children must attend school between the ages of 5 and 16. Many changes took place between the two world wars.
3. At some point along a scale from one amount, weight, distance, etc. to another: It weighed between nine and ten kilos. The temperature remained between 25°C and 30°C all week.
4. (Of a line) separating one place from another: the border between Sweden and Norway.
5. From one place to another: We fly between Rome and Paris twice daily.
6. Used to show a connection or relationship: a difference / distinction / contrast between two things, a link between unemployment and crime. There’s a lot of bad feeling between them. I had to choose between the two jobs.
7. Shared by two or more people or things: We ate a pizza between us. This is just between you and me / between ourselves (= it is a secret).
8. By putting together the efforts or actions of two or more people or groups: We ought to be able to manage it between us.
9. Between doing sth used to show that several activities are involved: Between working full-time and taking care of the kids, he didn’t have much time for hobbies.
(Usually in between) in the space or period of time separating two or more points, objects, etc. or two dates, events, etc.: The house was near a park but there was a road in between. I see her most weekends but not very often in between.

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