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Phrasal Verbs/W

Phrasal verbs beginning with W. Select a phrasal verb for more details.

wait around

If you have to wait around for something, you have to wait a long time for it.

wait on (1)

to serve someone in a restaurant, or to act as a servant for someone and do whatever they ask you to do

wait on (2)

to wait for the results of something, or for information about something, before deciding what to do next

wait up

If you wait up, you stay up late at night waiting for something or someone.

wake up

to become conscious again after sleeping, or to make someone else become conscious after sleeping

walk out

to leave a relationship suddenly

ward off

to stop something that's harmful or dangerous from coming near

warm up (1)

to make something warmer

warm up (2)

to prepare for a sporting or artistic performance by doing exercises or practising

wash away

If something is washed away, it's carried off by the force of running water, as in a storm or a flood.

wash down

to drink something soon after eating food or while swallowing pills

wash out

If an event is washed out, it's stopped because of rain.

wash up (1) British and Australian English

If you wash up, you wash dirty dishes and cooking utensils.

wash up (2) American English

If you wash up, you wash your hands.

waste away

If you waste away, you gradually become thinner and weaker, usually because of an illness.

watch out

If you tell someone to watch out, you tell them to be careful or warn them of a danger.

watch out for

If someone tells you to watch out for something, they're warning you about it.

water down (1)

to add water to a drink to make it less strong if it's an alcoholic drink or less thick if it's a juice or a thick shake

water down (2)

to change something like the lyrics of a song or the dialogue in a movie to make it less offensive or less likely to upset people

wean off

to gradually break a bad habit by doing it less and less

wear down

to gradually make someone lose their strength and vitality

wear in

If you wear in something like a pair of shoes, you wear them for short periods until they fit properly and feel comfortable.

wear off

If something wears off, it gradually loses its effect.

wear out (1)

If something such as a shoe wears out, it gets old and damaged from being used.

wear out (2)

If something wears you out, it makes you feel tired and lacking in energy.

weed out

to find and remove people or things that are not needed or wanted

weigh down

If you're weighed down by problems or responsibilities, you feel stressed or unhappy because of them.

weigh in (1)

to be weighed before participating in a sport like boxing or horse-racing

weigh in (2)

to join a discussion by expressing a viewpoint

weigh up

to consider the good and bad points before making a decision

whip into

to create strong emotions like excitement or anger, usually by giving a speech or a performance of some sort

whip up

to create strong feelings in other people

win back

If you win something back, you get it back again after having lost it.

win over

If you win somebody over, you get them to believe you, trust you or support you.

wind down

If you wind something down, you gradually reduce it or end it.

wind up (1)

If you wind up in a certain place or situation, you find yourself there by chance or because of unexpected events.

wind up (2)

to end something like a meeting, a lecture or a discussion

wipe away

to remove something by wiping it with a tissue, a cloth or a hand

wipe out (1)

If something is wiped out, it is completely destroyed.

wipe out (2)

to kill a large number of people or animals

wise up INFORMAL

If you wise up, you realize the truth in relation to something.

work at

to try hard to achieve something, or try hard to improve your ability to do something

work off

to get rid of excess weight or a negative emotion by engaging in physical activity

work on

to spend time making, fixing or improving something

work out (1)

to think about a problem or a task and find a solution or a strategy for dealing with it

work out (2)

to do physical exercise to keep fit and healthy

work out (3)

to find the solution to a numerical problem

wrap up (1)

If you wrap something up, you cover it with a material like paper or cloth.

wrap up (2)

to finish something like a meeting or a discussion, or to conclude something like a deal or a negotiation

wrestle with

to try hard to find the solution to a difficult problem

write down

to write something on a piece of paper

write off (1)

to accept that a debt or loan won't be paid back, or that an investment has been lost

write off (2) British and Australian English

to damage a vehicle so badly that it cannot be repaired

write out

to write information on an official document before giving it to someone

write up

to write a report or an article based on notes written earlier

Contributor: Matt Errey