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

save up

to put something aside for the future

screw up INFORMAL 

If you screw something up, you ruin it or you do it the wrong way.

seal off

to stop people from going into an area or a building, often because it isn't safe

see about

If you see about something, you make an effort to arrange it or organise it.

see off

If you see somebody off, you go to the place from where they're beginning a journey, like an airport or a railway station, and wish them well as they leave.

see out (1)

If you see someone out, you accompany them out of a room or a building when they're leaving.

see out (2)

to continue until the end of a particular period of time or until the end of a contract or an activity

see through (1)

If you see through something or someone, you realize that you are being deceived or tricked, and you aren't fooled.

see through (2)

If you see something through, you continue with it right to the end.

see to

If you see to something, you take responsibility for it and make sure it's done.

sell off

to sell assets or belongings, often for a low price because you need money quickly

sell out

to sell all the stock of something, and have none left

send back

If you send back something that's been delivered to you, you return it because there's a problem with it.

send for

to ask for someone to come to you, or to ask for something to be sent to you

send off (1)

If you send something off, you post it or send it by a courier service.

send off (2)

If a referee or an umpire sends off a player, the player has to leave the field or court because they've done something wrong.

set about

to begin doing something that will probably take a lot of effort or a long time

set aside

to keep a portion of something for use in the future

set back (1)

to make something happen more slowly, or at a later time, than it would have

set back (2) INFORMAL

If something has set you back fifty dollars, it has cost you fifty dollars.

set down

If you set something down, you put it in writing.

set off (1)

to begin a journey

set off (2)

to make something explode or blow up

set out (1)

to begin doing something with a definite objective or aim in mind

set out (2)

to begin a journey

set out (3)

to explain the details of something, especially in writing

set up (1)

to start a company, a foundation, or an organization of some sort

set up (2)

to put together or arrange the parts of something before using it

set up (3)

to make the necessary arrangements for an event or activity

settle down (1)

to become calm and quiet, especially after being excited or noisy

settle down (2)

to start living a conventional life with a steady job and a stable partner, especially after getting married

settle for

to accept something, even though it isn't what you really want

settle in

to begin to feel comfortable in a new situation, such as a new home, a new job, or a new school

shake off

to get rid of something that's causing you problems, such as a sickness, a fear, a bad image, a bad reputation, etc.

shake up (1)

to make big changes to an organisation and the way it's run, usually to improve it

shake up (2)

to upset or shock someone

shoot up

to quickly increase in size, number or level

shop around

If you shop around, you go to several shops to find the lowest price for something you want.

show off

to do something to get attention or admiration, but in a way that annoys some people

show up

to arrive at an event or a place where people are gathering

shut down

to close something like a factory, school or hospital, usually forever

shut off

If a machine, a system or a supply shuts off, or is shut off by someone, it stops.

shut out (1)

to stop someone or something from entering a room or a building

shut out (2)

to stop yourself thinking about or feeling something that upsets you or hurts you

shut up

to stop talking or stop making noise

sign in

to sign a register when you visit a place, or to log in when you visit a website

sign up

If you sign up to something like a website or a gym, you become a member.

sit back

to do nothing instead of making an effort to get what you want

sit down

to lower yourself into a sitting position on a seat or on the ground

sit in for

to take someone's place when they are absent

sit in on

If you sit in on something like a meeting or a class, you attend to see what happens, without joining in.

sit through

If you sit through something like a long speech or a boring show, you wait until it's over before leaving, even though you're not enjoying it.

sit up (1)

If you sit up, you get up into a sitting position after you've been lying down.

sit up (2) 

to not go to bed until later than usual

size up

to observe carefully and then form an opinion about a person or a situation

sleep together

to have sex together

sleep with

to have sex with someone

slip up

to make a small mistake, usually because of carelessness

slow down

to become slower, or to make someone or something go slower

smell of

to have a particular smell

snap up

to get something quickly so you don't miss out

sober up

to become sober again after drinking too much alcohol

sort out (1)

If you sort things out, you arrange them into some sort of order.

sort out (2)

If you sort something out, you make arrangements for it or you organize it.

speak out

If you speak out, you publicly state your position on an issue, or publicly oppose or defend someone or something.

speak up (1)

to speak louder

speak up (2)

If you speak up, you publicly state your position on an issue, or publicly oppose or defend someone or something.

speed up

to move faster, or to increase the speed of something

spell out

If you spell something out, you explain it slowly and very clearly so that everyone can understand.

spread out

If a group of people spread out, they move apart so that there's more space between them.

stamp out

to stop something bad or harmful by taking strong action against it

stand by (1)

If you're standing by, you're ready to do something or help somebody.

stand by (2)

If you stand by someone, you support them or help them if they're in some sort of trouble.

stand by (3)

to do nothing to stop something wrong or something bad from happening

stand down 

to resign or retire from a job or a position

stand for (1)

If letters or symbols stand for something, they represent that thing.

stand for (2)

If a person or an organisation stands for certain ideals or principles, they believe in and support those ideals or principles.

stand for (3)

If you won't stand for something, you won't accept it or allow it to happen.

stand out

If somebody stands out, they are easy to see because there is something unusual about the way they look or the way they behave.

stand up

to get to your feet from a lying or sitting position

stand up for

to defend an idea or a person against criticism or attack

start off

to begin in a particular way or with a particular act

start out

to begin a life or a career in a particular way

start up

to create and run an organization such as a business, a club, a band, etc.

stay away from

If you stay away from something or someone, you don't go near the thing or the person.

stay up

If you stay up, you don't go to bed at the usual time.

step down

to resign from a job or a position

step up

to increase the level or strength of something

stick at 

If you stick at something, you continue to do it even if it's difficult or it's taking a long time.

stick out (1)

If something sticks out, it comes out beyond the edge or the end of something.

stick out (2)

to move part of your body out and away from the rest of your body

stick to (1)

If you stick to something, you don't stop doing it or you don't stop trying to do it.

stick to (2)

If you stick to something like a political party, a sporting club, a job, or even a favorite food or colour, you don't change to another one.

stick up for

If you stick up for someone who's being criticized or attacked verbally, you defend or support them.

stick with

to continue with the same thing, instead of changing to something else

stir up

to cause trouble among people or to cause bad feelings to arise

stop over

to stop at a place and stay there for one or two days while on your way to somewhere else

storm out

to leave a place quickly when you are angry or upset about something

sum up

If you sum up something, you give a quick summary of it.

switch off

to turn something off with a switch

switch on

to turn something on with a switch

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