Phrasal-Verbs – Letter B

–  Phrasal-Verbs & Verb Phrases – Letter B  –


(to) Bear The Brunt Of (something) – Since the word “brunt” represents the “worst” or most significant part of something (which is usually thought of as being kind of “shitty” or “bad”), and “to bear” something (not the big furry animal that steals picnic baskets) means (in this phrase):  “to endure“.  So to bear the brunt of something means to have to endure or “deal with” the worst part of it…  “The middle-class tax-payer has to bear the brunt of the expenses for both the rich AND the poor.”

(to) Become Jaded – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which just means that one has experienced so much of a certain type of experience (usually “bad”) that that person no longer is emotionally affected by the situation, even though a typical person would probably be VERY affected by it…  “I have heard so many ridiculous, stupid, and completely immature excuses from some of my students about why they can’t come to class or why they missed a certain class and then would like to reschedule, even though it is taking away from my time which I do not get paid for, that I have become completely jaded and no longer care about what they have to say.”

(to) Blow A Tire – It is possible to get a “flat tire” at any time, however to get a “flat tire” while one is driving (usually in a semi- to fully-dramatic way, we say…  “I *blew a tire* and nearly got into an accident as I was driving down the highway.”

(to) Blow It – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which means:  To fail; to do something really poorly; to miss an opportunity; to make an amateur mistake… “When I was in my twenties, I was actually fairly popular with the ladies, but unfortunately, I was also very shy and if I really liked the girl, I had no idea how to act or behave, so my genius remedy was to get drunk.  Because of this completely ineffective strategy, nearly every time I really liked a girl or wanted to succeed, I usually *blew it*.  And of course, when I didn’t care, I was usually successful…  It took me years to make the connection.”

(to) Bomb – This is a phrase that was probably started in the world of “Stand-Up Comedy”.  Whenever a comedian had a performance which s/he considered to be a complete failure, s/he would say that s/he *bombed*.  Now the same phrase can be used to talk about any situation wherein someone performed very badly or something was a failure.  –  (Not to be confused with the Slang Adjective of describing something as “The Bomb“)

(to) Break Even – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is used to describe the moment when a person or business gets back every amount of whatever investment was made, but has still not made a profit…  In other words, if the operating expenses for one day in a business is $250, then the moment that the business has taken in $250 dollars worth of income, then that business has, at that point, *broken even*.  Basically to *Break Even* is to return to zero.  Anything over that is profit.

(to) Break The Ice – This phrase is in reference to doing or (usually) saying something which relieves the tension in a situation, but is used almost predominantly to refer to the situation of meeting someone for the first time (socially or in business.)  There are a couple reasons why we say this.  First of all, in uncomfortable situations, a person is not relaxed.  Ice is also rigid, which is an antonym of being relaxed, but more than this, we often refer to the comfortable feeling between people as a kind of “warmth” and it should be plainly obvious that ice is not warm…  Also, the thing that is said to *break the ice* is not necessarily the “cure” for the situation, but is done in order to start the process.  And most people understand that ice, broken into many smaller pieces, melts much faster than the same amount of ice in one large block.

(to) Bridge (the) Gap – Since the word “gap” is figuratively used to refer to some “difference” or “discrepancy” between two things or ideas, this then, is an idiomatic verb phrase used to describe some thing/idea/philosophy/process which serves to make that difference or discrepancy smaller or less pronounced…  “I think that one of the greatest things about Disney Land and Disney Word, is that visiting a place like that, serves to *bridge the gap* between old and young, as places like that are fun for people of all ages.”

(to) Bug (someone) – As a bug flying around your head is really annoying and bothersome – this phrasal verb is used to mean:  To annoy someone…  “It really *bugs* me when you keep asking me ‘why?’ over and over again.  Go play outside!”

(to) Burn The Midnight Oil – This is an idiomatic verb phrase which means to be working very late.  This come from the fact that before electricity was made readily available to (nearly) everyone, people used to use oil lamps to light their homes.

(to) Bury The Hatchet – This is a phrase which (as I was taught when I was young) was a Native American ceremony between warring tribes who wish to make peace with each other.  So we use this phrase to mean:  “To Make Peace” with someone…  “She hadn’t spoken to her mother for years, but when she got sick, she thought that it was time to *bury the hatchet*.”

(to) Butt Heads – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is derived from what male goats and rams do in nature when they are trying to establish dominance.  The word “butt” has nothing to do with the slang term for the body part that we sit on, but is another way of saying to “hit” (very aggressively.)  So the way this is used is to describe when two people disagree, quite stubbornly on things, and usually do not come to any compromise…  “Bob and I tend to *butt heads* on a lot of issues but when it comes to getting the work done, we manage to leave our differences aside.”

(to) Cut The Bullshit – See:  Phrasal Verbs – Letter “C”, for “Cut”

(to) Kick The Bucket – See:  Phrasal Verbs – Letter “K”, for “Kick”

  • (to) Tick All The Boxes –This is an Idiomatic Adjectival Verb Phrase.  Though the word “tick” is a verb, this is not describing an action.  Instead it is using the idea of an action to describe the thing.  “Ticking Boxes” is something that is done in a check-list to ensure that something meets all requirements or is up to specification…  So to say that something “Ticks All The Boxes” means that whatever is being described has all of the things necessary to fulfill certain requirements.  –  (See Also: “(to) Hit/Punch/Push All the Right Buttons“)

–  ( Phrasal-Verbs – Letter B )  –

What's On Your Mind