100 Phrases with Meaning and Sentence

One hundred common phrases with meaning and sentence in academic reading; we select these phrases from the latest English media, with special meanings in contexts.
 100 Common Phrases in Academic Reading
by far  Speak
ad.
far and away, much more of a particular quality than anything else
By far the worst-affected state is New York which has seen 365 deaths and reports from hospitals in New York City depict a health system on the brink.
wind up  Speak
v.
conclude or finish something
There will be younger people who do unfortunately suffer more severe bouts of the illness, and wind up getting seriously ill.
come under fire  Speak
v.
be criticized, be attacked with guns
He has come under fire after US outlet NPR obtained a recording of him warning a group of wealthy constituents about the dire economic impact of the coronavirus.
free fall  Speak
v.
move under the force of gravity only; fall rapidly
The definition of success varies as per the individuals and the societies; it lures some dropouts leave school so young that they free fall in future careers.
lock down  Speak
v.
confine of prisoners to their cells, typically after an escape or to regain control during a riot
More and more countries are considering draconian measures, whether forcing all international arrivals into quarantine or locking down regions.
shoot up  Speak
v.
increase quickly by a large amount
I don't think it would be as strict as nobody in and out, but if we continue to let cases shoot up, particularly at the community level, there will be what we call mitigation.
shortfall  Speak
n.
a deficit of something required or expected
The shortfall could be stark, potentially forcing doctors to make excruciating life-or-death decisions about who would get such help.
out of the woods  Speak
ad.
out of danger or difficulty
We are not out of the woods because the virus can apparently be transmitted when people have few symptoms and very difficult to be contained.
hashtag  Speak
n.
a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign to identify messages
In an apparent refuting of their demand, the hashtag was censored the next morning by the government.
know-how  Speak
n.
practical knowledge or skill; expertise
This is not an accident or a coincidence, it is a small sample of China's ongoing campaign to siphon off American know-how and technology for its gain.
news outlet  Speak
n.
a newspaper, television company or other mass media which publishes news stories
In a bid to tackle the demand for medical services of new coronavirus, the Wuhan authorities are building new hospitals, reported by a state-owned news outlet.
getaway  Speak
n.
an escape or quick departure, especially after committing a crime  
Reed drove the getaway car, and Lee was positively identified on surveillance video while taking the laptop, investigators said.
bring to its knees  Speak
v.
almost defeat someone, or to make them extremely weak
It was also brought to its knees when Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 and the Vandals in 455.
spin-off  Speak
n.
a byproduct or incidental result of a larger project
There was talk of releasing a Star Wars film every year; of an interconnected universe stitched together through a combination of sequels, prequels, and spin-offs.
at times  Speak
ad.
at intervals: occasionally, from time to time
He became involved in missionary work in Africa at a very young age and at times stirred controversy.
media outlet  Speak
n.
a newspaper, television company or other mass media which publishes news stories
On the Internet, The media outlet has published a video purporting to show Wang pleading for leniency during a 2016 trial.
in the wake of  Speak
ad.
happening after an event or as a result of it
In the wake of his allegations, the police claimed Wang had been found guilty of fraud, who had become a tool for the west to smear his homeland.
blow cover  Speak
v.
expose true identity or motives after they had been intentionally
The spy is believed to be the first operative from the country to blow his cover in five years.
push back  Speak
v.
delay something; postpone; oppose or resist a plan
Turkey has a longstanding enmity with the Kurds and wants to push back the YPG from its border.
down to earth  Speak
a.
with no illusions or pretensions; practical and realistic
After running the roads with him for years I can confirm he is a gentle giant and a down to earth man who lives and breaths trucking and tarmac.
short-change  Speak
v.
give less than the correct amount of change to
The sequel short-changes Angelina Jolie's heroine, of the glaring green contact lenses, black horns on her head and ultra-sharp prosthetic cheekbones.
whistle-blower  Speak
n.
one who reveals something covert or who informs against another
One of Trump's efforts to support the review, a phone call with Ukraine's leader, has prompted a whistle-blower complaint and a formal impeachment inquiry.
none the less  Speak
ad.
in spite of that; nevertheless
I fancy that he made a miscalculation, and if we had not been there, his doom would none the less have been sealed.
none other than  Speak
n.
one is surprised or impressed by the person or thing one is about to mention
This person appears to have been none other than Beddington, the famous forger and cracksman.
pitch black   Speak
a.
completely dark; as black as pitch
The place was pitch black, our feet creaked and crackled over the bare planking, and my outstretched hand touched a wall from which the paper was hanging in ribbons.
tide waiter  Speak
n.
a customs inspector at a seaport
Your morning letters, if I remember right, were from a fish monger and a tide waiter.
handed-down  Speak
a.
passed on to a later generation or age
The visible manifestation of how real a century-old conflict was in places where time passed slowly, grudges died hard, and handed-down memories hung on and on.
crew cut  Speak
n.
a very short haircut for men and boys
He had a ducktail hairdo, crew cut on top, long hair greased back on the sides.
hard-core  Speak
a.
the most active or committed members of a group or movement
When he stood for a solo, he gyrated and played with a blaring tone, more like hard-core rock and roll than jazz or swing.
start in  Speak
v.
attack verbally; begin to criticize
Henry started in on me about my jeans, which, that night, were especially raunchy.
in full swing  Speak
ad.
in full operation, at the highest level of activity
In September 1960, the presidential campaign was in full swing; my homeroom and English teacher was also from Hope and, like me, a Democrat.
bite the dust  Speak
v.
fall so that your body hits the ground heavily, die, end in failure
I always thought I was good at math until I had to give up helping Chelsea with her homework when she was in ninth grade; an illusion bites the dust.
grind on  Speak
v.
continue for a long time in a wearying or tedious way
I was insecure enough without Henry grinding on me, so I sassed him back; he slugged me in the jaw as hard as he could.
last-gasp  Speak
a.
done at the last possible moment, typically in desperation
Little Rock's schools were closed in a last-gasp effort to stop integration, its kids dispersed to schools in nearby towns.
feel at home  Speak
v.
feel as if one belongs, feel accepted
I sat on the floor right in front of the TV and watched them both, transfixed; it sounds crazy, but I felt right at home in the world of politics and politicians.
tempt fate  Speak
v.
do something that is risky or dangerous
I knew there was one mean ram we had to avoid, but we decided to tempt fate, a big mistake.
to no avail  Speak
ad.
without success
He jingled too hard, and one of the dimes fell out; he looked for that dime for hours to no avail.
peek into  Speak
v.
take a brief look, glance
It's for those, skill levels ranging from hobbyist and student to expert, who want to peek into the future and see what kinds of tech will be essential to every industry.
after hours  Speak
a.
after normal working or opening hours, typically those of bars and nightclubs
If this is your first time experiencing its sizzling after hours delight, take a moment to browse through a few of our favorite posts from the past few months.
on the skids  Speak
ad.
in a bad state; failing
It may be a matter of burying his head in the sand rather than facing the proposition of a church that's on the skids.
up-and-coming  Speak
a.
making good progress and likely to become successful
You'd have to be a complete moron to be an up-and-coming celebrity who gets involved in the church without Googling it.
sign off  Speak
v.
approve or acknowledge something by or as if by a signature
Prospective employees at Immanuel are required to sign off on a series of values, including those that denounce homosexual and affirm traditional marriage.
lance corporal  Speak
n.
military rank, below corporal, typically the lowest non-commissioned officer
After enlisting in the Marines after high school, he served as a lance corporal and tank crewman, earning three medals.
plead guilty to  Speak
v.
state that one is guilty of a crime before a court of law
He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing charges and was ordered to be released from Kent County Correctional Facility.
shed light on  Speak
v.
help to explain something
Were these rear yards once connected as a thoroughfare? Alas, old maps of Bushwick don't shed any light on the situation.
take a drag  Speak
v.
inhale smoke from something, especially a cigarette
The 6-second clip shows a young woman answering a question from someone off-camera after taking a drag off what appears to be a cigarette.
off-camera  Speak
a.
not being filmed or televised
The 6-second clip shows a young woman answering a question from someone off-camera after taking a drag off what appears to be a cigarette.
rule out  Speak
v.
exclude; prevent, make impossible
She wouldn't rule out President Trump being indicted while in office, adding that it's an open discussion in terms of the law.
full-on  Speak
a.
not limited in any way, fully developed
For a Vogue cover girl, this pricey ensemble is pretty much par for the course; most people, however, wouldn't choose to go sledding in full-on evening wear.
ever closer  Speak
a.
closer than it has been before
As we creep ever closer to Dec. 25, people are hoping there is at least a light dusting of snow on the ground for the biggest gift-giving holiday of the year.
grow accustomed to  Speak
v.
grow used to, adjust to a different situation or condition
Millions of users of Amazon's Echo speakers have grown accustomed to the soothing strains of Alexa, the human-sounding virtual assistant.