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
at times  Speak
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
attack verbally; begin to criticize
Henry started in on me about my jeans, which, that night, were especially raunchy.
in full swing  Speak
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
set out  Speak
display or exhibit
Thursday's federal indictment of two hackers damningly sets out the real trade problem, because are part of the government-run hacking group.
hedge fund  Speak
a limited partnership of investors that uses high risk methods
The stars of the biggest hedge funds are losing their shirts as analysts fear a major financial wipeout is imminent.
lose shirt  Speak
lose a lot of money, lose all of one's assets
The stars of the biggest hedge funds are losing their shirts as analysts fear a major financial wipeout is imminent.
woman about town  Speak
a socially active, sophisticated woman who frequents fashionable nightclubs, theaters, or restaurants
British-born media maven and woman about town Tina Brown, 64, moved to New York in the early 1980s to helm Vanity Fair.
pop up  Speak
appear suddenly, in a short time
They're popping up all over town, from the super-pricey hotel lounge to barbecue joint, bars are getting into a white truffle-infused act.
street-boy  Speak
mischievous boy, naughty boy
Grabbing my heart, this script is profound to tell a street-boy who says earthy things.
well-pressed  Speak
thoroughly or skilfully pressed
At movie events, stars often show in jeans and tees, but they both attended this screening promptly wearing.proper well-pressed clothes.
poster child  Speak
typical or good example of something
Central Florida has become the poster child for this issue, courtesy of the 23-game winning streak that has shone a light on the inequality in the sport.
courtesy of  Speak
given or allowed by, as a result of
Central Florida has become the poster child for this issue, courtesy of the 23-game winning streak that has shone a light on the inequality in the sport.
winning streak  Speak
a consecutive sequence of won games or competitions
Central Florida has become the poster child for this issue, courtesy of the 23-game winning streak that has shone a light on the inequality in the sport.
shine a light  Speak
metaphorically put the spotlight on an issue or subject so that others will notice it
Central Florida has become the poster child for this issue, courtesy of the 23-game winning streak that has shone a light on the inequality in the sport.
story line  Speak
plot of a novel, play, movie, or other narrative form
Story lines are never lacking in the annual Ohio-Michigan rivalry, the latter is looking to snap a six-game losing streak, and then knocks off Northwestern in the title game.
knock off  Speak
stop doing something, kill
Story lines are never lacking in the annual Ohio-Michigan rivalry, the latter is looking to snap a six-game losing streak, and then knocks off Northwestern in the title game.
scorched-earth  Speak
a military policy in which everything in an area are destroyed so that enemy cannot use them
The current scorched-earth politics began five years before: according to Ford, in 1982, at an alcohol-soaked party her 15-year-old self was assaulted by 17-year-old Kavanaugh, who categorically denies this.
back-alley  Speak
a narrow passage behind or between buildings
The confirmation wouldn't mean "women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids."
pass out  Speak
lose consciousness, faint
He was in the same compartment, when the other inmate appeared to pass out after snorting something.
in and out  Speak
involving inward and outward movement, especially rapid entrance and exit
He had battled addiction for years and been in and out of jail, was in pretrial custody on a number of charges, including assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats.
lead-up  Speak
an event, point, or sequence that leads up to something else
I didn't actually see the lead-up to it, but I heard the noise, saw the bus slam on the brakes, the right side of the bus windshield was shattered.
breeze-block  Speak
a large, grey brick made from ashes and cement
In a scruffy courtroom with breeze-block walls, the dock is empty, defendants no longer appear in person.
drill bit  Speak
cutting tool used to remove material to create holes
When the drill bit reaches about a mile and a half in depth, nearly six times the height of the Empire State Building, it will munch its way sideways for another two miles.
all but  Speak
very nearly
On the surface, the natural landscape is all but barren, clouds drift over a plain adorned by tumbleweed.
jet lag  Speak
tiredness by a person after a long flight across several time zones
One of the perks of business travel is frequent-flyer points; a trip may end with a large dose of jet lag, but at least some points will be earned, which can be redeemed for benefits worth 1.5 cents for each.
work ethic  Speak
the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward
Executives should stop equating the work ethic with the long working hours, work should not be frantic, a relaxed ethos in the office might work better in the long run.
weapon-wielding  Speak
holding weapon in hands and ready to use it
Matilda's ability to escape into other worlds is also a key aspect of the novel, which is at its heart an ode to literature: through books, Matilda can flee oafish relatives and weapon-wielding teachers.
crown prince  Speak
a male heir to a throne
Last year Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince pulverised Awamiyah, a rebellious town; Saudi forces shelled its 400-year-old neighbourhoods and erected siege walls to trap some 200 gunmen.
well-to-do  Speak
wealthy; prosperous
Well-to-do people praise Prince Muhammad for ridding Awamiyah of a slum infested by gun-toting criminals, which appealed to landless peasants in Eastern Province.
lump with  Speak
put someone or something in the same group or category as some other person or thing
The revival of Ponte is lumped in with the gentrification taking place in parts of inner-city Johannesburg, where hipsters gather at a market on Sundays to coo over minimalist lampshades.
in chaos  Speak
overturned, inverted
Although the signs of decline may not yet be evident on the pitch, Latin American football is in chaos, with financial and administrative problems that make the Europeans' troubles seem trifling.
national side  Speak
national team, sports team that is the representative of the whole nation rather than a school or club
Even the celebrated national side is now routinely barracked when it plays at home, so that it has taken to staging its games in provincial towns, where it can hope for a warmer reception than in Rio.
hold on  Speak
stop, keep, persist, grasp
For him, winning titles is just a weapon to make money; lest this sound a little bloodless to the fans, Mr Zohar explains that he aims to get Flamengo back to the point where it can hold on to its best players.
up sticks  Speak
take all the things that you own and go and live in a different place
Many startups are branching out into new places and those who stay have broader horizons: put more money outside Bay Area; but Peter, a high-profile venture capitalist, is among those upping sticks.
akin to  Speak
very similar to something
Despite their mechanical complexity and the need for piloting skills akin to riding a unicycle, a helicopter’s idiosyncrasies can quickly be forgiven.
put out  Speak
extinguish, stamp out, exterminate, wipe out
Civilian roles are just as vital, from rescuing people stranded on mountains, from putting out wildfires to carrying people and presidents to and from places where there are no runways.
stand a chance  Speak
have a prospect of success or survival
Nor would most hovering drones stand a chance in the intense storms and blizzards that helicopters sometimes have to fly into.
weigh down  Speak
make someone heavy and unable to move easily
By tilting the rotors forward, Bell’s V-280 can nip along at 520kph and has a range of almost 1,500km, even when weighed down by four crew and 14 fully-kitted combat troops.
concentrate mind  Speak
make one think very clearly
They need no persuading of the dangers of adventurism, which has been concentrating minds in the alliance since 2014 when President Putin annexed Crimea and fomented war in eastern Ukraine.
big name  Speak
a person who is famous in a certain sphere
Hard-working even by the standards of big name chief executives, he claimed that his customary garb of a crumpled black sweater saved him wasting time choosing a suit.
beat down  Speak
radiate intense heat and brightness, of the sun
The sun beats down on a queue of punters outside the Espace pachinko parlour in central Tokyo; inside is an air-conditioned oasis.
slice through  Speak
cut through something with slicing motions
The moment of death had obsessed him from childhood, when he had acquired that slight crouch, protecting his neck from the shining blade of the guillotine that might slice through.
turn away  Speak
move or cause to move in a different direction
In middle age he could not turn away from Goya’s depictions of bayonetings; in old age he watched without flinching as Islamist terrorists crudely sawed off the heads of victims.
crypto-currency  Speak
a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency
They are easily confused with the many startups that have recently launched new crypto currencies via an initial coin offering (ICO), a much hyped form of crowdfunding.
count towards  Speak
be part of what is needed to complete or achieve something
It advocated closing a loophole which means that money spent on hiring staff does not count towards a campaign’s spending limits.
high margin  Speak
giving a high level of profit compared to the amount of money spent on doing them
Many e-bikes are powered by gear -the highest margin component- from Bosch, a German conglomerate, which only started tinkering with the technology in 2009.
start off  Speak
begin working, operating, or dealing with something
This starts off as a thick gel, but then hardens into a solid matrix that binds the aggregates together.
foul-up  Speak
a mistake resulting in confusion
Global public-health authorities vowed to learn from previous catastrophic foul-up; a fresh outbreak of Ebola will reveal whether they have done so.
high-profile  Speak
attracting much attention or publicity
This year, following the fall of one of the festival's most high-profile regulars, Harvey Weinstein, the event’s ingrained sexism was scrutinised and criticised more intently than ever.
low-key  Speak
not elaborate, showy, or intensive
modest or restrained
Mr Kore-Eda is one of world cinema's most humane and skilful storytellers, and "Shoplifters" is another of his low-key, acutely observed, ultimately devastating studies of contemporary Japanese life.
count on  Speak
figure, estimate, calculate, forecast, reckon
In the past, companies with sloppy approaches have been able to count on their customers' lack of interest in cybersecurity which has dwindled over the years despite a succession of hacking scandals.
first go  Speak
doing or trying someting at first
Mr Vala decided that the party should indeed have the first go at proving a majority in the state assembly, despite the apparently insuperable arithmetic.
lock arms  Speak
join tightly with the arms on each side
The party locked arms with the third force, a regional outfit called the Janata Dal-Secular; the pairing of two parties thus claimed the right to replace the incumbent from them as chief minister.
swear someone in  Speak
administer an oath to someone who then officially begins in office
Little did he know when he was sworn in as chief minister of the Indian state of Karnataka on May 17th, but his tenure was destined to be brief.
run along  Speak
be in line with; form a line along
He unveiled a plan to rebuild southern Damascus, including areas that run along the camp's edge; some suggest relocating the Palestinians to distant scrubland.
drive out  Speak
cause or force someone or something to leave
The pursuit of purity involved vicious factional fights as real Marxists drove out renegades, revisionists and heretics.
doorstop book  Speak
a large, boring book, generally considered a classic
Publishers are producing a cascade of books on his life and thought, from doorstop book Das Kapital, to slim pamphlet Communist Manifesto.
tamp down  Speak
reduce the amount, level, size, or importance of something
The government wants to promote faiths that it views as indigenous, including Buddhism and Taoism, and to tamp down on those seen as foreign and money-grubbing.
open air  Speak
a free or unenclosed space outdoors
When the occupants of Snow Panda House were first allowed to play in the open air in mid-February, they bounded out and rolled in the white stuff.
clock in  Speak
begin work, especially by punching a time clock
Factory workers have long clocked in and out; but AI makes ubiquitous surveillance worthwhile, because every bit of data is potentially valuable.
self-contained  Speak
complete, or having all that is needed, in itself
Literally Buddha Place, Boudhanath is a village nestled within the sprawling Nepalese city; even though it's now a part of Kathmandu, it retains the self-contained cosiness of a village.
chalk up  Speak
draw or write;
rise in the value or level of something
For a long time, I bought into this anti-circle bias; and while I often strayed from the straight and narrow, I always chalked up my circuitous path to personal shortcomings.
short program  Speak
usually the first of two phases in figure skating competitions
Gabriella Papadakis's sparkling green outfit came undone in the back while she and partner were performing their short program.
screen out  Speak
remove from a group that is being examined
The surveys will be used to divide publications into buckets to screen out likely peddlers of misinformation; it's also betting on the notoriously fickle news judgment of the masses.
tuck in  Speak
push, fold so as to hide them;
eat food heartily
Families tuck in to hearty meals of sausages and rye bread, and men play cards over glasses of locally brewed beer.
result in  Speak
cause something to happen
Scientists knew that photons striking a plant’s leaves triggered a cascade that ultimately resulted in sugar production, but no one knew exactly how that worked.