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Collocation- alphabetical order m-z


Collocations beginning with M. Select a collocation for more details.

main course

the largest course in a meal

main road

a wide road with lots of traffic

main thing

the most important thing

make a bed

to neatly arrange the sheets, blankets and pillows on a bed

make a decision

to decide what to do

make a difference

to cause a situation or condition to change

make a fortune

to make a huge amount of money

make a fuss

to create unnecessary excitement or concern about something

make a living

to earn money for the things you need in life

make a mess

to create an untidy or disorganized state or situation

make a mistake

to do something that's wrong or has bad results

make a note (of)

to write down something so that you don't forget it

make a profit

to make money from business or investments

make a reservation

to book or reserve a seat on a train, a table in a restaurant, a room in a hotel, etc.

make amends

to do something to show you're sorry for your bad behaviour in the past

make an appointment

to arrange a date and time to visit an office, clinic, dentist, doctor, etc.

make an effort

to put time and energy into doing something

make an excuse

to give a reason for doing something you shouldn't do, or for not doing something you should do

make an offer

to state a price you're willing to pay for something

make arrangements

to arrange all aspects of an event such as a wedding, funeral, meeting, conference, etc.

make believe

to pretend that something is real or true

make changes

to change something in specific ways

make clear

to make something easy to understand, or to express yourself clearly

make contact

to contact a person or an organisation

make friends

to form new friendships

make love

to have sex with someone, esp. someone you love

make progress

to get closer to a goal, or to improve in ability

make room

to create space by moving something

make sb feel sth

to cause somebody to feel a certain way

make sense (1)

If an idea, plan or action "makes sense", it's sensible and rational and not stupid or likely to fail.

make sense (2)

If a sentence or statement "makes sense", it can be understood by the people who read it or hear it.

make sth easy

to cause something to be less difficult

make sure

to check so that you're sure about something

married couple

two people who are married to one another

mass market

the great majority of people who buy goods in a society

may (very) well

could or might

medical care

help given to someone who's sick or injured

medical history

all the illnesses, injuries and treatments that someone has had in the past

meet a need

to provide what is needed

meet a standard

to reach a certain standard or level of quality, safety, etc.

meet a target

to reach the number or amount set as a target, e.g. in sales, profits, savings, website traffic, etc.

meet opposition

to receive a negative response or reaction

meet with approval

to receive a positive response or reaction

mental illness

illness causing thoughts or feelings that seriously disrupt a person's normal state of mind

miles away

far away, or a long way from a particular place

miss a flight

to arrive too late to board a flight on a plane

miss a goal

to try to score a goal, but fail

miss an opportunity

to have an opportunity to do something, but fail to do it

missing in action

If someone is "missing in action", they haven't been seen or contacted since being involved in military action.

mixed feelings

different emotions, or conflicting impulses, felt at the same time

moral obligation

moral requirement to do something because you know it's the right thing to do

more or less (1)

somewhat, fairly or almost

more or less (2)


murder mystery

a book, play or film about the investigation of a murder

mysterious circumstances

circumstances that aren't understood, or haven't been revealed or explained


Collocations beginning with N. Select a collocation for more details.

nasty habit

a bad or unpleasant tendency

nasty shock

an unpleasant surprise

native country

the country in which you were born

native speaker

someone for whom a particular language is their first or native language

natural causes

If you die of natural causes, your life ends naturally and not because of an accident, murder or suicide.

natural disaster

a natural event that causes great harm, e.g. an earthquake, cyclone, tornado, etc.

natural resources

things from nature that we can use, e.g. oil, coal, rivers, lakes, trees, forests, etc.

neat and tidy

not messy

need badly

to need very much

negative attitude

an attitude that shows a critical viewpoint or a negative bias

nervous wreck

a person who's very stressed or nervous

net profit

profit remaining after taxes and costs have been deducted

net result

the final or overall effect or result of something

net worth

the total value of everything you own, including property and money, minus any debts you owe

never knew

to not know something

new generation

a new group of people or products that appeared around the same time

new job

a different job or a job you've found recently

next time

the time after this time

next-door neighbours

people living in a house next to yours

nice time

a pleasant or enjoyable experience

non-stop flight

flight that doesn't stop over on its way to a destination

not necessarily (so)

not always or not definitely

nothing else

no other thing or things

nothing much

nothing that's important

nothing wrong with

nothing that's causing a problem

nowhere near (1)

far away from

nowhere near (2)

not almost, or not similar to

null and void

having no legal effect or force


Collocations beginning with O. Select a collocation for more details.

obey an order

to do what someone orders or commands you to do

occupational hazard

a danger that people doing a particular job face

odd number

any whole number that can't be exactly divided by two, such as 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.

odd socks

socks that don't match

offer a job

to tell someone they can have a job if they want it

offer an explanation

to explain why something was done

offer condolences

to convey sympathy to the family or friends of someone who's died

offer your services

to offer your time and skills to help a person or an organization

office block

a large building that houses many offices

office hours

hours when an office is open for business

office job

a job that's done at a desk in an office

old age

the time in life after middle age

old friend

a friend you've known for a very long time

only just (1)

a very short time ago

only just (2)

by a very small amount

open an account

to start an account with a bank, credit union, building society, supplier of goods, etc.

open an investigation

to begin an investigation into something

open fire

to start shooting with a weapon

opening hours

the time during which a club, park, library, shop, gallery, etc. is open

openly gay

If you're openly gay, you don't hide your homosexuality.

opposition party

a political party that's in opposition to the party or parties in power

optional extras

special features a product can have if you pay extra for them

organic farming

farming without using artificial chemicals

overall effect

the general effect, or overall result, of something

owe an apology

If you think you owe somebody an apology, you think you should say sorry to them.

owe an explanation

If you think someone owes you an explanation, you think they should explain why they did something that badly affected you.


Collocations beginning with P. Select a collocation for more details.

pack a suitcase

to put clothes and other possessions into a suitcase

pack of cards

a full set of playing cards

painful memory

a memory that's upsetting or disturbing

painful reminder

If something's a painful reminder, it reminds you of something you find upsetting or disturbing.

painfully shy

extremely shy, or so shy that other people find it disturbing

painfully slow

extremely slow, or so slow that people become impatient

painfully thin

extremely thin, of a person or animal

pair work

a type of learning activity in which two students work together

part company (1)

to end a relationship or partnership

part company (2)

to stop travelling or spending time together and go different ways

pass (the) time

to do something to fill in time when you're bored or have nothing to do

pass a law

to bring in a new law by voting in parliament or by decree

pass a test

to not fail a test

pay a bill

to pay the amount stated on a bill

pay a visit

to visit someone or something

pay attention

to watch closely or listen carefully to someone or something

pay increase

an increase in the amount of money paid as a wage or salary

peace and quiet

no noise or disturbance

perfectly normal

not unusual at all

personal belongings

personal possessions that belong to you

phone rings

If your phone rings, it makes a noise to let you know someone's calling you.

pick your nose

to use a finger to remove dried mucus from inside your nose

piece of advice

a particular suggestion given as advice

piece of equipment

one particular item used as equipment

piece of information

a particular fact or item of information

piece of music

any musical work, including musical compositions, traditional works, improvised music, pop songs, etc.

piece of paper

one sheet or scrap of paper

place an order

put in an order to buy something

play a part

perform a particular role, or be involved in a particular way

play music

to make music with an instrument, or to broadcast recorded music

point of view

a particular perspective or way of seeing things

political prisoner

someone who's imprisoned because of their political beliefs

poor eyesight

not very good eyesight

poor health

not very good health

popular belief

an idea that most people believe is true

pose a risk

to create risk of danger or harm

pose a threat

create the threat of danger or harm

press a key

to put a finger on a key on a keyboard and press down

pretty good

quite good or fairly good

pretty well

fairly well or reasonably well

private life

aspects of someone's life that aren't related to work or other public roles

public opinion

the opinions of the majority of people in a society

pull a muscle

to injure a muscle by lifting something heavy or moving too quickly

push a button

to press a button on a machine or an appliance

put on weight

to become heavier or fatter, of a person or an animal

put out a cigarette

to stop a cigarette from burning

put out a fire

to stop a fire from burning

put up prices

to increase prices

put up wages

to increase wages

put up your hand

to raise your arm if you want to say something, ask or answer a question, show you're present, etc.


Collocations beginning with Q. Select a collocation for more details.

quality of life

the level of personal satisfaction, happiness and health in somebody's life

quick fix

a solution to a problem that can be quickly or cheaply implemented, but may not be a good or long-lasting solution

quick reply

a prompt or almost immediate reply to a letter or email

quiet life

a simple and peaceful way of living

quiet night

a night when you stay at home instead of going out

quietly confident

feeling confident, but not saying much about it

quit a job

to tell an employer you no longer want your job

quit drinking

to stop drinking alcohol

quit smoking

to stop smoking cigarettes

quite a lot

quite often, or quite a large amount

quite agree

agree completely

quite enough

as much as necessary

quite good

fairly good

quite often

fairly often

quite right

completely correct

quite sure

completely sure


Collocations beginning with R. Select a collocation for more details.

racial discrimination

unfair treatment of someone because of their race

radical reform

major and fundamental reform

rain hard

rain heavily, as during a storm or a downpour

rainy day

a day during which it rains quite a lot

raise a family

to raise one or more children in a family setting

raise doubts

to express doubts or concerns about something

raise hopes

to make somebody feel more hopeful

raise money

to collect money for a special purpose

raise questions

to bring issues or questions to somebody's attention

raise taxes

to increase the rate of taxation

raise your voice

to show anger by speaking louder than usual

rapid growth

fast growth, or growth in a short period of time

rate of return

the percentage of an original investment that is returned as profit

rave review

a very good review of a book, movie, play, concert, etc.

reach a verdict

to decide if the accused is guilty or not

reach an agreement

to finally agree after discussing or negotiating something

read aloud

to say words out loud as you read them

readily available

easy to obtain or easy to find

real life

life as it's really experienced, or life in the real world

real live

present in reality, and not in a film, on TV, etc.

real wages

the true value of wages, in terms of what you can buy with the money

reasonable explanation

an explanation that most people can accept or believe

reasonably happy

fairly pleased or reasonably satisfied

reasonably priced

for sale or rent at a fair price

reasonably well

fairly well or satisfactorily

recommend highly

to strongly recommend someone or something

regain control

to get control of something again after losing control

repair damage

to fix the damage to something

resort to violence

to use violence when other methods have failed

restore confidence

to bring back confidence, trust or belief in something

restore order

to bring back order after a period of revolt or disorder

retain control

to maintain control of, or keep control over, something

return a call

to call someone back after not answering their call

return address

a sender's address, for replying to or returning a letter or parcel

return fire

to fire back when someone's firing a weapon at you

return flight

the flight back from where your first flight took you

return home

to come back home, or to go back home

return ticket

a ticket for travelling to a place, and then back again

rhetorical question

a question that's asked to make a point, not get an answer

right away

immediately, or without delay

right now (1)

at this moment

right now (2)

immediately, or without delay

road safety

safety on roads for drivers, passengers and pedestrians

room for improvement

the possibility or need for something to improve

root cause

the main or fundamental cause of something

root crop

a plant with roots or other underground parts that can be eaten, like carrots, potatoes, ginger, etc.

rough draft

an unedited or unpolished version of an essay, book, speech, screenplay, etc.

rough estimate

an approximate estimate

rough idea

a vague or approximate idea, concept, memory, etc.

round number

any whole number that ends in 0, such as 10, 150, and 1250

run a business

to be in charge of a business

run the risk of

to do something risky, or that could have a bad result

running late

behind schedule

running low

almost used up or almost exhausted, esp. of fuel, supplies, foods, drinks, etc.

runny nose

If you've got a runny nose, liquid mucus is running from your nose.


Collocations beginning with S. Select a collocation for more details.

safe and sound

not harmed, hurt or damaged in any way

safe distance

far enough away from danger to be safe

safety hazard

something that isn't safe or creates danger

safety net

government programs that help people in trouble, esp. the poor, sick, unemployed, old, homeless, etc.

safety record

a record showing how effective safety measures have been

sales figures

figures showing the number of products sold

sales force

all the people employed to sell a company's products

satisfy a need

to give or provide what somebody needs

satisfy a requirement

to have what a requirement states or specifies

satisfy demand

to sell products in the quantities demanded by the market

save lives

to prevent deaths, or stop people from dying

save money (1)

to keep money for the future

save money (2)

to pay less money

save time

to use less time

say goodbye

to say a parting word as you leave, or as somebody else leaves

say sorry

to apologize to someone

scare tactic

a tactic that uses fear to make people behave a certain way

score a goal

to get a goal in sport

security forces

military and police forces

see reason

to see that your view is unreasonable or wrong, and reconsider

see what sb means

to understand somebody's viewpoint or observation

sense of direction

a natural ability to know which direction you're going in

sense of humour

an ability to see and express humour, or the funny side of things

serious accident

an accident in which someone is badly injured or killed

serious illness

a very harmful or dangerous illness

serious injury

a very bad injury

serious mistake

a very bad mistake

serious relationship

a romantic relationship that you take seriously

seriously damage (1)

badly damage (of material objects)

seriously damage (2)

badly affect (of non-material or abstract things)

seriously ill

very sick

seriously injured

badly hurt or injured

seriously wounded

badly hurt by a weapon

serve a purpose

to be useful, esp. in achieving an aim or performing a function

serve interests

to benefit or support the interests of someone or something

set a date

to decide the date on which something in the future will happen

set a goal

to decide what it is you'll try to achieve

set a record

to achieve a new record in sport, sales, profits, losses, etc.

set a standard

to set or establish a certain level of quality

set a table

to put forks, knives, spoons, plates, place mats, etc. onto a table before a meal is served

set an alarm

to set the time at which the alarm in a phone or alarm clock will ring

set fire to | set on fire

to make something start burning

set free

to let someone or something go free

set menu

a complete meal with several courses for a fixed price

short memory

If you have a short memory, you can forget things soon after they've happened.

social justice

fair distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges in society

social life

the part of life involving friends and social activities

solve a crime

to find out who committed a crime

solve a problem

to find the solution to a problem

spare time

time when you're free to do whatever you want to do

speedy recovery

a quicker recovery from illness or injury than usual

spend time

to do something or be somewhere for a certain time

spend your life

to use the time you have in life

stand trial

to be judged for a crime in a court of law

stay awake

to remain awake, or not go to sleep

stay put

to stay in the same place or situation

stay tuned

keep watching a television broadcast or keep listening to a radio broadcast

steady job

a job that offers constant work and a reliable income

steady relationship

a serious and stable romantic relationship

steady stream

constant sequence, or many things one after another

stiff competition

strong competition from rivals or opponents

still (be) alive

not yet dead

straight after

immediately after something happens or finishes

straight ahead

directly in front

straight answer

an honest and direct answer to a question

straight away


strictly speaking

according to a strict definition of a meaning or a regulation

strike a balance (btw)

to find a balanced position that's reasonable and fair for all or both sides

strongly support

to support or believe in somebody or something very much

sure sign

a sign or evidence that something is happening or definitely true


Collocations beginning with T. Select a collocation for more details.

take (sb's) temperature

to measure somebody's body temperature

take (sb) to court

to begin a legal case against someone

take a break

to stop doing something for a short time, e.g. to eat, rest, go to the toilet, etc.

take a call

to answer or accept an incoming telephone call

take a look

to examine, inspect or look at something

take a message

to write down or memorize a message for somebody

take a risk

to do something you know is dangerous

take a seat

to sit down on a chair, bench, sofa, etc.

take a step (1)

to put one foot in front of the other, as when walking

take a step (2)

to do something that helps to achieve a goal

take a test

to sit an examination or do a test

take action

to do something to achieve a goal or solve a problem

take advice

to do what somebody advises you to do

take ages

to take a long time

take care

be careful

take care of

to care for or look after somebody or something

take charge

to take control or assume responsibility

take drugs

to use mind-altering or mood-altering drugs

take exercise

to exercise your body for health or fitness

take hostage

to capture and threaten somebody in order to get something

take long

to take a long time to do or finish

take medicine

to swallow a tablet or syrup to cure an illness

take notes

to write notes in a lecture or when reading

take notice

to pay attention to something

take part

to be involved, or to participate in something

take place

to happen or occur

take pride in

to be proud of your talent, skills, work, achievements, etc.

take prisoner

to capture and imprison somebody, esp. in a war or battle

take sb's place

to replace somebody, or to do something instead of somebody else

take seriously

to think that somebody or something is important or deserves your full attention

take time

to take a long time

take turns

If people take turns, they do something one after the other, or alternately.

take up space

to occupy or fill up space

take your time

to take as long as you like, without rushing

tax cut

a reduction in the rate of taxation

tell a lie

to say something you know isn't true

tell a story

to share a story by reading it, recalling it, or making it up

tell sb the time

to tell somebody what time it is

tell the difference

to notice differences and be able to distinguish between similar things

tell the time

to be able to look at a clock, a sundial, stars, etc. and know what time it is

tell the truth

to say what's true or what really happened

tight budget

a budget that severely limits the amount of money that can be spent

tight grip

a firm hold

tight schedule

a schedule with very little time between appointments, meetings, etc.

time off

time away from work

top floor

the highest level or storey in a building

top priority

the most important of several issues, goals, tasks, etc.

top speed

the fastest speed that something can travel at

travel light

to travel without much luggage

try hard

to put a lot of effort into doing something

turn a corner

to go around a corner

turn around

to turn your body or head so that you're facing the opposite way


Collocations beginning with U. Select a collocation for more details.

ulterior motive

the hidden reason or purpose behind an action

ultimate goal

final objective or goal

uncertain future

a future that's likely to be worse than the present

unconditional love

love that isn't based on conditions or requirements

undergo surgery

to have a surgical procedure or operation

undergo treatment

to have treatment for a medical condition

unemployment benefit

a regular payment from the government to help someone who can't find a job

unfair advantage

an advantage that isn't fair or hasn't been earned

unfair dismissal

unjust or unfair firing of a worker

unrequited love

love you feel for someone who doesn't love you

unusually wealthy

much wealthier than other people in the same position or with the same job

upper deck

deck of a ship that's above lower decks and open to the sky

upper echelons

the highest ranks in a society or organization

upper limit

the highest level or amount allowed

upset sb's stomach

If something upsets your stomach, it causes a stomach problem that makes you feel sick.

upset stomach

If you've got an upset stomach, you feel sick in the stomach.

urban development

the building or development of towns and cities

urban renewal

the renewal of poor parts of a city by improving services and attracting investment

urban sprawl

the poorly-regulated spread of urban development into the countryside near a city

use sb's phone

to make a call on somebody else's phone

used car

a car that's already been owned by someone

utterly ridiculous

completely ridiculous or unreasonable


Collocations beginning with V. Select a collocation for more details.

vague idea

an approximate or imprecise idea

vague memory

unclear or incomplete memory

valid point

a point that most people would find reasonable and logical

valid reason

a reason that most people would find acceptable or believable

valuable contribution

an important contribution to something's development or success

valuable information

important or useful information

valuable lesson

If an experience becomes a valuable lesson, it teaches you something important.

vary widely

to vary a lot, or include very different types, amounts, degrees, etc.

vast majority

great majority, or the most by far

victory lap

a lap around a field or track to celebrate a victory

victory parade

a parade held to celebrate a victory, esp. in sports, war, politics, etc.

violent crime

a crime that causes injury or death

violent movie

a movie with many violent scenes

visiting hours

hours of the day when you can visit a hospital, prison, museum, zoo, government office, etc.

vital organs

organs that are essential for life, incl. the brain, heart, kidneys, liver and lungs

vital role

a very important role

vocal critic

a person who often criticizes something or someone in public

vocal minority

a group that voices an opinion that the majority of people don't agree with

vocal music

music that includes parts for one or more singers, with or without instruments

vocal organs

organs used when speaking or making sounds

vote against

to not support someone or something with your vote

vote for

to give someone or something your vote


Collocations beginning with W. Select a collocation for more details.

wage increase

an increase in the amount of money a wage-earner is paid

wage war

to begin a struggle or campaign to fight something

wait your turn

to wait until your turn comes

warm welcome

a friendly or positive reception

warning sign

a sign or indication that something's wrong

waste an opportunity

to not make use of an opportunity or chance

waste money

to spend money on something you don't really need or want

waste of time

something that's not worth spending time on

waste time

to spend time doing something that brings no results

waste water

used water that's discharged from factories, farms, homes, etc.

watch your weight

to be careful about what you eat so you don't put on weight

wave goodbye

to wave your hand when leaving, or when someone else is leaving

way ahead

far ahead, or a long way in front

weak point

part of something that's easy to attack or criticize

wear and tear

damage caused by normal use over time

welcome change

a pleasant or long-awaited change

well after

a long time after

well ahead

a long way ahead

well aware of

fully or completely aware or informed

well before

a long time before

well behind

a long way behind

well worth

definitely worth doing, getting, seeing, etc.

whole thing

the entire thing, or all of something

wide awake

completely awake or fully alert

wide open

fully open, of a door, window, eyes, mouth, etc.

wide range (1)

a large number of similar products, services, styles, options, etc.

wide range (2)

many different types, esp. of people, opinions, choices, results, etc.

widely used

used by many people or in many places

wild animal

an animal that's living free in its natural habitat

win a game

to beat your opponent in a game

win a war

to defeat the enemy in a war

win an award

to receive an award

win an election

to be awarded victory by those running an election

work hard

to put a lot of effort into what you're doing

work well

operate or function properly, efficiently, smoothly, etc.

working conditions

environment and conditions in which you work

worth a fortune

worth a lot of money

wrong number

an incorrect telephone number

wrong way (1)

wrong direction

wrong way (2)

incorrect method, technique, strategy, etc.


Collocations beginning with X-Z. Select a collocation for more details.

x-ray vision

the ability to see into or through objects made of non-transparent materials

yawning gap

a very wide gap

yet again

one more time, after many other times

yield results

to produce or provide results

young child

a person who's very young, but not a baby

young couple

two young people in a romantic relationship

young person

a person who's still young, but no longer a child

youthful enthusiasm

great enthusiasm that a young person feels

zero tolerance (1)

legal policy that allows politicians to set mandatory punishments that judges must apply

zero tolerance (2)

absolutely no tolerance for something

zero visibility

absolutely no visibility due to darkness, poor weather, etc.

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