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100 MEDICAL ENGLISH PHRASAL VERBS AND THEIR MEANINGS

  1. attend to
    treat / tend
    The nurse attended to Mr Jones by adjusting his drip.
  2. bend down
    bend to the ground
    Paula bent down and picked up the stethoscope.
  3. bend over
    bend at the waist
    Could you bend over and then straighten up, please?
  4. black out
    become unconscious / faint
    Roger blacked out and collapsed into his armchair.
  5. block up
    obstruct
    His arteries had blocked up, inhibiting blood flow.
  6. break down
    digest / stop functioning
    She was having difficulty breaking down solid food.
  7. break out in
    suddenly be covered in sth
    Alan broke out in a rash due to an allergy.
  8. breathe in / out
    inhale / exhale
    Breathe in slowly, hold it, then breathe out.
  9. bring up
    regurgitate / mention
    I’ve been bringing up phlegm all morning.
  10. build up
    accumulate
    You must build up immunity by eating healthily.
  11. burn out
    become exhausted
    Jason burnt out due to his excessive work schedule.
  12. burn up
    consume, e.g. calories
    How many calories have you burnt up today?
  13. calm down
    become calmer / pacify
    You need to calm down and listen to the doctor.
  14. care for
    treat / tend
    My dad cares for his wife, who has Alzheimer’s.
  15. carry out
    perform, e.g. a procedure
    They’ll carry out the tests first thing in the morning.
  16. check on
    monitor
    I’ll be back in an hour to check on your progress.
  17. chill out
    unwind
    Just chill out for a few days and try to get some rest.
  18. clear up
    disappear
    I’m so glad your rash is clearing up.
  19. clog up
    become blocked
    Her pores are clogged up with dead skin.
  20. come down with
    develop, e.g. an illness
    Alan came down with the flu last week.
  21. come on
    start, e.g. a cold
    Amy could feel that a cold was coming on.
  22. come round / to
    become conscious
    Let me know when grandma comes round.
  23. conk out
    fall asleep
    Look – Jenny’s conked out. She must’ve been exhausted.
  24. cough up
    expectorate
    My father has been coughing up blood for a while now.
  25. cut out
    eliminate, e.g. sugar
    You need to cut out sugar as far as you possibly can.
  26. dose up
    give / take medication
    Oliver is in bed dosed up on painkillers.
  27. drop off
    fall asleep
    Your daughter dropped off at about eight o’clock.
  28. eat away at
    erode
    Yes, the cancer has been eating away at your bones.
  29. ebb away
    get weaker gradually
    His life is slowly ebbing away before our very eyes.
  30. fall apart
    break into pieces
    Since dad died my life has fallen apart.
  31. fall down
    collapse
    Uncle Jim fell down and broke his back.
  32. fall over
    stumble / trip
    I was jogging, then I fell over and landed on my hand.
  33. fatten up
    increase weight
    We need to fatten you up before you leave hospital.
  34. fight off
    battle
    Theresa is currently fighting off leukaemia.
  35. fill up
    become full
    We’ll have to fill up two test tubes with your blood.
  36. flare up
    return
    It appears that her eczema has flared up badly again.
  37. follow up on
    take further action
    Call back next week so we can follow up on your results.
  38. get around
    move / be mobile
    Grandpa is finding it hard to get around at the moment.
  39. get over
    recover / overcome
    Fantastic that you have managed to get over your illness!
  40. get up
    rise
    Can you get up and walk to the wall and back, please.
  41. give up
    quit
    Don’t give up! You’ve nearly finished your treatment.
  42. go away
    disappear
    I was really hoping it would go away without medication.
  43. go through
    experience / suffer
    It’s a shame she had to go through such pain, isn’t it?
  44. grow up
    become an adult
    When I grow up I want to be a surgeon, like you!
  45. gulp down
    swallow quickly
    If you gulp down the medicine quickly, you won’t taste it.
  46. hold out
    offer, e.g. yr hand
    Hold out your hand and try to grab the rail.
  47. hook up
    connect
    They hooked dad up to the life support machine.
  48. keel over
    collapse / fall down suddenly
    All of a sudden Alison keeled over and hit the floor.
  49. kneel down
    go down on one or both knees
    Auntie was kneeling down but couldn’t get up again.
  50. knock out
    become unconscious
    The combination of pills knocked him out completely.
  1. lay up
    have to stay in bed / confine
    Ben was laid up in bed for a month after his fall.
  2. let off
    fart / break wind / expel gas
    Who’s let off again?
  3. lie down
    recline
    Could you just lie down on the couch, please?
  4. lift up
    raise / elevate
    So, lift up your left leg. Thank you. And the right.
  5. liven up
    galvanise / excite
    We’re trying to liven her up, but she won’t move.
  6. loaf around
    idle / do nothing
    Lily’s been loafing around all day at home.
  7. look after
    protect / mind
    The nurse has been looking after us really well.
  8. look at
    examine
    I just need to have a look at your ankle, John.
  9. look down
    lower yr head/eyes
    Look down at the floor then look at me.
  10. look for
    search / hunt
    We’ve been looking for your notes all morning.
  11. look over
    check / review
    I just need to look you over from head to toe.
  12. look round
    turn yr head
    Could you look round for me? That’s fine. OK.
  13. look up
    raise yr head/eyes / research
    If you look up, we’re going to check your sight.
  14. minister to
    treat / tend
    Nurse Angela ministered to her charge all night.
  15. nod off
    fall asleep, especially unintentionally
    Sorry, I just nodded off for a few minutes there.
  16. open up
    make an opening / become more open
    We’ll make an incision and open up your chest.
  17. pack up
    stop functioning
    Sadly his heart packed up and he died.
  18. pass away
    die (euphemism)
    Your uncle passed away at ten o’clock last night.
  19. pass out
    become unconscious / faint
    When I got back he was passed out on the bed.
  20. patch up
    repair temporarily
    They patched up my arm, but I’ve got to go back.
  21. perk up
    improve condition
    Looks like Tom’s perked up a bit today.
  22. pick up
    contract / improve / lift
    She picked up TB while travelling in Malawi.
  23. prop up
    support / help sby to sit up
    We’ll prop you up here; can you move the pillow?
  24. pull through
    recover (after a bad illness)
    We’re so thankful that you pulled through.
  25. put on
    fake sth, e.g. an illness / wear
    It turned out that she had been putting it on!
  26. rub down
    massage / dry
    Have a quick shower, then rub yourself down.
  27. run around
    run in different directions
    Dr Neilson has been running around all day.
  28. seize up
    become stiff suddenly / freeze
    And then my calf muscle suddenly seized up.
  29. sew up
    suture, e.g. a wound
    We clean the wound then sew it up.
  30. shake off
    get rid of, e.g. an infection
    I’m having a hard time shaking off this virus.
  31. shut down
    stop functioning
    His liver shut down on the way to hospital.
  32. shut up
    be quiet
    Just shut up and take your pills!
  33. sit down
    be seated
    OK, sit down and I’ll outline today’s procedures.
  34. sit up
    sit with a straight back
    Would you sit up straight, please, Mrs Felton.
  35. slim down
    reduce weight
    It is obviously in your best interests to slim down.
  36. stand up
    rise / get to yr feet
    Rob stood up and left the consulting room.
  37. stress out
    worry / aggravate
    My daughter was stressing out all evening.
  38. strip down to
    remove some clothing
    Please strip down to your underwear.
  39. strip off
    remove clothing
    I’m not happy to strip off in front of three doctors.
  40. swell up
    become swollen / expand
    My foot swelled up and became very painful.
  41. take off
    remove, e.g. clothing
    When they took off the bandage, I nearly cried.
  42. tend to
    treat / usually be/do
    The RN was tending to Mrs Peel when I arrived.
  43. throw up
    vomit
    Joey was throwing up all night.
  44. turn over
    change position to the opposite side
    Please turn over and show me where it hurts.
  45. turn round
    move to face the opposite way
    Turn round and open your shirt a little.
  46. wake up
    become conscious
    When I woke up, I was lying in a hospital bed!
  47. waste away
    deteriorate
    Sadly, no one knew and he simply wasted away.
  48. watch over
    guard / hold a vigil for sby
    I watched over him all night until he finally woke.
  49. work out
    exercise / resolve
    Have you considered working out twice a week?
  50. wrap around
    enfold
    Let me wrap the bandage around your arm

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