If you want to nail down some colourful compounds, you must have a thing for words. Load up on these compound verbs beginning with the letters L, M, N and O!


laugh off

laughTo joke about or dismiss lightly

Example: The tourists laughed off the warnings about pickpockets and walked freely through the square.


lay into

To criticize aggressively

Example: The fans laid into the referee about some questionable calls.


let on

To divulge or reveal

Example: The man let on that he preferred a Subaru to a BMW when he said he admired all things Japanese.


To pretend

Example: She let on that she had a degree in psychology.


let off

To exonerate

Example: My parents let me off easy, probably because I had never returned past the curfew before.


To excuse

Example: We let them off last weekend about cooking dinner, so we expect this time they’ll prepare a full meal.


live downskateboard

To overcome or reduce the shame of

Example: He couldn’t live down last night, no matter how hard he tried to find an excuse.


live for

To exist to enjoy or benefit from

Example: They live for the chance to meet a rock star – that’s why you see them at every concert.


To be enthusiastic

Example: He lives for skateboarding.


live up to

To meet expectations

Example: They lived up to their reputation of being the best yodelers in town.



load popcornup

To take or accumulate

Example: If you load up on all that popcorn during the movie, you won’t have room for dinner.



luck out

To be fortunate

Example: We lucked out getting tickets to see the opera.








make after

To pursue

Example: If we go in different directions, we’ll make after the purse snatcher by covering all possible routes.


make off






To leave hurriedly

Example: The robbers made off in the blink of an eye.



make out

To understand, see

Example: I can’t make him out; he seems so aloof.


To make progress; fare

Example: How are you making out at your new job?


make over

To redo; renovate

Example: The stylist made her over so no one would recognize her.


muck up

To ruin or do badly

Example: They mucked up the work, so they’ll have to start over again.


muddle through

To cope or manage, continue

Example: The orchestra muddled through despite the conductor’s two-week absence.


hammernail down

To establish, secure

Example: We signed the contract to nail down our agreement.


To identify, understand fully

Example: She couldn’t nail down the problem but felt it wouldn’t work.


nip out

To go quickly

Example: I’ll just nip out to get some wine.


nod off

To fall asleep

Example: The chimes of the grandfather clock kept Wilburt from nodding off in his armchair.



nose around

To pry, snoop

Example: He started to nose around his sister’s bedroom, looking for her diary.








offer up

To provide or give to please

Example: The restaurant offered up a real taste of Japan.


opt out

To choose not to participate

Example: They opted out of the trip when they heard it would snow.


order around

To issue commands

Example: Her boyfriend was always ordering her around so she left him.


own up

To admit

Example: The players owned up to purposely sleeping in to skip practice.

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