by Liz Walter
My last post was about phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs connected to sadness and happiness. This post will look at some other emotions.
Let’s start with anger. If someone suddenly becomes angry, we can say that they flare up. Blow up is similar and often describes an even angrier outburst. We use the preposition at if that anger is directed at a particular person:
He flared up when Joel suggested he was to blame.
She blew up at photographers who followed her to her home.
We can also say that someone flies into a rage:
When he was told he couldn’t come in, he flew into a rage and attacked the doorman.
I know he’s annoying, but don’t let him get to you.
It really winds me up when people spell my name wrong.
When it was my turn to speak, I just clammed up with nerves.
I couldn’t fight back – I just froze up.
You might also hang back (not move forward or not do something) because you feel shy or nervous:
The others ran into the sea but Mia hung back.
He was going to come on the roller coaster, but he bottled out at the last minute.
I wimped out of doing the radio interview.
The phrasal verb chicken out has a similar meaning, but it is usually disapproving:
I can’t believe you chickened out on riding the roller coaster! (US)
I chickened out of singing a solo at the concert. (UK)
An informal phrasal verb for talking about something that makes you feel disgusted is gross out. This was originally an American term, but it is now common in the UK too:
I can’t eat oysters. They gross me out!
They were bubbling over with excitement about their new business.
I would jump at the chance to work in Japan.
Next month, I will finish this mini-series on emotions with a selection of general phrasal and prepositional words for talking in a more general way about feelings.