Language: Old English
Origin: macian


1 verb
make1 S1 W1 past tense and past participle made


[transitive] to produce something, for example by putting the different parts of it together:
I'm going to show you how to make a box for your tools.
A family of mice had made their nest in the roof.
She made her own wedding dress.
The company has been making quality furniture for over 200 years.
They met while they were making a film.
Make a list of all the things you need.
make somebody something
He made her a toy horse, using just some straw and bamboo twigs.
be made from something
Paper is made from wood.
be made (out) of something
a shirt made of silk
make something from/out of something
She's very good at making things from old scraps of material.
Japanese-made/English-made etc (=produced in Japan etc)


[transitive] used with some nouns to say that someone does something:
Anyone can make a mistake.
I can't make a decision just yet.
I need to make a quick phone call.
You could have made more effort to talk to him.
He made no attempt to apologize.
Could I make a suggestion?
There are a few points I'd like to make.
The police were called but no arrests were made.
I suppose we should make a start on cleaning this room.
Stop making such a fuss!


[transitive] to cook or prepare food or drink:
When was the last time you made a cake?
John was making breakfast in the kitchen.
Who's going to make the tea?
make somebody something
I'll make you some sandwiches.


[transitive] to cause something to happen, or cause a particular state or condition:
Its beautiful beaches make this a highly popular area with tourists.
It was this movie which made him a star.
His attitude made him very unpopular with colleagues.
The photo makes her look much older than she really is.
make somebody/something do something
I like him because he makes me laugh.
make something difficult/easy/possible etc
The use of computers has made it possible for more people to work from home.
make something the best/worst/most expensive etc
Over 80,000 people attended, making it the biggest sporting event in the area.
The President has made it clear that he is not going to change his mind.


[transitive] to force someone to do something
make somebody do something
My parents always make me do my homework before I go out.
be made to do something
I was made to wait four hours before I was examined by a doctor.

mark/hole etc

[transitive] to cause a mark, hole etc to appear
make a hole/dent/mark etc
Make a hole in the paper.
The cup has made a mark on the table.

make it

a) to succeed in getting somewhere in time for something or when this is difficult:
If we run, we should make it.
make it to
With blood pouring from his leg, he made it to a nearby house.
b) to be successful at something, for example in your job:
He came to the US and not only made it but made it big (=was extremely successful).
So far, relatively few women have made it to the top in the business world.
make it as
He was told he had no talent and would never make it as a professional singer.
make it to
England look less likely to make it to the finals.
make it to manager/director etc
How did anyone so stupid make it to manager?
c) spoken to be able to go to an event, meeting etc that has been arranged:
I'm really sorry, but I won't be able to make it on Sunday after all.
Nice to see you. I'm glad you could make it.
d) informal to continue to live after you have been seriously ill or badly injured:
Frank was very ill, and the doctors didn't think he'd make it.
e) to manage to deal with a difficult experience
make it through
I couldn't have made it through those times without the support of my boyfriend.
f) used to say or ask what time it is according to your own or someone else's watch:
What time do you make it?
I make it ten past three.

make the meeting/the party/Tuesday etc

spoken to be able to go to something that has been arranged for a particular date or time:
I'm sorry, I can't make Friday after all.
Will you be able to make the next meeting?

achieve something

[transitive] to succeed in achieving a particular position, rate etc:
He was never good enough to make the team.
I don't think we'll make the deadline.

get money

[transitive] to earn or get money:
The plan could cost you more than you would make.
They made a profit of £140 million.
His one aim in life was to make money.
She hopes to make a living (=earn the money she needs to live) from writing children's books.
He's made a fortune (=earned a lot of money) selling computers on the Internet.
make something out of something
How easy is it to make money out of gardening?

have a quality

[linking verb] to have the qualities that are necessary for a particular job, use, or purpose
+ noun
I'm sure you will make a very good teacher.
The hall would make an ideal venue for a wedding reception.
An old cardboard box makes a comfortable bed for a kitten.

make it/that something

spoken used to correct what you have just said:
Can we have two cups of coffee, please? No, make that three.

make do

to manage with the things that you have, even though this is not really enough:
I hardly had any food in the house so I just had to make do.
make do with/without
I usually make do with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
For many people, make do and mend (=when someone manages with the things they have and does not buy anything new) was a harsh reality.

make yourself heard/understood/known etc

to succeed in getting someone to hear you, understand you, or know that you are there:
I had to shout to make myself heard above the music.

be a total

[linking verb] to be a particular amount when added together:
Two and two make four.
There are nine people coming, plus me, which makes ten.


[transitive] used to say what you have calculated a number to be:
I make that $150 altogether.

sports score

[transitive] to achieve a particular score in a sports game:
Surrey had made 92 by lunchtime.

make somebody captain/leader etc

to give someone a new job or position in a group, organization etc:
She's now been made a full partner.
He was made mayor in 1998.

make believe

to pretend or imagine that something is true when it is not:
I tried to make believe she was happy, but knew deep down it wasn't true.

make like

informal to behave as if something is true when it is not:
He makes like he never met me before.

make as if to do something

literary to seem as if you are going to do something but then not do it:
She made as if to speak but then stopped.


[transitive] old-fashioned to arrive at or get to a particular place, especially when it is difficult:
I don't think we're going to make the town before nightfall.

make the papers/headlines/front page etc

to be interesting or important enough to be printed in a newspaper, reported on television etc:
News of their divorce made the headlines.

make or break

to cause something or someone either to be very successful or to fail completely :
Critics can make or break a young performer.

that makes two of us

spoken used to say that you agree with someone or that something that is true of them is true of you too:
'I haven't a clue what's going on.' 'That makes two of us.'

make something perfect

[transitive] informal to make something complete or successful:
The hat makes the outfit.

make it with somebody

old-fashioned informal to have sex with someone

➔ make somebody's day

at day (19)

➔ make friends

at friend (3)

➔ make good

at good1 (35)

➔ make sense

at sense1 (5)

make away with somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 informal to steal something and take it away with you:
Thieves made away with the contents of the safe.
2 old-fashioned to kill someone

make for something

phrasal verb
1 to go in the direction of a particular place [= head for]:
I think it's time we made for home.
2 [not in progressive] to cause a particular result or situation:
Both teams are on good form, which should make for a great game.

➔ made for each other

at made (6)

make somebody/something into something

phrasal verb
1 to change something so that it has a different form or purpose:
We can make your room into a study.
2 to change someone's character, job, position in society etc:
The movie made her into a star overnight.

make something of somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to have a particular opinion about or understanding of something or someone:
I didn't know what to make of her.
What do you make of the idea?
2 to use the opportunities that you have in order to become successful:
I want to make something of my life.
make something of yourself
She has the ambition and talent to make something of herself.

make the most of something

to get as much advantage as you can from a situation while you are able to:
We've only got one day in Paris, so we'd better make the most of it.

make too much of something

to treat something as if it is more important than it really is:
It would be a mistake to make too much of these findings.

➔ make much of somebody/something

at much2 (17)

make a day/night/evening of it

informal to spend a whole day, night etc doing something, because you have chosen to:
We decided to take a picnic and make a day of it.

➔ make a go of something

at go2 (3)

➔ make the best of something

at best3 (9)

➔ see what somebody is made of

at made (4)

make off

phrasal verb
to leave quickly, especially in order to escape:
The men made off as the police arrived.
make off along/across/through etc
The getaway car made off towards Horrocks Avenue.

make off with something

phrasal verb
to steal something and take it away with you:
Thieves broke into the school and made off with computer equipment worth £40,000.

make out

phrasal verb


make something ↔ out

to be just able to see or hear something:
He could just make out a dark shape moving towards him.
make out who/what etc
I couldn't make out what he was saying.

understand something

make something ↔ out

to understand something, especially the reason why something has happened
make out what/how/why etc
I couldn't make out what I had done to annoy her.
As far as I can make out, he has never been married.

understand somebody

make somebody ↔ out

[usually in questions and negatives] to understand someone's character and the way they behave:
Stuart's a strange guy - I can't make him out at all.

write cheque etc

make something ↔ out

to write something such as a bill or cheque:
She was making out a list of people to invite.
The book gives advice on making out a will.
make something ↔ out to
Make the cheque out to 'Grays Ltd'.


make somebody/something ↔ out

to say that something is true when it is not:
The situation was never as bad as the media made out.
make out (that)
She always tried to make out that I was wrong and she was right.
make somebody/something out to be something
He makes me out to be some sort of idiot.

make out a case (for something)

to find good reasons that prove something or show why you need something:
We made out a case for hiring another assistant.


especially American English to succeed or progress in a particular way:
How did you make out this morning?


informal especially American English to kiss and touch someone in a sexual way

make out like a bandit

American English informal to get or win a lot of money:
The lawyers made out like bandits.

make something out of somebody/something

phrasal verb
to change a person or thing into something else:
The Olympics can make sporting heroes out of previously little-known athletes.

make something/somebody ↔ over

phrasal verb
1 especially British English to officially and legally give money or property to someone else
make something/somebody ↔ over to
He made over the whole estate to his son.
2 to change someone or something so that they look different or have a different use:
Redgrave has made herself over completely for her movie role.

make towards something

phrasal verb
to start moving towards something:
She made towards the door.

make up

phrasal verb


make up something

[not in progressive] to combine together to form something [= constitute]:
Women make up only a small proportion of the prison population.
be made up of something
The committee is made up of representatives from every state.

pretend something is true

make something ↔ up

to pretend that something is true in order to deceive someone:
I think they're making the whole thing up.
made-up (1)


make something ↔ up

to produce a new story, song, game etc by thinking:
Nick made up a song about them.
When you're the boss you can make up your own rules.
I've given talks so many times that now I just make them up as I go along (=think of things to say as I am speaking).


make something ↔ up

to prepare something by mixing things or putting things together:
I could make up a bed for you on the sofa.
Can you make up a bottle of milk for the baby?

somebody's face


make somebody ↔ up

to put make-up (=special coloured substances) on someone's face in order to make them look better or different:
They made him up as an old man for the last act of the play.
One lucky winner will have the chance to be made up and photographed.
! Do not use the verb make up when you are talking about putting coloured substances on your own face. Say that you wear make-up or put on make-up. made-up (2)


make something ↔ up

especially British English to add to an amount in order to bring it up to the level that is needed:
I saved as much as I could, and my parents made up the rest.
The company will be forced to pay $6 million to make up the difference.


make something ↔ up

to work at times when you do not usually work, because you have not done as much work as you should:
I'm trying to make up the time I lost while I was sick.
Is it OK if I make the work up next week?


also make it up informal to become friendly with someone again after you have had an argument
make up with
Have you made up with Patty yet?
Oh come on! Why don't you just kiss and make up?

from cloth

make something ↔ up

DL to produce something from cloth by cutting and sewing:
The dress had been made up to her exact requirements.
make something ↔ up into
I plan on making that material up into a dress.

➔ make up your mind

at mind1 (3)

make up for something

phrasal verb
1 to make a bad situation better, or replace something that has been lost:
The team will be anxious to make up for a disappointing start to the season.
I don't eat breakfast but I make up for it at lunch.
The good days more than make up for the bad ones.
see usage note include
2 to have so much of one quality that it is not important that you do not have much of another one
make up for something in/with
What Jay lacked in experience, he made up for in enthusiasm.
Caroline doesn't have a natural talent for music but she makes up for it with hard work.
3 to do something to show that you are sorry for doing something that upset or annoyed someone:
I'm sorry I was late. To make up for it, let me treat you to a meal.

make up for lost time

a) to work more quickly, or at times when you do not usually work, because something has prevented you from doing the work before:
We rehearsed all day Saturday, to make up for lost time.
b) to do a lot of something in an eager way because you have not had a chance to do it before:
Palin didn't travel much as a young man but he's certainly made up for lost time now.

make up to somebody

phrasal verb

make (it) up to somebody

to do something to show that you are sorry about the problems you have caused someone:
I'll make it up to you somehow.
He was looking for a way to make up to her for what he had done.
2 British English informal to say nice things to someone or be very friendly to them in order to get an advantage for yourself - used in order to show disapproval

be made up to captain/manager etc

to be given a higher position in an organization:
He was a security guard before he was made up to reception manager.

made from, made of, made by
When you are talking about the materials that are used to make something, you say that it is made of or made from those materials. Use made from when the original materials have been completely changed and cannot be recognized Paper is made from wood. Use made of when the original materials have not been completely changed and you can still see them a table made of wood!! Do not use made by when you are talking about the materials something is made from a small purse made of leather (NOT a small purse made by leather). Made by is used to talk about the person or company that made something All the furniture in this room was made by my grandfather.

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