Language Tips

to leave for a short time

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Written by Liz Potter

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This set of language tips explores the words and phrases we use to describe movement. This week’s tip looks at verbs and phrasal verbs that mean to leave for a short time:



nip out or pop out to leave a place quickly and for a short time:

  • She had nipped out to buy some milk.
  • Mum’s just popped out for a minute.

step out to leave a place quickly and for a short time:

  • I’m sorry, Karen’s stepped out for a second.

Nip out and pop out are used in British English while step out is used mainly in American English. They are all informal.

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more ways to say ‘to leave‘.

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Liz Potter

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