Language Tips

to leave in a vehicle

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Liz Potter
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 in a vehicle:

drive off or drive away if a vehicle or driver drives off or drives away, the vehicle starts moving and leaves:

  • He got into the car and drove off.
  • Two minutes later the taxi drove off.
  • They jumped into the van and drove away.

pull away if a vehicle or driver pulls away, the vehicle leaves the place where it was and gradually moves more quickly:

  • The bus pulled away just as I got to the bus stop.
  • She glanced at her watch as the train pulled away from the platform.
  • I saw the policeman just as I pulled away from the kerb.

pull out if a train pulls out, it leaves the station:

  • The train was pulling out, but they managed to jump on.

take off if an aircraft takes off, it leaves the ground:

  • The plane took off right on time.


  • Take-off was slightly delayed.

sail if a ship sails, it leaves a port in order to begin a journey:

  • When do you sail?
  • Our ship sails from Southampton on the 23rd.

set sail:

  • The Titanic set sail on April 10th, 1912.

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

Liz Potter

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