This phrasal verb "make out" has a lot of different meanings, from seeing/hearing to writing a cheque, bill etc, from understanding someone/something to kissing and touching someone in a sexual way & actually I'm having trouble understanding this word.

For example:

He's just making the booking form out.

I wonder if it means "He's able to see the booking form" or "He's understanding the booking form" or "He's writing a booking form" or "He's just pretending that" or He's getting on booking the form" or ... .

Are we able to specifiy the exact meaning when there's no further context or to appreciate what these changes will mean, is it necessary to look at them in a wider & larger context?

What about this:

But, somehow, they had made out, until Jackie got a job teaching in an elementary school.

They had made out? What?

1 Answer 1


Context should help you decide, but I'm fairly certain in your first sentence the meaning of "to make out" is

to fill out (the booking form)

Because the other meanings do not make much sense, taking into account the nature of the subject (the booking form) and the continuous tense.

In your last sentence the meaning of "to make out" is

to get along, fare (finance-wise in your case)

Because the sentence is about money in the family.

If we take this sentence:

I can't make out what's on this booking form

Then the meaning would clearly be "to understand, discern"

If we take this sentence:

My girl and I were making out

Then the meaning is clearly related to the act of kissing.

  • By get along I wonder if you mean "They had a friendly relationship" or "They had to deal with that bad financial situation".
    – a.RR
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 8:16
  • @AmirhoseinRiazi I think the closest meaning is "to manage or fare with reasonable success". I reckon it can be aplicable both to one's finantial situation, and relationships. By the way, there's even an idiomatic expression "to make out like a bandit", it means "to profit greatly" ;) Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 8:19
  • Gotcha! for example "The actors made out like bandits." It's an informal AmE expression, isn't it? (and it's financial NOT finantial, I think.)
    – a.RR
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 8:30
  • Yeah, it's quite informal, from what I've heard :) Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 8:42

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