I read in a book a sentence "Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift". The understanding seems to be clear. I can think of a man who decided to use the stairs to lift upstairs. There is also a picture of a man going towards the stairs. In such a scenario I can think of it as a synonym for "to head towards".

I tried to make up simple sentences with "to make for", but I couldn't (Let's make for Tim!, for example). That particular context is the only thing I can think of. Finally, I have realized that the concept, the idea behind it is unclear to me.

What does it actually mean? How to use it?

If I was right about guessing the meaning, can it mean something else?

  • 2
    Yes, it means what you think - but we make for a place, not a person. Mar 10 at 9:20
  • @KateBunting don't know why I didn't search in the dictionary in the first place. Thank you!
    – Stone Paul
    Mar 10 at 11:20
  • 1
    @KateBunting - I don't see why I can't say 'When the dog growled the little boy made for his mother'. Mar 10 at 12:42
  • @MichaelHarvey - I suppose so, but I'd find he ran to his mother more idiomatic. Mar 10 at 13:04

1 Answer 1


It turns out "to make for somewhere/something" is a phrasal verb meaning "to move towards the place".

  • 1
    It does indeed mean "to move towards a place", but it usually carries the nuance that the actor is moving in a hurry, and is possibly being chased either literally or metaphorically by a pursuer.
    – Jaime
    Mar 10 at 12:37
  • 2
    I'm not convinced to make for [destination] particularly implies in a hurry, being chased any more than to head for [home]. It's just make [one's way] home, at whatever pace seems contextually appropriate. Mar 10 at 12:56
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers - yes. context can supply any nuance intended. When I start telling jokes, my friends usually make for the bar. When we were out walking in the Lake District, we decided to slowly make for Beatrix Potter's cottage. Mar 11 at 9:02

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