Definition of come in English:

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Pronunciation: /kʌm/

verb (past came /keɪm/; past participle come)

1 [no object, usually with adverbial of direction] Move or travel towards or into a place thought of as near or familiar to the speaker: Jess came into the kitchen they came here as immigrants he came rushing out
More example sentences
  • The torch moved, came near his face and light shone over his features.
  • The men in the bar who had been so eager to drink with him now moved away when he came near them.
  • The man had turned his head on hearing his name, and stood up, stooping under each ceiling beam as he came towards them.
move nearer, move closer, approach, advance, near, draw nigh, draw close/closer, draw near/nearer;
proceed, make progress, make headway, forge
1.1Arrive at a specified place: we walked along till we came to a stream it was very late when she came back my trunk hasn’t come yet
More example sentences
  • I don't think he will because, when he came back to the club, he didn't come as a manager or a coach.
  • People came to their doors and windows; everybody came and had a look.
  • When I arrived, she came outside with the help of 2 other guys who she works with.
arrive, get here/there, reach one's destination, make it, appear, put in an appearance, make an appearance, come on the scene, come up, approach, enter, present oneself, turn up, be along, come along, materialize;
West Indian  reach
informal show up, show, roll in, roll up, blow in, show one's face
1.2(Of a thing) reach or extend to a specified point: women in slim dresses that came all the way to their shoes the path comes straight down
extend, stretch, continue, carry on, spread;
reach, come as far as, not stop until
1.3 (be coming) Approach: someone was coming she heard the train coming
More example sentences
  • He had that evil aura around him and was threateningly coming closer.
  • I could hear his footsteps on the pavement approaching me, coming faster and faster.
  • But, as he neared the ground, other instructors noticed that he was coming too close to farm buildings and a spectator area.
1.4Travel in order to be with a specified person, to do a specified thing, or to be present at an event: the police came come and live with me [with infinitive]: the electrician came to mend the cooker figurative we have come a long way since Aristotle
More example sentences
  • So come and enjoy the event and let's all have a safe and fun-filled day.
  • Please come and support the event, which is being held in aid of community care.
  • People from every biological discipline you can imagine would come and present their papers.
1.5 [with present participle] Join someone in participating in a specified activity or course of action: do you want to come fishing tomorrow?
1.6 (come along/on) Make progress; develop: he’s coming along nicely she asked them how their garden was coming on
More example sentences
  • Early last season, this first-round pick experienced some typical rookie problems, but he came on as the season progressed.
  • He noticed over the following six months that he was developing symptoms which came on after he had been lifting the heavier kegs of beer.
progress, make progress, develop, shape up, make headway;
come on, turn out, take shape, go;
improve, show improvement, get better, pick up, rally, recover, mend
progress, make progress, develop, shape up, make headway;
come along, turn out, take shape;
improve, show improvement
1.7 (in imperative also come, come!) Said to someone when correcting or reassuring someone: Come, come, child, don’t thank me
More example sentences
  • Before coming to this CPS type approach, someone may say to you, ‘Well, come, come, are you not moving the responsibility for managing staff away from managers?’
  • Oh, come, come, surely you're pouring extra olive brine into your cocktail?
2 [no object] Occur; happen; take place: twilight had not yet come his father waited for a phone call that never came a chance like this doesn’t come along every day
More example sentences
  • The sounds are familiar and pleasant, but they belong to another time - a time that has not yet come.
  • It came only after yet another procedural skirmish about the agenda and the debate was quite chaotic and confusing.
  • Yet all this came without the grinding regimen of tuition centres and coaching colleges.
2.1Be heard, perceived, or experienced: a voice came from the kitchen it came as a great shock
More example sentences
  • This came as a total surprise to her as she was not aware that the class had proposed her for the flowers.
  • There's simply nowhere to put the patients but it came as a surprise when we heard that adults were being put in with the children's ward.
  • I have been burgled four times before so it came as no surprise to me when I heard the news although it was still shocking.
2.2 [with adverbial] (Of a quality) become apparent or noticeable through actions or performance: as an actor your style and personality must come through
be communicated, be perceived, penetrate, get through, get across, be got across, be clear, be understood, be comprehended, register, be taken in, sink in, be grasped, strike home
2.3 (come across or British over or US off) (Of a person) appear or sound in a specified way; give a specified impression: he’d always come across as a decent sort
More example sentences
  • As a result, our songs tend to come across as sounding looser than they actually are.
  • Indeed, compared to their Hollywood counterparts, most of the cartoon fish come across as rather dull, failing to make a real impression.
  • While they appear to be normal - they come across as somewhat false.
seem, appear, look, sound, give the impression of being, have the appearance/air of being, strike someone as, look as though one is, look to be;
British  come over;
North American  come off
2.4(Of a thought or memory) enter one’s mind: the basic idea came to me while reading an article a passage from a novel came back to Adam
More example sentences
  • The memory of this came unbidden into my mind when I read recently in the papers that beaches for dogs are one of the latest crazes.
  • As the building grew larger and larger with our approach, the thought came unbidden to my mind.
  • A reflection came across her mind and the thought came like a slap in the face.
3 [no object, with complement] Take or occupy a specified position in space, order, or priority: prisons come well down the list of priorities I make sure my kids come first
More example sentences
  • Had I ever to garden in a limited space, two plants that would come high on my priority list would be green beans and garlic.
3.1Achieve a specified place in a race or contest: she came second among sixty contestants
More example sentences
  • If you come second in a race, you try harder, so that next time you win.
  • The American firm of architects which came second in the race is also among one of seven teams up for the job.
  • I am thinking of someone like our kayaker in the Olympics, who came second in his race.
4 [no object, with complement] Pass into a specified state, especially one of separation or disunion: his shirt had come undone
More example sentences
  • The box didn't so much open as separate, coming apart into two pieces that barely looked like they'd fit together.
  • So it came to pass that life is coming apart - and just when I needed it to stay together.
  • It seemed to be coming apart, and that seemed to, if anything, spur the negotiations.
break up, fall to bits/pieces, come to bits/pieces, disintegrate, splinter, come unstuck, crumble, separate, split, tear, collapse, dissolve
4.1 (come to/into) Reach or be brought to a specified situation or result: you will come to no harm staff who come into contact with the public the vehicle came to rest against a traffic signal
More example sentences
  • Grandparents on both sides can also be brought in to help the parents come to a shared care situation.
  • After evaluating ratings of articles by medical editors and narrowing the field, the staff must come to agreement on a single entry.
  • That resulted in the judge coming to a different conclusion.
4.2 [with infinitive] Eventually reach a certain condition or state of mind: he had come to realize she was no puppet
More example sentences
  • It is merely there for you to have in mind when you come to weigh up her evidence.
  • Through the practice of meditation one comes to realize the true nature of mind.
  • We might act on a preference about what to buy or do, and then come to realize that it was not worth it.
5 [no object, with adverbial] Be sold, available, or found in a specified form: the cars come with a variety of extras the shirts come in three sizes
More example sentences
  • Whether the bulbs come in the mail, or from the local garden center, they usually come with instructions.
  • Different functionalities make it possible to do one thing much more easily or effectively, but they come with a smaller cost elsewhere.
  • The meals, which cost £3.99 each, come with a choice of four salads plus any drink.
be available, be made, be produced, be for sale, be on offer
6 [no object] informal Have an orgasm.
climax, achieve orgasm, orgasm


When a specified time is reached or event happens: I don’t think that they’ll be far away from honours come the new season
More example sentences
  • If come January, he's way ahead in the polls, Clark will be able to get away with this approach.
  • The grotto guide is a brilliantly jaded girl whose patience is obviously waning come November.
  • And, likewise, a Republican defeat now would only make them leaner and stronger come 2008.


[mass noun] informal


The use of come followed by and, as in come and see for yourself, dates back to Old English, but is seen by some as incorrect or only suitable for informal English: for more details see and (usage).



as —— as they come

Used to describe someone or something that is a supreme example of the quality specified: Smith is as tough as they come
More example sentences
  • ‘We always knew it would be tough, but this is as tough as they come,’ he said.
  • He's everything a football player should be - he's as tough as they come.
  • He is as tough as they come and never gives and inch.

come again?

informal Used to ask someone to repeat or explain something they have said: ‘It’s a bit like Sherlock Holmes’s dog.’ ‘Come again?’ Madge looked blankly at her. ‘Come again?’

come and go

Arrive and then depart again; move around freely: he continued to come and go as he pleased
More example sentences
  • We did not know when we can come and go freely.
  • We need to have doors in our walls with guards at the doors, but let's let people come and go freely.
  • There were no extra guards at the gates, and anyone can come and go freely.
3.1Exist or be present for a limited time; be transitory: kings and queens may come and go, but the Crown goes on forever
More example sentences
  • Novelty events come and go and are of limited appeal but a good musical act covers a multitude and keeps the crowd happy.
  • Directors rise and fall, fads come and go, but cinema is just as exciting as it's always been.
  • Organic food is a middle-class fad that can come and go according to sentiment.

come from behind

Win after lagging.
Example sentences
  • Westport United showed admirable resilience and courage in coming from behind twice to book a place in the last four of the League Cup.
  • They are limping their way towards the play-offs after coming from behind twice in two games.
  • This team is pretty good at coming from behind and staying tough.

come off it

[in imperative] informal Said when vigorously expressing disbelief: ‘Come off it, he’ll know that’s a lie.’
More example sentences
  • Indeed, she claims that there is an unspoken English rule that she calls ‘the importance of not being earnest’, along with a peculiarly English injunction to say, ‘Oh, come off it!’
  • Come off it, that's not something ‘worth remembering’.
  • My honest (and admittedly, somewhat cruel) reaction is ‘Oh, come off it, you're not that special.’

come right

informal Have a good outcome; end well: don’t worry—I’m sure it’ll come right
More example sentences
  • The danger would be getting too concerned about the way we are playing because I am sure it will come right.
  • As it happens, everything comes right in the end.
  • We just have to be patient so everything comes right.

come the ——

informal Play the part of; behave like: don’t come the innocent with me

come to nothing

Have no significant or successful result in the end: he is convinced talk of a leadership challenge will come to nothing
More example sentences
  • As a result another good idea came to nothing and another report ended up gathering dust in some warehouse.
  • But, overall, it was vacuous stuff, came to nothing, and fizzled out.
  • But this came to nothing and it fell to the French to pioneer international sport in keeping with their long diplomatic traditions.

come to pass

chiefly literary Happen; occur: it came to pass that she had two sons
More example sentences
  • As if to allow their predictions to come true, the international community has presided over the coming to pass of a deteriorating socio-economic climate for young people.
  • And tell him to take this opportunity to make sure that doesn't come to pass.
  • As it is still being run by a management team, not all of these things have come to pass although they they probably will when a new franchisee has been found.

come to that (or if it comes to that)

British informal In fact (said to introduce an additional point): there isn’t a clock on the mantelpiece—come to that, there isn’t a mantelpiece!
More example sentences
  • In fact come to that there wasn't a car park as such either, more of a development site with vehicles strewn about across it.
  • Nor, if it comes to that, is there any justification in the way that executives awarded themselves multi-million bonuses while axing 170 rural branches.
  • And come to that how many people can get any of the fancy new digital channels - of the BBC or anyone else?

come to think of it

On reflection (said when an idea or point occurs to one while one is speaking): come to think of it, that was very daring of you
More example sentences
  • I'm not sure that reading his diary is such a great idea after all, come to think of it.
  • So I am a bit unsure if I like the movie come to think of it.
  • Very graceful it was too, like a blue bird of prey but without feathers or wings or talons or any other bird features, come to think of it.

come what may

No matter what happens: a woman was supposed to stand by her man all the time, come what may
More example sentences
  • The members were obviously rattled at the presence of residents and it was apparent that this proposal will happen come what may with no regard to local residents.
  • Claims that he was determined to call a referendum this Parliament, come what may and regardless of the five tests, were wrong, he told them.
  • Nevertheless a piece was required every day, come what may.

have it coming (to one)

informal Be due for retribution on account of something bad that one has done: his uppity sister-in-law had it coming to her
More example sentences
  • And anyway, if you really did it, I'm quite sure they had it coming to them.
  • Yet it is too simplistic to suggest that these raiders had it coming to them.
  • The international community, on the other hand, will say that they had it coming to them.

how come?

informal Said when asking how or why something happened or is the case: how come you never married, Jimmy?
More example sentences
  • I told him, ‘If we are not China and we are not Taiwan, then how come?’
  • He rubbed his palms together ‘Could you explain to us how come?’
  • Long-lost customers show up saying ‘Wow, heard you were closing, how come?’

to come

(Following a noun) in the future: films that would inspire generations to come in years to come
More example sentences
  • He is a great player to play off so I'm just hoping its the start of many more goals to come.
  • He said the gangland murder could be one of the cases that police turn back to in years to come.
  • It was a great way to spend a summer afternoon and there is still much more to come.

when it comes to ——

When the specified matter is under consideration: it pays to be proactive when it comes to your health
More example sentences
  • What's your best advice to others in your position when it comes to building the proper security program?
  • He's still the administration's best salesman when it comes to dealing with the economic recovery.
  • The department has long been a leader when it comes to energy innovation in the public sector.

where someone is coming from

informal Someone’s meaning, motivation, or personality: George doesn’t know me, he doesn’t know where I’m coming from
More example sentences
  • I know exactly where he is coming from - there's no time to pander to people's emotions.
  • And as a result, I don't think the electorate understands where it is coming from,’ he says.
  • I can readily identify with where the Judge is coming from, because with solicitors being directly involved on the day in different cases that are listed in both courts the inevitability is that problems will arise.

Phrasal verbs


come about

1Happen; take place: the relative speed with which emancipation came about
More example sentences
  • The amendment, which extends the recall statute to 10 years, comes about in response to a Congressional proposal.
  • The delay came about because the tunnel had come up short of a screen of trees, slowing the flow of escaping airmen.
  • Most of these shipwrecks came about by collision, by storm, or by bad navigation.
2(Of a ship) change direction.
Example sentences
  • Signaling with one long shrill of his whistle followed by one short blast, he waits for an echo from the harbormaster, then comes about and eases his boat against the wharf of a two-story shed.
  • I came about and headed for home but my little boat didn't beat into the wind very well.
  • Lisan just sat there in her floating command chair, her focus was not upon the exploding ships but at the war cruisers that were slowly coming about and from the looks of it, they weren't planning on a retreat any time soon.

come across

1Meet or find by chance: I came across these old photos recently
More example sentences
  • Even though the book is a popular one, chances of school children coming across it are minimal.
  • Sometimes acquaintances tip him off about such books and at other times he comes across them by chance.
  • They are deep below the ground and, unless you knew where to find them you'd probably never come across them by chance as the entrance is just a small door on the side of the road.
2 informal Hand over or provide what is wanted: she has come across with some details
More example sentences
  • So if they thought she'd come across with some blockbuster testimony, they'd put her up there.
  • Whether we come across with little or much, the mere gesture can be a spiritually lightening experience.
hand over, give, deliver, produce, part with, pay up
informal come up with, fork out, shell out, dish out, cough up
North American informal make with, ante up, pony up
2.1(Of a woman) agree to have sexual intercourse with a man.
Example sentences
  • I had a date at eight with Holly, but she wasn't ready to come across yet.

come along

[in imperative] Said when encouraging someone or telling them to hurry up: That’s our man, Watson! Come along!
hurry, hurry (it) up, be quick (about it), get a move on, come on, look lively, speed up, move faster
British informal get one's skates on
British informal, dated stir one's stumps
North American informal get a wiggle on
Australian/New Zealand informal rattle your dags
South African informal put foot
dated make haste

come amid

(Of an action or event) be accompanied by; happen at the same time as: the cuts come amid increasing competition in Hong Kong
More example sentences
  • The number of youngsters spending high amounts of time in nurseries comes amid growing controversy over the impact of full-time child care on development.
  • The announcement, made by e-commerce Minister Douglas Alexander, came amid concerns about the effects of emissions on public health.
  • The failed operation with the Jordanian agent comes amid new criticism about the quality of American intelligence collection in Afghanistan.

come around


come at

Launch oneself at (someone) to attack them: he shot an officer who came at him from behind
More example sentences
  • You can even lift opponents in the air, swing them around and then come at them in a vertical attack.
  • One theory is that a fly cannot cope with two threats at once, so coming at it with two hands, from opposite sides, often catches it out.
  • He could see him coming at him in his sleep for weeks after.

come away

Be left with a specified feeling, impression, or result after doing something: she came away feeling upset
More example sentences
  • But in the end the viewer comes away with more sensory impressions - visual, auditory and otherwise - than any clear moral messages.
  • The reality is that Dubrovnik is a little bit of everything, and each visitor comes away with a different impression and experience.
  • The Gazette is also sure that such an observer would come away with the impression that some sort of solution is needed.

come back

1(In sport) recover from a deficit: the Mets came back from a 3-0 deficit
More example sentences
  • We lost our way last Saturday and allowed Kendal to come back from a goal down to beat us.
  • However, Coventry came back with a try from their centre.
  • It was an incredible turn of events to concede a goal after a couple of minutes and then come back in that way.
2Reply or respond to someone, especially vigorously: he came back at Judy with a vengeance
More example sentences
  • There can have been little cheer as he came back at them like a pack of Jack Russells.
  • Chelsea had a good period early in the second half, but we weathered that and came back at them.
  • Park came back at Albion and took the lead through a well taken converted try.

come before

Be dealt with by (a judge or court): it is the most controversial issue to come before the Supreme Court
More example sentences
  • Preparations are forging ahead for a judicial review, which will come before a High Court judge in Swansea.
  • The application for possession then comes before the County Court.
  • It seems to me unfortunate that cases are coming before the courts regularly now which deal with these issues where the parties are still not aware of the approach taken by the Court of Appeal.

come between

Interfere with or disturb the relationship of (two people): I let my stupid pride come between us
More example sentences
  • This film is all about ego clashes that couples usually have and how pride often comes between two people.
  • This relationship was unrealistic, and doomed from the outset, came between Wilde and his art, and became his ruination.
  • Nothing must be allowed to interfere with this work - nothing must come between them and their giving themselves utterly to it.
alienate, estrange, separate, divide, split up, break up, disunite, disaffect, set/pit against one another, cause disagreement between, sow dissension between, set at variance/odds

come by

1North American Call casually and briefly as a visitor: his friends came by she came by the house
More example sentences
  • Meantime, neighbors, friends and supporters came by the house to drop notes and flowers.
  • This one time my friends were all coming by and they were partying, and there were all these rollerbladers at the park.
  • He said, ‘I'll hang around here until my friend comes by.’
2Manage to acquire or obtain (something): the remoteness of the region makes accurate information hard to come by
More example sentences
  • Bear in mind that good managers are hard to come by.
  • There's a gripping tension to it that's hard to come by in comics designed to be all-ages entertainment.
  • She took some art materials for the children, knowing that they are hard to come by in the detention centres.
obtain, acquire, gain, get, find, pick up, lay hold of, possess oneself of, come to have, procure, secure, get possession of;
informal land, get one's hands on, get one's mitts on, get hold of, grab, bag, score, swing, nab, collar, cop

come down

1(Of a building or other structure) collapse or be demolished: we were lucky the bridge didn’t come down the whole ceiling had to come down
More example sentences
  • When the collapse started, the building came down so incredibly fast that none of them had a chance to react.
  • The police department knew that the buildings were coming down.
  • And the fact that one brick or two bricks are unconstitutional doesn't mean the entire structure ought to come down.
1.1(Of an aircraft) crash or crash-land: the aircraft came down during an attempt to land in bad weather
More example sentences
  • They saw some actual video from toll plaza cameras that recorded the aircraft coming down.
  • The two escaped with minor injuries when the aircraft came down in County Meath.
  • He is firstly seeking details of an aircraft which came down near his house.
2Be handed down by tradition or inheritance: the name has come down from the last century
3Reach a decision or recommendation in favour of one side or another: advisers and inspectors came down on our side
More example sentences
  • This exercise could no doubt produce different answers but, for my own part, I come down decisively on the side of the plaintiff.
  • I was very much of the opinion that it was definitional, but I did side with Jean in the second half of the debate where I came down against skulking.
  • The prison review group came down against needle exchanges because of an ‘unacceptable’ risk to prison officers.
decide, conclude, settle, reach a decision;
choose, opt, plump
4British Leave a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge, after finishing one’s studies: Jarvis came down from Cambridge with a degree in engineering
More example sentences
  • I married Ann when we came down from Cambridge in 1960, and we had a three-week honeymoon in Sicily.
5 informal Experience the lessening of an excited or euphoric feeling, especially one produced by a narcotic drug: I felt like a raver who has just come down from an ecstasy tablet
More example sentences
  • We were later explained that this woman was probably coming down from taking drugs the night before and was experiencing excruciating pain in the process.
  • I heard tell that the smoothies may or may not be marketed as aids to coming down off of various illicit drugs.
  • The drug had worn off and I could feel myself coming down.

come down on

Criticize or punish (someone) harshly: she came down on me like a ton of bricks
More example sentences
  • One kind of crime the former drugs squad officer is determined to come down on heavily, he warned, is the pushing of illegal drugs.
  • It is hard to keep coming down on them in a town where there is nothing for them to do.
  • Consequently, the reaction - coming down on her like a ton of bricks - should be seen to express how society at large views racism.

come down to

(Of a situation or outcome) be dependent on (a specified factor): it came down to her word against Guy’s
More example sentences
  • In my view the outcome will come down to who wants the victory most, and I feel we do.
  • But effectively it's coming down to where the teacher meets his or her student in the classroom.
  • If one listens to those in the industry, it comes down to who is getting the grants, and for what.
amount to, add up to, constitute, be tantamount to, approximate to, boil down to, be equivalent to, comprise, count as

come down with

Begin to suffer from (a specified illness): I came down with influenza
More example sentences
  • To avoid coming down with the illness, he recommends that elders, the very young, or caregivers receive flu shots.
  • Imagine the scenario: you are in a foreign country, you do not speak a word of the language and you come down with some mystery illness.
  • By Friday night Lucy had come down with a terrible illness that kept her feverishly in bed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
become ill/sick with, fall ill/sick with, be taken ill with, show symptoms of, become infected with, get, catch, develop, contract, take, sicken for, fall victim to, be struck down with, be stricken with;
British  go down with
informal take ill with
North American informal take sick with

come for

1Arrive to arrest or detain (someone): the cops came for her husband
More example sentences
  • She felt a slight panic rip at her, and she tried her hardest to play her cards right without him finding up the cops were coming for him.
  • Brandon was still recuperating himself at home when the police came for him.
  • Branded a murderer, the police would come for him and lock him away.
2Launch oneself at (someone) to attack them: he came for me with his fists
More example sentences
  • At one point he was coming for me so I was aware of the situation I was in, but you have to react to it.
  • And then I realize I'm the guy he's shouting at, because there's no one else out here and he's coming for me.

come forward

Volunteer oneself for a task or post or to give evidence about a crime: two witnesses have come forward with information no one would come forward to claim the body
More example sentences
  • None of his victims, who were praised for their bravery in coming forward and giving evidence, was in court to hear the verdict.
  • He also praised Mr and Mrs Brown for coming forward to give evidence.
  • He doesn't want to be telling them one story and then later on when the DNA evidence comes forward, have to tell them something different.
volunteer, step forward, offer one's services, make oneself available

come from

Originate in; have as its source: the word caviar comes from Italian
More example sentences
  • Inspiration for original writing comes from many different sources.
  • The origination of these messages should come from a central source close to the top politician.
  • Their informant was the landlord, and, coming from such a source, the information could not have been discounted.
18.1Be the result of: a dignity that comes from being in control
18.2Have as one’s place of birth or residence: I come from Sheffield
More example sentences
  • I have never been to Wales even though all my family comes from there.
be from, be a native of, have been born in, hail from, originate in, have one's roots in, be … (by birth);
live in, have one's home in, inhabit, be an inhabitant of, be settled in, reside in, be a resident of
18.3Be descended from: she comes from a family of Muslim scholars
More example sentences
  • Linda was a bubbly, happy, cheerful girl who came from a big loving family.
  • A relaxed charmer with an eye for girls, he came from a family of gentlemen amateurs.
  • Angel is a very pretty girl, she's a hard worker and she comes from a richer family than most in this town.

come in

1Join or become involved in an enterprise: that’s where Jack comes in I agreed to come in on the project
More example sentences
  • When I think of other players who I've seen come in on free transfers or for a million pounds or whatever, I'm not certain if they could handle the pressures that I have.
  • They would have won, had the French not come in on our side.
  • I've got to get a break and we'll come right back and we'll let Kim respond, and then Dr. Jones and Tony come in on it.
1.1Have a useful role or function: this is where grammar comes in
More example sentences
  • The said guy will get very upset and this is where my role comes in.
  • And I think where I come in on that is I've got to trust my president and his cabinet and intelligence and military people.
1.2 [with complement] Prove to have a specified good quality: a car comes in handy for day trips from the city
More example sentences
  • The boy must rid himself of doubt (a quality that might actually come in handy should he ever need to enter a voting booth).
  • Allow me a repeat post here, so I can prove to you that some idiosyncrasies do come in handy.
  • But that does not mean he will not come in useful for his defensive role.
2 [with complement] Finish a race in a specified position: the favourite came in first
More example sentences
  • He either wins the race or comes in second place.
  • This is raising a lot of questions about whether he can stay in this race if he comes in third.
  • You don't have control over where you come in a race.
3(Of money) be earned or received regularly: there’s me and Mum to keep, and no money coming in
More example sentences
  • Payments came in regularly until January when no money turned up.
  • For someone running a betting operation, is the volume of money coming in significantly greater than the regular season?
  • It is vital to the club to keep some form of finance coming in on a regular basis and the Club is indebted to all those in the community who have supported the Club in whatever way possible.
4 [in imperative] Begin speaking or make contact, especially in radio communication: come in, London
5(Of a tide) rise; flow: the tide was coming in
More example sentences
  • When the tide comes in the sea water rises above the little weir to enter the river.
  • ‘When it rises, our tides are bigger and come in faster and there is more chance of people getting cut off,’ he warned.
  • The tide, coming in, had just caught the corners…

come in for

Receive or be the object of (a reaction), typically a negative one: he has come in for a lot of criticism
More example sentences
  • It's good to see any part of it so nicely commended because it usually comes in for criticism and negative reportage.
  • Care homes in recent years have come in for much negative publicity.
  • After all, it is she who once again seems to be coming in for all the flack.
receive, experience, sustain, undergo, meet with, encounter, face, go through, be subjected to, be the object of, bear the brunt of, suffer, have to put up with, have to bear, have to endure

come into

Suddenly receive (money or property), especially by inheriting it: he came into an inheritance
More example sentences
  • Imagine you've come into a sum of money, such as a bequest or a lottery win.
  • What about the case of someone who suddenly comes into good fortune, perhaps entirely by his or her own efforts?
  • How he has changed since coming into his inheritance; you would barely know the man.
inherit, be/become heir to, be left, be willed, be bequeathed;
Law  be devised

come of

Result from: no good will come of it
More example sentences
  • But the only result that comes of such haste is burnout.
  • Keep this guy as a friend, and if something more comes of that as a result of the friendship, great!
  • In my case they are invariably the result of carelessness and clumsiness, which comes of going to too many meetings and not making enough lemon tarts.
22.1Be descended from: she came of Dorset stock
More example sentences
  • Katie comes of a family long associated with Irish music, the most famous of them being her great grand uncle Dame Normanly, of Bellaghy, who was the most famous violinist in all Connacht in his time.
  • His paternal family comes of a long line of priests.
  • He came of London mercantile stock, went to Oxford but socialised too much to take a degree, and married the daughter of Field-Marshall Lord Chetwode.

come off

1(Of an action) succeed; be accomplished: this was a bold experiment which did not come off
More example sentences
  • The warm reception that he received refuted those who wondered whether the summit would come off, or if it could accomplish anything.
  • Keane never hides on the pitch, and if one effort doesn't come off, he'll always come back for more.
  • Fowler's flicks do not always come off, but when they do, they inflict damage.
succeed, be successful, be a success, pan out, work, turn out well, work out, go as planned, produce the desired result, get results
informal make it, make the grade, pay off
1.1Fare in a specified way in a contest: Geoffrey always came off worse in an argument
More example sentences
  • Friends have advised me that, even though I might be a ham-fisted brute, I won't always come off better, and therefore, to curb my enthusiastic vigilanteism.
  • At a parish council meeting last Monday they said they wanted to remind owners that they are responsible for their animals, who would almost always come off worse in a stand-off with a swan.
  • There was also a tug of war competition with Trowbridge Rugby Club battling Wiltshire Fire Brigade and coming off the worse.
2Become detached or be detachable from something: a wheel came off the tractor
More example sentences
  • Trailing at half time it looked as if the wheels were coming off but a brilliant second half display put our title charge back on the rails and from there they never looked back.
  • Mr O'Sullivan said the wheels have been coming off the wagon over the past two years.
  • It's astounding how quickly the wheels can come off.
2.1Fall from a horse or cycle that one is riding: the horse reared up and Harriet came off
More example sentences
  • An inquiry was held into the running and riding of the horse after the jockey came off at the ninth fence in the Cantor Sport Beginners' Chase.
  • The council must have got a lot of complaints because people are always coming off their bikes.
3Stop taking or being addicted to (a drug or form of medication): I think I’ll come off the pill she works with people coming off heroin
More example sentences
  • If someone who has had epilepsy doesn't have a seizure for two years, their doctor may suggest they come off the medication.
  • It can also refer addicts who want to come off drugs to specialist agencies.
  • It took me going to prison to come off drugs and to realise I needed to sort out my problem.
4British informal Have an orgasm.

come on

1(Of a state or condition) start to arrive or happen: she felt a mild case of the sniffles coming on [with infinitive]: it was coming on to rain
More example sentences
  • The condition, which came on gradually from the age of ten, also affects Victoria's speech.
  • The condition, which came on gradually from when she was 10, also affects her speech.
  • It was a condition that had been coming on for years.
2 (also come upon) Meet or find by chance: I came on a station that was playing upbeat songs
More example sentences
  • It might be that you know from the literature that there are specific employers or companies attending that you want to meet with, or you might just come upon them by chance as you wander around.
  • So the courtiers arranged for the emperor to take a walk in his park, where he ‘chanced’ to come upon a ‘wandering’ giraffe.
  • By chance they come upon her in her hide-out.
3 [in imperative] Said when encouraging someone to do something or to hurry up or when one feels that someone is wrong or foolish: Come on! We must hurry!
More example sentences
  • Police encouraging her to come on, keep running, keep running to them.
  • ‘Well, come on,’ encouraged Matt, smiling suspiciously as if he knew something the others didn't.
  • That's why I like you, you will always tell me to come on and hurry up with a review!

come on to

informal Make sexual advances towards: he was a flirt, he came on to everyone
More example sentences
  • There is a lady at work who is constantly coming on to me.
  • They read poetry and talked until four in the morning, but she didn't think he was interested, because he wasn't coming on to her.
  • The three of us worked together and I was worried that I wouldn't survive working with him because it would hurt too much to see him come on to her.

come out

1(Of a fact) emerge; become known: it came out that the accused had illegally registered to vote
More example sentences
  • Somehow it came out that he was seventy years old, a fact that my father repeated politely for my mother and me.
  • Mid-April, it came out that the contract had gone $60 million over an $180 million budget.
  • But we all said our piece, and then it just came out that heck, this is business, and we treat all our clients and customers with respect, right?
become known, become common knowledge, become apparent, come to light, emerge, transpire;
get out, be discovered, be uncovered, be made public, be revealed, be divulged, leak out, be disclosed, be reported, be publicized, be released
1.1Develop or happen as a result: something good can come out of something that went wrong
More example sentences
  • We have seen some fantastic results come out of this and now that we have funding for two more years no doubt we will see a lot more.
  • It's not as if a good result has come out of nowhere.
  • There is, however, one valuable result that might come out of the leadership campaign.
end, finish, conclude, terminate, develop, result, work out, turn out
informal pan out
rare eventuate
1.2(Of a photograph) be produced satisfactorily or in a specified way: I hope my photographs come out all right
More example sentences
  • Very rarely does a photograph come out exactly as I viewed it in my mind.
  • In the 1950s photographs often didn't come out at all, or were so fuzzy that they were thrown away.
  • I tried taking a photograph but it come out as just a white blur in the distance across the usual city-scape.
1.3(Of the result of a calculation or measurement) emerge at a specified figure: rough cider usually comes out at about eight per cent alcohol
More example sentences
  • This complex calculation apparently comes out at £3.7b, a whisker under the mid-price for the offer.
  • The profit to income percentage comes out at 4.74 per cent.
  • They still have five or six million in sterling and US dollars and even divided among twenty robbers that still comes out at a tidy sum.
1.4(Of patience or a similar card game) be played to a finish with all cards dealt with.
2(Of a book or other work) appear; be released or published: lots of interesting books are coming out
More example sentences
  • The chain is confidently predicting that the book will smash publishing records when it comes out on July 16.
  • When contrarian books come out, newsrooms would do well to have somebody already suited up for quick sleuthing.
  • The Review started as a monthly, and now is published daily with an expanded edition that comes out once a week.
be published, be issued, be released, be brought out, be produced, be printed, appear, go on sale
3Declare oneself as being for or against something: residents have come out against the proposals
More example sentences
  • She comes out against Democrats; you come out against Republicans.
  • Now he's come out against the new plan for electing these folks through a complex series of town caucuses and called instead for direct nationwide elections.
  • Residents have come out against making any special arrangements for the summer solstice celebrations for fear of attracting more visitors than the village can cope with.
4 [with complement] Achieve a specified placing in an examination or contest: he deservedly came out the winner on points
More example sentences
  • This was a very evenly matched contest, and Crookstown came out the winners with the only score of the match.
  • Nevertheless these girls put in a great effort and deservedly came out winners on a score of 1 goal and 2 points to 2 points.
  • He wrote the commercial tax officers' examination, and came out second in the State.
4.1Acquit oneself in a specified way: surprisingly, it’s Penn who comes out best
More example sentences
  • In my unscientific examination Garry came out quite well.
5(Of a stain) be removed or able to be removed.
Example sentences
  • Really, the only reason I went through this to begin with is because I don't want to have to buy a new purse if the stains won't come out.
  • I have it all gummed up with stain remover right now and before I go to bed, I'm going to pray one more time that the stain will come out.
  • I went to the local convenience store and got a bottle with bleach alternative, and all of the stains came out!
6British Go on strike.
Example sentences
  • Workers were not willing to take the risk of coming out on strike without solid union backing.
  • The union was expecting that between 300 and 400 employees out of the total workforce of 700 would come out on strike today.
  • But we don't like it and now we've all come out on strike.
7 informal Openly declare that one is homosexual.
From the phrase come out of the closet (see closet (sense 3 of the noun))
Example sentences
  • Then too, as more and more gays come out and live openly, they become more conveniently available targets for homophobes.
  • There are more gay and lesbian students coming out, at an earlier age, than ever before.
  • The new album has let her express her homosexuality and feelings about coming out, themes she's kept muted until now.
declare that one is homosexual, come out of the closet
8British dated (Of a young upper-class woman) make one’s debut in society.
enter society, be presented, debut, make one's debut in society

come out in

British (Of a person’s skin) break out in (spots or a similar condition): Jason came out in a hot flush
More example sentences
  • For weeks after each match he was mentally drained, sometimes coming out in cold sores.

come out with

Say (something) in a sudden, rude, or incautious way: a gentleman should not come out with those remarks
More example sentences
  • But miss her I do, for all the weird things she comes out with in her Scottish accent.
  • It doesn't last long but it's marvellous the things he comes out with.
  • You always wondered what inappropriate remark he might come out with, and what would be her state of health.
utter, say, speak, let out, blurt out, burst out with

come over

1(Of a feeling or manner) begin to affect (someone): a great weariness came over me
More example sentences
  • But a sense of disquiet came over me when he began his exertions.
  • But then a queasy expression came over him and he began to fidget around.
  • Right about then a new feeling began to come over me.
1.1 [with complement] informal (Of a person) suddenly start to feel a specified way: they come over all misty-eyed with nostalgia
More example sentences
  • The same cannot be said for many of the other joke-tellers who suddenly come over all authorial and decide it's time to express themselves artistically.
  • If you suddenly come over all Austro-Hungarian, head for one of Trieste's historic cafés.
  • Very occasionally the mood changes and suddenly it come over all delicate, with an almost feathery touch.
2Change to another side or point of view: a former star pitcher for the Braves, he came over to the Yankees near the end of his career
More example sentences
  • Even my parents have come over to the plastic side, with their fibre optic tree and tasteful glow-in-the-dark cherub ornaments.
  • She has come over to the dark side.
  • Improbably, they even got one Republican to come over to their side.

come round

chiefly British (chiefly US also come around)
1Recover consciousness: I’d just come round from a drunken stupor
More example sentences
  • She lost consciousness and next remembered coming round on the floor being roused by him and two ambulancemen.
  • The seriously-injured man had lost consciousness but had come round again by the time police arrived.
  • She undoubtedly lost consciousness and when she came round, she was in a state of abject terror and hysteria.
regain consciousness, recover consciousness, come to, come to life, come to one's senses, recover, revive, awake, wake up
2Be converted to another person’s opinion: I came round to her point of view
More example sentences
  • I thought at the time that the cartoon was the usual poisonous attempt to shift blame, but I'm coming round to the opinion that there was some merit in the cartoon after all.
  • The more he puts his case as superbly as he did last Tuesday, the more public opinion will come round as well.
  • I have a feeling though that, Scotsmen aside, at long last public opinion may have finally come round to my point of view, which is why I venture to raise the issue once again.
be converted (to), be won over (by), agree (with), change one's mind, be persuaded (by), give way (to), yield (to), relent, concede, grant
3(Of a date or regular occurrence) recur; be imminent again: Friday had come round so quickly
More example sentences
  • He said that matron provided training for new members of staff until the regular annual training came round.
  • Friday has come round quite quickly and I'm excited at the thought of being reunited with my family.
  • Rehearsals went by smoothly and lunch came round pretty quickly.
occur, take place, happen, come up, crop up, arise;
recur, happen again, reoccur, occur again, be repeated, repeat (itself);
come back (again), return;
reappear, appear again

come through

1Succeed in surviving or dealing with (an illness or ordeal): she’s come through the operation very well
More example sentences
  • He says they are all stronger after coming through the illness and nothing can faze them.
  • But they will come through this ordeal with honor and we will all be proud of them.
  • He said the pensioner had come through her ordeal remarkably well and was unharmed, although sadder but wiser.
survive, get through, ride out, weather, live through, pull through, outlast, outlive;
withstand, stand up to, bear up against, stand, endure, rise above, surmount, overcome, resist
informal stick out
2(Of a message) be sent and received: a telephone call came through from Number 10
More example sentences
  • While it may be historically inaccurate, as some are saying, and the blood and violence may be over the top, the message is coming through loud and clear.
  • Some of these messages are coming through mysteriously truncated.
  • The message coming through is that the public at large and businesses in particular are actually much better educated.
2.1(Of an official decree) be processed and notified: his divorce came through
More example sentences
  • A letter tonight declared that I am now divorced… my decree absolute has come through.
  • She's been with us since she was four months old; the official adoption comes through next week.
  • ‘It will be a drug we will be looking at when it comes through the licensing process,’ said a spokeswoman for the Scottish Medicines Consortium.

come to

1 (also come to oneself) Recover consciousness: I came to in a corner of the room he was struggling to come to himself
More example sentences
  • On coming to himself on Sunday morning, he got up and walked home, and a doctor was afterwards called in.
  • I came to myself in the room; it was a basement of a house.
  • It was a little before noon when he came to himself again.
regain consciousness, recover consciousness, come round, come to life, come to one's senses, recover, revive, awake, wake up
2(Of an expense) reach in total; amount to: the bill came to £20,000
More example sentences
  • Free connection has been replaced with an upfront charge, so 12 months online comes to a total bill of €400.
  • Our total bill came to 35.20 leva for three of us including beers.
  • The total bill came to £35.30, which is excellent value for quality food.
amount to, add up to, run to, number, make, total, equal, be equal to, be equivalent to;
British  tot up to
3(Of a ship) come to a stop.

come under

1Be classified as or among: they all come under the general heading of opinion polls
More example sentences
  • For some time, one of my favorite places to eat has been a chain that I suppose comes under the broad classification of ‘fast food’ but not exactly.
  • Now Peter had to decide what classification he came under.
  • And surely complaining about the attack comes under the general category of ‘whinery.’
2Be subject to (an influence or authority): for a time they came under the rule of the Venetian doges
More example sentences
  • The transportation system in Bangalore will witness a major overhaul, with the bus service and the metro coming under a common transport authority, he revealed.
  • Is there any type of character, in your opinion, that is more susceptible to coming under the influence of the Devil?
  • However, the convention itself makes it clear that it applies to all situations in which a subject population comes under the authority of a foreign occupier.
2.1Be subjected to (pressure or aggression): his vehicle came under mortar fire
More example sentences
  • The troops were hit by the exploding vehicle and then came under mortar fire, he told a news conference.
  • Urgent action is required on milk price as dairy farmers in the West are coming under severe pressure, he said.
  • There are six men in the squad, and five of them saw their marriages or relationships come under severe pressure.

come up

1(Of an issue, situation, or problem) occur or present itself, especially unexpectedly: the subject has not yet come up something must have come up
More example sentences
  • This issue just keeps coming up again and again.
  • I'm not even sure that I'd vote on the issue if it were coming up for legalisation in my state; there are a lot more pressing economic issues on my mind.
  • ‘Ninety-seven percent of issues that are coming up are localised,’ he said.
1.1(Of a specified time or event) approach or draw near: she’s got exams coming up
More example sentences
  • The local branch's main fundraising event is coming up in the summer when five bikers will embark on a sponsored motorbike trip on mainland Europe from May to June.
  • After a hard day, it's off to the student bar to talk about the events of nights past and plan the events of the night coming up.
  • The events coming up this year include an art exhibition in October which helps artists earn good money for their work.
1.2(Of a legal case) reach the time when it is scheduled to be dealt with.
2Become brighter in a specified way as a result of being polished or cleaned: I cleaned up the painting and it came up like new
More example sentences
  • However certain well known tunes come up extremely bright and shiny, mixed with the sparkling transient tones of his freer moments in improvisation.
  • I took it home, and cleaned it up; and it came up a treat.
3British Begin one’s studies at a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge.
Example sentences
  • Bearing this in mind, many are disadvantaged in that they come from a background of under confidence on coming up to university.
  • Some freshers were so keen to get involved with the protest that they emailed her prior to coming up to Oxford at the start of this term to ask for ribbons.

come up against

Be faced with or opposed by: I’d come up against this kind of problem before
More example sentences
  • Female journalists approached her afterwards, saying how it was about time that someone had said something about the chauvinist phenomenon they had been coming up against for the whole of their working lives.
  • Our supporters would expect a victory, but it took us 60 minutes to break them down and that's the way now with all of the teams we are coming up against.
  • That's something I can always remember coming up against as a player after I started out as a professional in 1987.

come up with

Produce (something), especially when pressured or challenged: he keeps coming up with all kinds of lame excuses
More example sentences
  • This is a classic case of someone putting two and two together and coming up with 83.
  • This is all that they are coming up with and we all know this is totally untenable.
  • I'm quite excited about some of the ideas we're coming up with, but more details later.

come upon

1Attack (someone or something) by surprise: they could come upon us without warning and wreak havoc
More example sentences
  • Later, he had pretended to come upon her by surprise and she had given him a bloody lip that was swollen for a week.
  • The ferocity of her attack surprised even the fierce sea-raiders who had come upon this land from the north, and eventually she carved a path to where the banner lay on the ground.
2 see come on sense 2.
Example sentences
  • My previous entry dealt with coming upon a younger version of myself as the possessor of endless possibilities as far as the future was concerned.
  • It was like coming upon ancient ruins in a jungle.
  • She tells us the story of coming upon a roadkill buck while taking a much-needed break from writing college papers.


Old English cuman, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch komen and German kommen.

Words that rhyme with come

become, benumb, Brum, bum, chum, crumb, drum, glum, gum, ho-hum, hum, Kara Kum, lum, mum, numb, plum, plumb, Rhum, rhumb, rum, scrum, scum, slum, some, strum, stum, succumb, sum, swum, thrum, thumb, tum, yum-yum

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: come

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