There are 2 main definitions of do in English:

Share this entry

do 1

Pronunciation: /duː/

verb (does /dʌz/; doing; past did /dɪd/; past participle done /dʌn/)

1 [with object] Perform (an action, the precise nature of which is often unspecified): something must be done about the city’s traffic she knew what she was doing what can I do for you? Brian was looking at the girl, and had been doing so for most of the hearing
More example sentences
  • If Amy wasn't with us we'd have probably done something but she was our excuse for not doing so.
  • When the riot squad did move, it was so fast and so precise nothing could be done.
  • I really didn't know what I was doing.
1.1Perform (a particular task): Dad always did the washing up on Sundays
More example sentences
  • It was really strange, because one moment she was just cooking and doing the chores at home, and the next moment she was on telly.
  • She says that more and more, charities end up doing the tasks the state is supposed to look after.
  • After each task, the teams swapped over their mode of transport and did the tasks all over again.
1.2Work on (something) to bring it to completion or to a required state: it takes them longer to do their hair than me she’s the secretary and does the publicity
More example sentences
  • I'm going to get my hair done a bit more often and go for facials and pamper myself a bit more.
  • I had my hair and make-up done by professionals, was taught how to walk on a catwalk and got to model three outfits.
  • I don't like people touching my hair, doing my make-up or telling me what to wear.
prepare, make, get ready, fix, produce, see to, arrange, organize, be responsible for, be in charge of, look after, take on
style, arrange, adjust, groom, preen, primp, prink;
brush, comb, wash, dry, cut
informal fix
1.3 [no object] British informal Do the cleaning for a person or household: Florrie usually did for the Shermans in the mornings
1.4Make or have available and provide: many hotels don’t do single rooms at all [with two objects]: he decided to do her a pastel sketch of himself
More example sentences
  • The bar does meals, which looked filling, and the view over the bay is great!
  • We are now doing a three-course Sunday lunch for £9.95.
  • Does anyone know of a central Manhattan hotel which does family rooms?
paint, draw, sketch;
make, create, produce, turn out, fashion, design, fabricate, manufacture
informal knock up, knock together, knock off
1.5Solve; work out: Joe was doing sums aloud
More example sentences
  • Again, multiply the two together and you'll see how the sums have been done.
  • It may be that you'll need to reassess your choices once you've done some more detailed sums.
  • After doing some hard financial sums, I left the day job to chase a few dreams.
work out, figure out, calculate, add up;
solve, resolve, puzzle out, decipher;
British  tot up
1.6Cook (food) to completion or to a specified degree: if a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean, then your pie is done
More example sentences
  • When the burger and onions are almost done, toast the bread on the grill or in a toaster.
  • When those are both done, add the pasta to the bacon, and mix for a bit, then add the cream until it's all warm.
  • She handed him a towel and the phone, and then left to make sure her food was doing okay.
1.7(Often in questions) work at for a living: what does she do?
More example sentences
  • Do you remember when I told you what my parents did for a living?
  • What does your dad do for a living?
  • But talking about this kind of thing is what I do for a living.
do for a living, work at, be employed as, earn a living as/at;
what is …'s job?
1.8Learn or study; take as one’s subject: I’m doing English, German, and History
More example sentences
  • However, doing a PhD requires a high level of emotional management both within and outwith the field.
  • In what sense are we required to follow the canons of correct reasoning when doing mathematics?
  • I am doing the most demanding degree, but I could maybe take a year out.
study, read, learn, take a course in, take classes in, be taught
1.9Produce or give a performance of (a particular play, opera, etc.): the Royal Shakespeare Company are doing Macbeth next month
More example sentences
  • I thought it was a really compelling one and probably for the same reason I like doing Shakespeare plays.
  • At present we are doing a modern Russian play and another straight from New York.
  • As most of you know, our school has traditionally done Shakespeare passages for our Recitations.
put on, present, produce, give;
perform in, act in, play in, take part in, participate in, be involved in, be engaged in
1.10 informal Imitate (a particular person) in order to entertain people: he not only does Schwarzenegger and Groucho, he becomes them
More example sentences
  • He does a great Elvis and my guests just loved him.
  • If you ask me, he does Rolf Harris better than Rolf Harris does himself!
  • No one can do the Queen like you! I have found myself enthralled watching your portrayal of her.
1.11 informal Take (a narcotic drug): he doesn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs
More example sentences
  • She would be there doing heroin and I started off by just having a line on the foil.
  • See if anyone else is having doubts that all the drugs they've done really were spiritual.
  • I've done enough drugs over the years to know what it's like.
1.12Attend to (someone): the barber said he’d do me next
More example sentences
  • If your employees do not do another customer in between, the time would be booked as 120 minutes or two hours straight time.
  • He said he could do me after he finished the one he was doing, but I said no thanks. I’ll wait until tomorrow.
  • A guy came in to get his lip pierced and Robbie asked if he could do him first and I told him it was no problem.
1.13 vulgar slang Have sexual intercourse with.
1.14 (do it) informal Have sexual intercourse: I only ever did it in the missionary position
More example sentences
  • I like to do it in the morning.
  • I hit 16, went to college and one of the guys in my class said that he reckoned I was great in the sack and asked me to 'do it' with him behind the bike sheds.
1.15 (do it) informal Urinate or defecate.
2 [with object] Achieve or complete, in particular:
2.1Travel (a specified distance): one car I looked at had done 112,000 miles
More example sentences
  • By now it is believed to have done the highest mileage of any comparable plane still in service.
  • I rode 5 miles yesterday, and did 12 miles today, and already feel better mentally and physically than I have in a few years.
  • The car does about 35-40 miles to the gallon.
travel, journey, go, cover, travel over, pass over, journey over, traverse, cross, range over, put behind one, get under one's belt, attain, achieve, log
informal chalk up, notch up
2.2Travel at (a specified speed): I was speeding, doing seventy-five
More example sentences
  • He maintains he was doing the speed limit and had no time to react.
  • The speed a car is doing is only one element which affects the safety of road users.
  • Furthermore what if you were told that had they been doing the speed limit, they could have survived?
2.3Make (a particular journey): last time I did Oxford-York return by train it was £50
More example sentences
  • The journey has been done once before, by a Frenchman in 132 days just under ten years ago.
  • In the seven years I've been doing that journey, I'm thinking that takes my total to five.
  • I did London to Paris for charity last year.
2.4 informal Visit as a tourist, especially in a superficial or hurried way: the Americans are allotted only a day to do the Yorkshire Moors
More example sentences
  • The area can be very crowded with surfers and tourists doing Land's End.
  • We did the Eiffel Tower on Friday because we figured the queues would be shorter than on Saturday or Sunday.
  • If you are in New York, you really have to do the Empire State Building!
visit, tour, sightsee in, look around/round, take in the sights of
2.5Spend (a specified period of time) in prison or in a particular occupation: he did five years for manslaughter Peter has done thirteen years in the RAF
More example sentences
  • I ended up back in prison doing fifteen months for handling stolen goods.
  • He had done five years for housebreaking.
  • He did 25 years in the Air Force.
2.6 [no object] informal Finish: you must sit there and wait till I’ve done [with present participle]: we’ve done arguing
More example sentences
  • It is finished, all done, and not able to be processed because of funding issues at this point of time.
  • Once Varla was done she pulled out some cream and told Amy to apply it to her face.
  • She is up packing our stuff right now and she should be done within five minutes or so.
2.7 (be done) Be over: the special formula continues to beautify your tan when the day is done
More example sentences
  • These people should get some sort of satisfaction when the day is done.
  • The working week is done and we're more than up for cocktail fun.
  • This is the signal that the night is done, and that the sun is coming up.
2.8 (be/have done with) British Give up concern for; have finished with: I should sell the place and be done with it Steve was not done with her
More example sentences
  • Can you honestly say that, once the back-slapping and drinks all round were done with, you would be completely overjoyed on his behalf?
  • We need some new scandal and controversy now that that one is done with (until next year).
  • Now that my only wedding of the summer is done with, I'm wondering how to get myself on the guest list.
be finished with, have finished with, be done with, be through with, want no more to do with, be no longer involved with/in, have given up, have no further dealings with, have turned one's back on, have washed one's hands of, have no more truck with
3 [no object, with adverbial] Act or behave in a specified way: they are free to do as they please you did well to bring her back
More example sentences
  • He said his client admitted he had done wrong and would behave differently if he had his time again.
  • He is used to doing as he pleases and takes notice of nobody.
  • It's cold and wet out there so I think all are just as happy to be here and doing as we please.
3.1Make progress or perform in a specified way; get on or fare: when a team is doing badly, it’s not easy for a new player to settle in Mrs Walters, how’re you doing?
More example sentences
  • It will obviously all hinge on how well we are doing as the game progresses.
  • I convinced myself I'd done incredibly badly, snapped at everyone in sight and was no fun at all.
  • He has just been doing his A levels and he thinks he has done really badly.
get on, get along, progress, fare, make out, get by, manage, cope, survive;
succeed, prosper
3.2 [with object and complement] Have a specified effect on: the walk will do me good
More example sentences
  • However in those days we didn't think we might be doing ourselves serious harm.
  • It will do you good to have some fresh air.
  • They'll do themselves harm one way or another.
3.3 [with object] Result in: the years of stagnation did a lot of harm to the younger generation
More example sentences
  • The rapid expansion in 90-92, combined with the recession, did a lot of harm financially, and the company finally went bankrupt.
  • There's a lot of things that have to be put right because the recession did a lot of damage.
  • This storm obviously did quite a bit of damage to area homes, businesses and vehicles.
4 [no object] Be suitable or acceptable: if he’s anything like you, he’ll do [with object]: a couple of quid’ll do me
More example sentences
  • It's not what I would have hoped for, but it'll have to do.
  • ‘This sweater will do me fine,’ I answered, and I shut the door behind me
  • I'm looking for someone to blame my feelings on and you'll do.
suffice, be adequate, be satisfactory, be acceptable, be good enough, be of use, fill the bill, fit the bill, answer the purpose, serve the purpose, meet one's needs, pass muster;
be enough, be sufficient
informal make the grade, cut the mustard, be up to snuff
4.1Suffice or be usable: a strip of white cotton about 20 yards long did for a fence
More example sentences
  • A rocky ledge, we decide, will do fine as a lunch spot.
  • Any piece of paper slipped between two pages would do as a bookmark, but origami bookmarks are stylish and will distinguish you apart from the rest.
5 [with object] informal Beat up or kill: one day I’ll do him
More example sentences
  • Do you think he did kill himself or was he done in by someone else?
  • I'll do him with an iron bar.
  • I'll do you one of these nights!
5.1 (be done) Be ruined: once you falter, you’re done
More example sentences
  • I do my warm-up set, then add a little bit more weight and I'm completely done after about 4 reps.
  • He did not enter the majors until he was 28 and he was done by the time he was 37.
  • My body said, ‘Okay, you're done,’ and I just fell apart.
5.2Rob (a place): this would be an easy place to do and there was plenty of money lying around
More example sentences
  • I don't know who, or what organisation, if any, did the bank.
5.3British informal Swindle: a thousand pounds for one set of photos—Jacqui had been done
More example sentences
  • Oh - and if you ever bought this spam filter to get rid of the nasties on your computer, you were apparently done.
  • How could some of Australia's biggest and shrewdest media outlets get done so badly.
  • It was only after travelling to Amsterdam and meeting the fraudsters that she became suspicious and contacted police, who told her: ‘Sorry, but you've been done.’
6 [with object] (usually be/get done for) British informal Prosecute or convict: we got done for conspiracy to cause GBH
More example sentences
  • Today, we're finding out what life is like for a sportsperson after getting done for drugs.
  • All this fun resulted in Donovan becoming the first pop star to be done for marijuana possession.
  • I knew I had been done - the blinding flash of the fixed speed camera in Higher Wheelton gave it away.

auxiliary verb

1Used before a verb (except be, can, may, ought, shall, will) in questions and negative statements: do you have any pets? did he see me? I don’t smoke it does not matter
More example sentences
  • Mum got back from holiday and said the house was so clean it didn't feel lived in.
  • This man noted in his diary that he did not usually lose his temper with servants.
  • The pain is usually felt on both sides may come on suddenly or gradually, and does not usually occur every day.
1.1Used to make tag questions: you write poetry, don’t you? I never seem to say the right thing, do I?
More example sentences
  • You do like champagne, don't you, Charles?
  • You do understand, don't you?
  • I look all right, don't I?
1.2Used in negative commands: don’t be silly do not forget
More example sentences
  • ‘Don't say that,’ I spat, ‘What do you know of it? Nothing!’
  • Don't forget you have to earn money before you can spend it.
  • You two kids have fun, and don't stay out too late.
2Used to refer back to a verb already mentioned: he looks better than he did before you wanted to enjoy yourself, and you did as they get smarter, so do the crooks I paid for my two tickets on the train and did so without complaint
More example sentences
  • Yes, it does seem impossible that my cat could sleep more than he already does, but it is true.
  • Looks like he's going to be spending even more time on the bench than he does already.
  • This is going to affect myself and other residents even more than it does already.
3Used to give emphasis to a positive verb: I do want to act on this he did look tired
More example sentences
  • He did seem very tired in the bath though so I think we might need to work on his stamina.
  • The film has a positive message because Bella does find friendship and love.
  • In the final act, the film does deliver a few surprises, but by that point it's far too late.
3.1Used in positive commands to give polite encouragement: do tell me! do sit down
More example sentences
  • Do sit down and make yourself comfortable.
  • If you're in the Valley at that time, please do come to the event, it should be great.
  • ‘Do tell me all about your visit,’ she continued.
4Used with inversion of a subject and verb when an adverbial phrase begins a clause for emphasis: only rarely did they succumb not only did the play close, the theatre closed
More example sentences
  • Rarely does a new Ring cycle begin with such confidence and lucidity, on stage and in the pit.
  • He first searches to find where Josh is up to and only then does he begin to teach.
  • Only at the turn of this year did he begin to secure headlines with his mouth shut.

noun (plural dos or do's)

1British informal A party or other social event: the soccer club Christmas do
More example sentences
  • Such social dos are more or less confined to the well to do and the upwardly mobile class of young professionals.
  • She is a much sought after figure to grace social dos and functions even at the age of 80.
  • We often have do's, birthday parties, anniversary's, and I'm nearly 96.
party, reception, gathering, celebration, function, affair, event, social event, social occasion, social function, social;
French soirée;
West Indian  jump-up;
Jewish  simcha;
North American  levee
informal bash, blowout, rave, shindig, shindy, shebang, junket
British informal rave-up, thrash, knees-up, jolly, beanfeast, bunfight, beano
Australian/New Zealand informal shivoo, rage, jollo
South African informal jol
informal, dated ding-dong
2 (also 'do) informal, chiefly North American short for hairdo. a bowl-shaped do of perfect silky hair
More example sentences
  • I like your new do, Alex… very nice.
  • The women's hair is slicked back into boyish dos.
  • Local stylists offered bouffant 'dos in the shape of mushroom clouds.
3 (also doo) [mass noun] informal Excrement: the air was rancid with the smell of donkey doo figurative they’ll be the first to come begging for help when the do hits the fan
More example sentences
  • It would be funny if many visitors to their properties had dog do on their shoes.
  • She laughed when she discovered dog doo could be subjected to DNA testing to help stop the flow of canine excrement landing on the condo complex's property.
  • The company's in deep financial doo, so can be bought cheap.
4 archaic, informal A swindle or hoax.



be nothing to do with

Be no business or concern of: it’s my decision—it’s nothing to do with you
More example sentences
  • This is our concern alone, this is nothing to do with you!
  • As a businessman himself, he should obviously be able to draw the distinction between running a successful business for commercial gain and getting involved in something that is nothing to do with him.
  • Striker Andy Gray said: ‘We've got to do the business on the pitch, what goes on off it is nothing to do with us.’
be unconnected with, be unrelated to;
be irrelevant to, be extraneous to, be inapplicable to, be inapposite to, be extrinsic to
rare be malapropos of
1.1Be unconnected with: he says his departure is nothing to do with the resignation calls
More example sentences
  • The girl was nothing to do with what was going on, a completely innocent bystander hit by a stray bullet.
  • It is nothing to do with how fast you run, the power comes from the shoulders.
  • The reason it didn't work was nothing to do with how I looked, we just weren't right for each other.
avoid, have no dealings with, have no truck with, avoid dealing with, have no contact with, steer clear of, give a wide berth to

be to do with

Be concerned or connected with: the problems are usually to do with family tension
More example sentences
  • I could tell that part of the silence was to do with how much weight I had lost.
  • Half the complaints received were to do with community care, 44 per cent children and families and the remaining of six per cent within other areas of the department.
  • The only thing that made me really unhappy in the period afterwards, where I actually got emotional, was to do with the kids.
relate to, apply to, be relevant to, have relevance to, concern, refer to, have reference to, belong to, pertain to, be pertinent to, bear on, have a bearing on, appertain to, affect, involve, cover, touch
archaic regard

do a ——

informal Behave in a manner characteristic of (a specified person): he did a Garbo after his flop in the play
More example sentences
  • I am not doing an Arsene Wenger, but I did not see the incident that led to his first booking.
  • Anyway, old Neb thought he was the greatest wonder of the world, especially after doing an Alan Titchmarsh on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
  • I thought Knight was doing an Anastacia as this album opened to the rock-tinged tune of her latest single Come As You Are.

do battle

Enter into a conflict: they are about to do battle with Canada’s retail food industry I was ready and eager to do battle
More example sentences
  • On the day of the storm, linemen and other employees put in a regular eight-hour workday, then prepared to do battle.
  • It was inevitable that the two opposing armies would do battle, but how could they fight each other while a more pressing engagement was afoot?
  • Religion has to accommodate science and not do battle against it.

don't —— me

informal Do not use the word —— to me: ‘Don’t morning me. Where the hell’ve you been all night?’
More example sentences
  • ‘Don't hello me,’ I reply, ‘You think that you can slander me in the paper and then act as though everything is ok?’
  • ‘Whatever, Mindy… whatever,’ he muttered. ‘No, don't whatever me! I want to know the truth!’
  • Don't sorry me, go down and apologize.

do one

[in imperative] Northern English informal Go away: look, just do one, will you!
More example sentences
  • Why don't you just do one. You're a waste of time.
  • So do me a favour and go do one.

do or die

Persist, even if death is the result: a grim determination to do or die
More example sentences
  • They are Indian companies with not so much of a global market or mindshare, but with a determination to do or die.
  • He seemed determined to do or die on the last day of combat.
  • This was how to live, on the edge, ready to do or die, with no safety rope to haul you back in.
7.1Used to describe a critical situation where one’s actions may result in victory or defeat: the 72nd hole was do or die
More example sentences
  • ‘At this point it's basically a do or die situation as we are right on the edge of making play-offs,’ explained Paul.
  • Yes, it was important, but not a do or die situation, as is portrayed by the president's political rivals.
  • Every game is a must-win situation, creating a do or die atmosphere with each contest.

dos and don'ts

Rules of behaviour: I have no knowledge of the political dos and don’ts
More example sentences
  • Here are some dos and don'ts once you land in the U.S.
  • As part of this programme, hostel cooks were taught the dos and don'ts of purchasing vegetables, serving food, preserving food and raw material.
  • However, we are happy to explain the dos and don'ts to anybody who wants guidance.

do well for oneself

Become successful or wealthy: her friend had done well for herself since she’d moved to London
More example sentences
  • It has managed to do well for itself over the years, and today continues to seek new strategic partners.
  • Willy insisted that because Bernard was not well liked, he would not do well for himself when he grew up.
  • I wanted to do well for myself and for my parents who did not have the opportunity to attend college.

do well out of

Make a profit out of; benefit from: they’re doing well out of scrap metal
More example sentences
  • You only have to look at the recent profit results of resources companies to realise Australia is doing well out of the commodities boom.
  • Even though we are, by any standards, doing well out of Europe, we have difficulty making the final commitment to the single currency, just as our nerve has failed at every stage in the evolution of post-war Europe.
  • The west Midlands campaign, limited so far to the Birmingham elite and chattering classes, has been partly fuelled by a sense that north Wales is doing well out of devolution.

have (got) —— to do with

Be connected with (someone or something) to the extent specified: John’s got nothing to do with that terrible murder
More example sentences
  • This could have something to do with why a lot of people don't see any importance in marriage.
  • I used to be in the Forces for five years and that might have something to do with how calm I was.
  • Perhaps this has something to do with why I failed as an architecture student.
(have nothing to do with)11.1 Have no contact or dealings with: Billy and his father have had nothing to do with each other for nearly twenty years
More example sentences
  • The funny thing is, he left a pregnant girl in New Zealand and will have nothing to do with the child he fathered.
  • If the father wants to have nothing to do with the baby then he may or may not mind the mother having an abortion.
  • It is a sweet tale of a boy in love with a girl whose father will let her have nothing to do with him.
steer clear of, avoid, shun, evade, eschew, shy away from, fight shy of, recoil from, keep away from, keep one's distance from, give a wide berth to, leave alone;
snub, give someone the cold shoulder, cold-shoulder, ignore, turn one's back on

it isn't done

British Used to express the opinion that a particular thing contravenes custom or propriety: in such a society it is not done to admit to taking religion seriously
More example sentences
  • When you're pulling in $20 million a movie, it isn't done to ask exactly how long you spent in architecture school!
  • But someone should tell him that it isn't done to talk about one's son as one would about a prized racehorse at a stud farm.
  • It isn't done to speak ill of the dead.

it won't do

British Used to express the opinion that a particular person’s behaviour is unsatisfactory and cannot be allowed to continue: Can’t have that kind of talk—I’ve told you before, it won’t do
More example sentences
  • I know that I am still recovering from fatigue, but I can use tiredness as an excuse and that just will not do.
  • It simply will not do for an elected government to fob people off with clichés and half truths.

no you don't!

informal Used to indicate that one intends to prevent someone from doing what they were about to do: Sharon went to get in the taxi. ‘Oh no you do’n’t, said Steve
More example sentences
  • No you don't lad. Let William and Jack go after them.
  • ‘Oh no you don't!’ I shouted, jumping for the door before he could.

that does it!

informal Used to indicate that one will not tolerate a particular thing any longer: That does it! Let’s go!
More example sentences
  • ‘Well, that does it!’ Tyler said. He brushed past Josh and out of the room.
  • I was already deciding whether to unlock the door or not, but that does it! I'll stay here until it kills me, do you hear?
  • All right, that does it! I want to know what's behind that door.

that's done it!

informal Used to express dismay or anger when something has gone wrong.
Example sentences
  • ‘Uh oh, that's done it,’ he said. ‘We've got to get off this ship ASAP!’
  • ‘That's done it!’ said a growl from the crackling intercom system. ‘Our energy transfer unit just had a stroke.’
  • Oh hell, that's done it.

Phrasal verbs


do away with

Put an end to; remove: the desire to do away with racism
More example sentences
  • If there are scratches, you can use polish cleaner and scratch remover to do away with them.
  • It can take the pressure off Dublin Airport and do away with the necessity for a second terminal at an already overcrowded airport and city.
  • Perhaps Leeds City Council should do away with pedestrian crossings and rely on the traffic to stop and allow us to cross the road safely.
abolish, quash, get rid of, discard, remove, eliminate, discontinue, cancel, stop, end, terminate, put an end to, put a stop to, call a halt to, dispense with, drop, abandon, give up
informal bin, scrap, ditch, dump, axe, cut out, pack in, get shut of, pull the plug on, knock something on the head, give something the chop
British informal get shot of
1.1Kill: he didn’t have the courage to do away with her
More example sentences
  • Without further ado the king hires an assassin to do away with him, solving all sorts of problems in one deathly stroke.
  • While awaiting trial, many accused murderers do away with themselves by hanging.
  • He is set to harm the young lady whom you shelter, and do away with all those who hold her in their hearts, be they kith or kin.

do by

dated Treat or deal with in a specified way: do as you would be done by she did well by them
More example sentences
  • If he had done badly by her he knows I'd put his teeth halfway down his throat.
  • Then he began to have a faint inkling that he was being treated leniently, and to think that they had done kindly by him, in not yielding to his wish.
  • My mother, bless her soul, had done well by me in making me learn to sew at an early age.

do someone/thing down

British informal
Get the better of someone, typically in an underhand way: if you’re a manager trying to do down a colleague, the best way to do it is to flood them with data
More example sentences
  • Were the Gods contriving to do us down once more on the major stage of a Munster championship day?
  • For a while there were rumours of a Labor rat out to do him down.
  • He never faced a room full of twenty-first century youngsters who, at best, would rather be at home playing Playstation games and, at worst, were determined to do him down.
3.1Criticize someone or something: they’re always moaning and doing British industry down
More example sentences
  • The magazine's got a cheek to revel in London's victory when it always does its very best to do our city down.
  • We don't want to do our country down, but please don't act as if we've got the problems under control.
  • They always had faith in him despite the so-called experts who were only willing to do him down.
North American  slur
informal do a hatchet job on, take to pieces, take apart, pull apart, pick holes in, drag through the mud, have a go at, hit out at, knock, slam, pan, bash, bad-mouth, look down one's nose at
British informal rubbish, slate, slag off

do for

informal Defeat, ruin, or kill: without that contract we’re done for it was the cold that did for him in the end
More example sentences
  • That defeat all but did for their already slim chances of progressing.
  • ‘Don't worry, they're done for,’ Sean said, his heartbeat starting to slow to normal pace.
  • The foolish state of excitement into which I allowed myself to get the other day completely did for me, and I have hardly done anything since.
ruin, destroy, reduce to nothing, spoil, mar, injure, blight, shatter, scotch, mess up
British informal scupper
Australian informal euchre
vulgar slang fuck up
archaic bring to naught
kill, cause the death of, take/end the life of, finish off
informal polish off, do in, knock off, take out
literary slay

do something (or nothing) for

informal Enhance (or detract from) the appearance or quality of: whatever the new forum does for industry, it certainly does something for the Minister that scarf does nothing for you
More example sentences
  • It's a color that does nothing for you.
  • That hairstyle does nothing for you, Kat.
  • Why would she choose to wear such a horrendously unflattering dress? It just does nothing for her.

do someone in

Kill someone: oh my God, she’s done him in
More example sentences
  • He tried to have some generals arrested, and some formed a conspiracy to do him in.
  • Some young men were setting up their instruments, and as another puff of smoke drifted toward Francesca, she hollered, ‘I'm going to go get some air-this smoke is doing me in!’
  • Did you come here to see if I was alright or to finish the job of doing me in?
kill, put to death, do to death, put an end to, finish off, take the life of, end the life of, murder, assassinate, execute, slaughter, butcher, wipe out, mow down, shoot down, cut down;
dispatch, liquidate, exterminate, eliminate, eradicate, destroy
informal do away with, bump off, knock off, polish off, top, take out, snuff out, snuff, erase, croak, stiff, zap, blow away, blow someone's brains out, give someone the works
North American informal ice, off, rub out, waste, whack, scrag, smoke
North American euphemistic terminate with extreme prejudice
literary slay
(be done in) informal6.1 Be tired out: there was 1 minute 4 seconds to play and the Lions were done in
More example sentences
  • He says that the 2001 Lions were done in by all the travelling and inadequate rest periods: his meticulous planning will prevent a similar fate this time.
  • Maybe they would have been done in by a running game that produced a measly 2.9 yards per carry.
  • I had hoped she would feel like going with us but she was done in by three days of greater than usual activity.

do something in

informal Injure something: I did my back in a few years ago
More example sentences
  • In March of that year, I did my back in, and for the first time in my life I realised what it meant to be housebound.
  • I did my ankle in on the second day and had to go home early.
  • I know my dad hated not working when he did his shoulder in.
injure, hurt, damage, maim, cripple, disable, paralyse
British informal knacker

do someone out of

informal Deprive someone of (something) in an underhand or unfair way: she was always chasing him about money, as if he was trying to do her out of her share
More example sentences
  • He also alleged that he had been done out of 60 million shares by one of the bank's three largest shareholders.
  • The Australian controllers are doing them out of a job.
  • He became convinced that other officers were doing him out of his just rewards: the prize money for capturing enemy ships.
swindle out of, cheat out of, trick out of, prevent from having, prevent from gaining, deprive of, dispossess of, rob of, strip of, relieve of
informal con out of, diddle out of

do something out

British informal Decorate or furnish a room or building in a particular style, colour, or material: the basement is done out in limed oak
More example sentences
  • It's a steep climb, but worth it: the rooms are done out in an original Indo-Ligurian style and, best of all, both houses share a well-kept terrace garden, sandwiched between the castle and the crashing waves below.
  • The whole place is done out in an Egyptian style.
  • She was told it was a girl, bought all pink, did the room out in pink and had a boy.

do someone over

British informal Beat someone up: let’s do them over and dump them somewhere
More example sentences
  • With some people, if they get cross they make a threat and say they'll punch you or do you over if you do it again.
  • ‘She looked like she had been done over by Mike Tyson,’ added Caroline.
  • I've realised with a certain sort of delight that I'm now so old that nobody can earn any sort of reputation from doing me over.
beat up, assault, attack, mug, batter, thrash, pummel, pound
informal knock about/around, work over, clobber, rough up, fill in, beat the living daylights out of, let someone have it
British informal have a go at, duff someone up
North American informal beat up on

do something over

1British informal Ransack a place, especially while searching for something worth stealing: Jacqui’s flat had been done over—the evidence was all too clear
More example sentences
  • When he arrived back from Geneva last Saturday he found his house had been done over.
  • Vandals have also done over his shop.
  • My house still looks as if it's been done over by a gang of particularly thorough burglars.
2 informal Decorate or furnish a room or building: a two-room flat done over by a local designer
More example sentences
  • It was bought about a year ago by an outfit called Country Club Luxury Hotels and has been completely done over.
  • She did the house over -- completely, with the exception of the room he'd used for a study.
  • I feel like those people on TV getting their houses done over by expensive designers.
3North American informal Repeat something: to absorb the lesson, I had to do it over and over
More example sentences
  • Even simple choices can have huge consequences, and we never get to do things over!
  • They saw the dailies, and they came back a couple weeks later, and they said, ‘We'd like to do that scene over, and we'd like you to be more passionate.’
  • Though Mary Jane made the artist do the face over, the expression did not improve.

do up

Be able to be fastened: a shirt so tight that not all of the buttons did up
More example sentences
  • I have put on so much weight that my posh dress won't actually do up at the back without making me look like I am a Diana Dors replicant that is carrying triplets
  • It is buttoned down the front with five buttons, which also do up the men's way, and which are 10.5 cm apart, centre to centre.
  • I have a whole rack of jeans that for some reason do not do up.

do someone up

Dress someone up, especially in an elaborate or impressive way: Agnes was all done up in a slinky black number
More example sentences
  • She was poked, prodded, and pinned until she was done up in one of the most elaborate gowns she'd ever worn.
  • Lizzy and Jane were done up nicely if discreetly.
  • ‘You don't look so bad yourself,’ Heather replied, realizing that Martha was done up.

do something up

1Fasten something: she drew on her coat and did up the buttons
More example sentences
  • Their top buttons were done up, and stayed that way.
  • He does his coat up.
  • She does her coat up and slowly makes for the door then stops.
fasten, tie, tie up, lace, knot, make a knot in, tie a bow in;
make fast, secure, bind, tighten
1.1Arrange one’s hair in a particular way, especially so as to be pulled back from one’s face or shoulders: her dark hair was done up in a pony tail
More example sentences
  • Rosalie looked very relaxed and content and was wearing a blue summer halter dress and her hair was done up in a loose chignon.
  • I did my hair up in a high ponytail and went out to have some breakfast.
  • The dress went down midway past her knees, and her hair was done up in a complex braid.
1.2Wrap something up: unwieldy packs all done up with string
More example sentences
  • She arrived one snowy day with a shapeless parcel done up in tissue-paper.
  • The shopkeeper did up the parcel, handed it me across the counter, took the half-dollar coin I gave him, and I left the shop.
  • She held out a brightly wrapped package done up with gold ribbon and a sparkling golden bow.
2British informal Renovate or redecorate a room or building: Mrs Hamilton did the place up for letting
More example sentences
  • We were now living in a house that was a building site, with no money to do it up.
  • They claim to have spent about £115,000 doing up the flat.
  • I put more than £20,000 of my own capital into buying and doing up a place in Fulham, but I sold it too soon to recoup the outlay, just a year later.
informal fix up, vamp up, give something a facelift
British informal tart up, posh up
North American informal rehab

do with

[with modal] Would find useful or would like to have or do: I could do with a cup of coffee
More example sentences
  • Kingsley was a tall, dark, wiry man with messy grey hair that looked as if it could do with a wash.
  • I could have really done with a team of flying reindeer and a sleigh tonight, to shift me from London to Glasgow.
  • Though I could possibly have done with it being in Mayfair, I may have been all of about two minutes less late.
(can't/won't be doing with) British 15.1 Be unwilling to tolerate or be bothered with: she couldn’t be doing with meals for one
More example sentences
  • And I couldn't be doing with all that hierarchy, ‘Yes, Chef’, ‘No, Chef’.
  • I just think that's so desperately boring and I can't be doing with that.
  • I can't be doing with all that pomp and ceremony.

do without

[with modal] Manage without: she could do without food for a day
More example sentences
  • I explained that doing without food was the key element here.
  • Twenty-one percent did without food to try to pay their bills.
  • She had tried, unsuccessfully, to give up the habit on several occasions; the best she had achieved was doing without cigarettes for a couple of weeks at a time.
informal16.1 Would prefer not to have: I can do without your carping first thing in the morning
More example sentences
  • Determined to make a go of their new life, they decide that women are a distraction they can do without and swear off them for three years.
  • Although from my point of view as a manager, this is something I could do without, full stop.
  • I could do without the occasional looks of pity I've had from them.


Old English dōn, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch doen and German tun, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek tithēmi 'I place' and Latin facere 'make, do'.

  • doom from Old English:

    The ancient root of doom meant ‘to put in place’ and is also the root of do (Old English). By the time that written English records began the emphasis had narrowed to putting law and order in place: the Old English senses of doom include ‘a law, statute’, ‘a judicial decision’, and ‘the right to judge’. In the context of the end of the world, the word ‘judgement’ was not used until the 16th century—before that the usual term for Judgement Day was doomsday (source of the name the Domesday Book for the survey of the land ordered by William the Conqueror in 1085 for tax purposes, because it was the final authority on such things). In the Middle Ages this was also shortened to doom, a use that survives only in the crack of doom. ‘ We're doomed!’ was the catchphrase of the gloomy Scottish undertaker Frazer, played by John Laurie, in the BBC TV comedy Dad's Army (1968–77). The 1947 musical Finian's Rainbow popularized gloom and doom, which became a catchphrase when it was made into a film in 1968. The idea seemed appropriate to a world threatened by nuclear war.

Words that rhyme with do

accrue, adieu, ado, anew, Anjou, aperçu, askew, ballyhoo, bamboo, bedew, bestrew, billet-doux, blew, blue, boo, boohoo, brew, buckaroo, canoe, chew, clew, clou, clue, cock-a-doodle-doo, cockatoo, construe, coo, Corfu, coup, crew, Crewe, cru, cue, déjà vu, derring-do, dew, didgeridoo, drew, due, endue, ensue, eschew, feu, few, flew, flu, flue, foreknew, glue, gnu, goo, grew, halloo, hereto, hew, Hindu, hitherto, how-do-you-do, hue, Hugh, hullabaloo, imbrue, imbue, jackaroo, Jew, kangaroo, Karroo, Kathmandu, kazoo, Kiangsu, knew, Kru, K2, kung fu, Lahu, Lanzhou, Lao-tzu, lasso, lieu, loo, Lou, Manchu, mangetout, mew, misconstrue, miscue, moo, moue, mu, nardoo, new, non-U, nu, ooh, outdo, outflew, outgrew, peekaboo, Peru, pew, plew, Poitou, pooh, pooh-pooh, potoroo, pursue, queue, revue, roo, roux, rue, Selous, set-to, shampoo, shih-tzu, shoe, shoo, shrew, Sioux, skean dhu, skew, skidoo, slew, smew, snafu, sou, spew, sprue, stew, strew, subdue, sue, switcheroo, taboo, tattoo, thereto, thew, threw, thro, through, thru, tickety-boo, Timbuktu, tiramisu, to, to-do, too, toodle-oo, true, true-blue, tu-whit tu-whoo, two, vendue, view, vindaloo, virtu, wahoo, wallaroo, Waterloo, well-to-do, whereto, whew, who, withdrew, woo, Wu, yew, you, zoo

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: do

Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of do in English:

Share this entry

do 2

Pronunciation: /dəʊ/


Variant spelling of doh1.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: do

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.