1. phrasal verb If you make something out, you manage with difficulty to see or hear it. [V P n] ⇒ I could just make out a tall, pale, shadowy figure tramping through the undergrowth. [V n P] ⇒ She thought she heard a name. She couldn't make it out, though. [V P wh] ⇒ I heard the voices, but couldn't make out what they were saying. 2. phrasal verb If you try to make something out, you try to understand it or decide whether or not it is true. [V n P] ⇒ I couldn't make it out at all. [V P wh] ⇒ It is hard to make out what criteria are used. [V P] ⇒ At first I thought it was an accident, but as far as I can make out, the police consider that's unlikely. 3. phrasal verb
If you make out that something is the case or make something out to be the case, you try to cause people to believe that it is the case. [V P that] ⇒ They were trying to make out that I'd actually done it. [V n P to-inf] ⇒ I don't think it was as glorious as everybody made it out to be. [V n P to-inf] ⇒ He's more business-minded than he makes himself out to be. [V P] ⇒ He was never half as bad as his teachers made out.
4. phrasal verb If you make out a case for something, you try to establish or prove that it is the best thing to do. [V P n + for/against] ⇒ You could certainly make out a case for this point of view. [V P n (not pron)] ⇒ Alice continued making out her case. [Also V n P] 5. phrasal verb When you make out a cheque, receipt, or order form, you write all the necessary information on it. [V n P + to] ⇒ If you would like to send a donation, you can make a cheque out to Feed the Children. [V n P to n] ⇒ All cheques should be made out to 'EF International Language Schools'. [V P n] ⇒ I'm going to make out a receipt for you. 6. phrasal verb If you ask how someone is making out, you are asking how well they are doing with a particular task, or in their life in general. [informal] get on [V P adv] ⇒ Who is making out better right now? [V P adv] ⇒ Bob turned over to sleep again, wondering how Jupiter and Pete were making out. 7. reciprocal phrasal verb & phrasal verb → make
If two people are making out, they are engaged in sexual activity. [mainly US, informal] ⇒ ...pictures of the couple making out in their underwear on the beach. [Also V P + with]
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © Harper Collins Publishers