Definition of come verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; kʌm
; keɪm

to a place

1 [intransitive] to move to or towards a person or place(+ adverb/preposition) He came into the room and shut the door.She comes to work by bus.My son is coming home soon.Come here!Come and see us soon!Here comes Jo! (= Jo is coming)There's a storm coming.come to do something They're coming to stay for a week.
In spoken English come can be used with and plus another verb, instead of with to and the infinitive, to show purpose or to tell somebody what to do:
When did she last come and see you?
Come and have your dinner.
The and is sometimes left out, especially in North American English:
Come have your dinner.
2 [intransitive] come (to…) to arrive at or reach a placeThey continued until they came to a river.What time did you come (= to my house)?Spring came late this year.Your breakfast is coming soon.Have any letters come for me?Help came at last.The CD comes complete with all the words of the songs.The time has come (= now is the moment) to act.3 [intransitive] to arrive somewhere in order to do something or get somethingcome for something I've come for my book.come about something I've come about my book.come to do something I've come to get my book.come doing something He came looking for me.4 [intransitive] to move or travel, especially with somebody else, to a particular place or in order to be present at an eventI've only come for an hour.Thanks for coming (= to my house, party, etc.).come (to something) (with somebody) Are you coming to the club with us tonight?come doing something Why don't you come skating tonight?

running/hurrying etc.

5 [intransitive] come doing something (+ adv.preposition) to move in a particular way or while doing something elseThe children came running into the room.


6 [intransitive] + noun to travel a particular distanceWe've come 50 miles this morning. (figurative) The company has come a long way(= made lot of progress) in the last 5 years.


7 [intransitive] to happenThe agreement came after several hours of negotiations.The rains came too late to do any good.The high point of the concert came during the drum solo.come as something Her death came as a terrible shock to us.His resignation came as no surprise.8 [transitive] come to do something used in questions to talk about how or why something happenedHow did he come to break his leg?How do you come to be so late? see also how come?

to a position/state

9 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition (not used in the progressive tenses) to have a particular positionThat comes a long way down my list of priorities.His family comes first (= is the most important thing in his life).She came second (= received the second highest score) in the exam.10 [intransitive] come to/into something used in many expressions to show that something has reached a particular stateAt last winter came to an end.He came to power in 2006.When will they come to a decision?The trees are coming into leaf.11 [intransitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) (of goods, products, etc.) to be available or to exist in a particular waycome in something This dress comes in black and red.+ adjective (informal) New cars don't come cheap(= they are expensive).12 [intransitive, transitive] to become+ adjective The buttons had come undone.The handle came loose.Everything will come right in the end.come to do something This design came to be known as the Oriental style.13 [transitive] come to do something to reach a point where you realize, understand or believe somethingIn time she came to love him.She had come to see the problem in a new light.I've come to expect this kind of behaviour from him.


14 [intransitive] (slang) to have an orgasm
Most idioms containing come are at the entries for the nouns or adjectives in the idioms, for example come a cropper is at cropper. 

be as clever, stupid, etc. as they come

(informal) to be very clever, stupid, etc.

come again?

(informal) used to ask somebody to repeat something‘She's an entomologist.’ ‘Come again?’ ‘An entomologist—she studies insects.’

come and go

1 to arrive and leave; to move freelyThey had a party next door—we heard people coming and going all night.2 to be present for a short time and then go awayThe pain in my leg comes and goes.

come easily, naturally, etc. to somebody

(of an activity, a skill, etc.) to be easy, natural, etc. for somebody to doActing comes naturally to her.

come over (all) faint, dizzy, giddy, etc.

(old-fashioned, British English, informal) to suddenly feel ill/sick or faint

come to nothing


not come to anything

to be unsuccessful; to have no successful result
How sad that all his hard work should come to nothing.Her plans didn't come to anything.

come to that


if it comes to that

(informal, especially British English) used to introduce something extra that is connected with what has just been saidI don't really trust him—nor his wife, come to that.

come what may

despite any problems or difficulties you may have
He promised to support her come what may.

how come (…)?

used to say you do not understand how something can happen and would like an explanation
If she spent five years in Paris, how come her French is so bad?

not come to much

to not be important or successful

to come

(used after a noun) in the futureThey may well regret the decision in years to come.This will be a problem for some time to come(= for a period of time in the future).

when it comes to something/to doing something

when it is a question of something
When it comes to getting things done, he's useless.

where somebody is coming from

(informal) somebody's ideas, beliefs, personality, etc. that makes them say what they have saidI see where you're coming from (= I understand what you mean).
Phrasal verbs

come about (that…)

to happenCan you tell me how the accident came about?

come across

(also come over)1 to be understoodHe spoke for a long time but his meaning didn't really come across.2 to make a particular impressionShe comes across well in interviews.He came over as a sympathetic person.

come across somebody/something

[no passive] to meet or find somebody/something by chanceI came across children sleeping under bridges.She came across some old photographs in a drawer.

come across (with something)

[no passive] to provide or supply something when you need itI hoped she'd come across with some more information.

come after somebody

[no passive] to chase or follow somebody

come along

1 to arrive; to appearWhen the right opportunity comes along, she'll take it.2 to go somewhere with somebodyI'm glad you came along.3 (informal) to improve or develop in the way that you want
Your French has come along a lot recently.
4 used in orders to tell somebody to hurry, or to try harderCome along! We're late.Come along! It's easy!

come apart

to break into piecesThe book just came apart in my hands. (figurative) My whole life had come apart at the seams.

come around/round

1 (also come to) to become conscious againYour mother hasn't yet come round from the anaesthetic.2 (of a date or a regular event) to happen againMy birthday seems to come around quicker every year.

come around/round (to…)

to come to a place, especially somebody's house, to visit for a short timeDo come around and see us some time.

come around/round (to something)

to change your mood or your opinionHe'll never come round to our way of thinking.

come at somebody

[no passive] to move towards somebody as though you are going to attack themShe came at me with a knife. (figurative) The noise came at us from all sides.

come at something

to think about a problem, question, etc. in a particular way
We're getting nowhere—let's come at it from another angle.

come away (from something)

to become separated from somethingThe plaster had started to come away from the wall.

come away with something

[no passive] to leave a place with a particular feeling or impressionWe came away with the impression that all was not well with their marriage.

come back

1 to returnYou came back (= came home) very late last night.The colour was coming back to her cheeks. (figurative) United came back from being two goals down to win 3–2.2 to become popular or successful againLong hair for men seems to be coming back in. related noun comeback (2)

come back (at somebody) (with something)

to reply to somebody angrily or with forceShe came back at the speaker with some sharp questions. related noun comeback (3)

come back (to somebody)

to return to somebody's memoryIt's all coming back to me now.Once you've been in France a few days, your French will soon come back.

come back to something

[no passive] to return to a subject, an idea, etcLet's come back to the point at issue.It all comes back to a question of money.

come before somebody/something

[no passive] (formal) to be presented to somebody/something for discussion or a decisionThe case comes before the court next week.

come between somebody and somebody

[no passive] to damage a relationship between two peopleI'd hate anything to come between us.

come by

(North American English) to make a short visit to a place, in order to see somebodyShe came by the house.

come by something

1 to manage to get somethingJobs are hard to come by these days.2 to receive somethingHow did you come by that scratch on your cheek?

come down

1 to break and fall to the groundThe ceiling came down with a terrific crash.2 (of rain, snow, etc.) to fallThe rain came down in torrents.3 (of an aircraft) to land or fall from the skyWe were forced to come down in a field.4 if a price, a temperature, a rate, etc.comes down, it gets lowerThe price of gas is coming down.Gas is coming down in price.5 to decide and say publicly that you support or oppose somebodyThe committee came down in support of his application.6 to reach as far down as a particular pointHer hair comes down to her waist.

come down (from…)

(British English, formal) to leave a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge, at the end of a term or after finishing your studies
come up (to…)

come down (from…) (to…)

to come from one place to another, usually from the north of a country to the south, or from a larger place to a smaller one

come down on somebody

[no passive] (informal) to criticize somebody severely or punish somebodyDon't come down too hard on her.The courts are coming down heavily on young offenders.

come down (to somebody)

to have come from a long time in the pastThe name has come down from the last century.

come down to something

[no passive] to be able to be explained by a single important pointWhat it comes down to is, either I get more money or I leave.

come down with something

[no passive] to get an illness that is not very seriousI think I'm coming down with flu.

come forward

to offer your help, services, etcSeveral people came forward with information.Police have asked witnesses of the accident to come forward.

come from…

(not used in the progressive tenses) to have as your place of birth or the place where you liveShe comes from London.Where do you come from?

come from something

1 to start in a particular place or be produced from a particular thingMuch of our butter comes from New Zealand.This wool comes from goats, not sheep.This poem comes from his new book.Where does her attitude come from?Where's that smell coming from?He comes from a family of actors.‘She doesn't try hard enough.’ ‘That's rich, coming from you(= you do not try hard either).’2 = come of something

come in

1 when the tide comes in, it moves towards the land
go out
2 to finish a race in a particular positionMy horse came in last.3 to become fashionableLong hair for men came in in the sixties.
go out
4 to become availableWe're still waiting for copies of the book to come in.5 to have a part in somethingI understand the plan perfectly, but I can't see where I come in.6 to arrive somewhere; to be receivedThe train is coming in now.News is coming in of a serious plane crash in France.She has over a thousand pounds a month coming in from her investments.7 to take part in a discussionWould you like to come in at this point, Susan?8 (of a law or rule) to be introduced; to begin to be used

come in for something

[no passive] to receive something, especially something unpleasantThe government's economic policies have come in for a lot of criticism.

come in (on something)

to become involved in somethingIf you want to come in on the deal, you need to decide now.

come into something

[no passive]1 to be left money by somebody who has diedShe came into a fortune when her uncle died.2 to be important in a particular situationI've worked very hard to pass this exam—luck doesn't come into it.

come of/from something

to be the result of somethingI made a few enquiries, but nothing came of it in the end.come of/from doing something That comes of eating too much!

come off

1 to be able to be removedDoes this hood come off?That mark won't come off.2 (informal) to take place; to happenDid the trip to Rome ever come off?3 (informal) (of a plan, etc.) to be successful; to have the intended effect or resultThey had wanted it to be a surprise but the plan didn't come off.4 come off well, badly, etc. (informal) to be successful/not successful in a fight, contest, etcI thought they came off very well in the debate.

come off (something)

1 to fall from somethingto come off your bicycle/horse2 to become separated from somethingWhen I tried to lift the jug, the handle came off in my hand.A button had come off my coat.

come off it

(informal) used to disagree with somebody rudelyCome off it! We don't have a chance.

come off something

[no passive] to stop taking medicine, a drug, alcohol, etcI've tried to get him to come off the tranquillizers.

come on

1 (of an actor) to walk onto the stage2 (of a player) to join a team during a gameOwen came on for Brown ten minutes before the end of the game.3 (informal) to improve or develop in the way you wantThe project is coming on fine.4 used in orders to tell somebody to hurry or to try harderCome on! We don't have much time.Come on! Try once more.5 used to show that you know what somebody has said is not correctOh, come on—you know that isn't true!6 (usually used in the progressive tenses) (of an illness or a mood) to beginI can feel a cold coming on.I think there's rain coming on.come on to do something It came on to rain.7 (of a TV programme, etc.) to startWhat time does the news come on?8 to begin to operateSet the oven to come on at six.When does the heating come on?

come on/upon somebody/something

[no passive] (formal) to meet or find somebody/something by chance

come on to somebody

(informal) to behave in a way that shows somebody that you want to have a sexual relationship with them related noun come-on

come on to something

[no passive] to start talking about a subjectI'd like to come on to that question later.

come out

1 when the sun, moon or stars come out, they appearThe rain stopped and the sun came out.2 (of flowers) to openThe daffodils came out early this year.3 to be produced or publishedWhen is her new novel coming out?4 (of news, the truth, etc.) to become knownThe full story came out at the comes out that… It came out that he'd been telling lies.5 if a photograph comes out, it is a clear picture when it is developed and printedThe photos from our trip didn't come out.6 to be shown clearlyHer best qualities come out in a crisis.7 when words come out, they are spokenI tried to say ‘I love you,’ but the words wouldn't come out.8 to say publicly whether you agree or disagree with somethingHe came out against the plan.In her speech, the senator came out in favour of a change in the law.9 (British English) to stop work and go on strike10 to no longer hide the fact that you are homosexual11 (of a young upper-class girl, especially in the past) to be formally introduced into society

come out (of something)

1 (of an object) to be removed from a place where it is fixedThis nail won't come out.2 (of dirt, a mark, etc.) to be removed from something by washing or cleaningThese ink stains won't come out of my dress.Will the colour come out (= become faint or disappear) if I wash it?

come out at something

[no passive] to add up to a particular cost or sumThe total bill comes out at £500.

come out in something

[no passive] (of a person) to become covered in spots, etc. on the skinHot weather makes her come out in a rash.

come out of yourself

to relax and become more confident and friendly with other peopleIt was when she started drama classes that she really came out of herself.

come out of something

[no passive] to develop from somethingThe book came out of his experiences in India.Rock music came out of the blues.

come out with something

[no passive] to say something, especially something surprising or rudeHe came out with a stream of abuse.She sometimes comes out with the most extraordinary remarks.

come over

1 (British English, informal) to suddenly feel something+ adjective to come over funny/dizzy/faintI come over all shy whenever I see her.2 = come acrossHe came over well in the interview.

come over (to…)

to come to a place, especially somebody's house, to visit for a short time

come over (to…) (from…)

to travel from one place to another, usually over a long distanceWhy don't you come over to England in the summer?Her grandparents came over from Ireland during the famine.

come over (to something)

to change from one side, opinion, etc. to another

come over somebody

[no passive] to affect somebodyA fit of dizziness came over her.I can't think what came over me(= I do not know what caused me to behave in that way).

come round


come round (to something)

(British English) = come around

come through

(of news or a message) to arrive by telephone, radio, etc. or through an official organizationA message is just coming through.

come through (something)

to get better after a serious illness or to avoid serious injury
With such a weak heart she was lucky to come through the operation.

come through (with something)

to successfully do or complete something that you have promised to doWe were worried she wouldn't be able to handle it, but she came through in the end.The bank finally came through with the money.

come to

= come around (1)

come to yourself

(old-fashioned) to return to your normal state

come to somebody

[no passive] (of an idea) to enter your mindThe idea came to me in the bath.come to somebody that… It suddenly came to her that she had been wrong all along.

come to something

[no passive]1 to add up to somethingThe bill came to $30.I never expected those few items to come to so much.2 to reach a particular situation, especially a bad oneThe doctors will operate if necessary—but it may not come to that.Who'd have thought things would come to this (= become so bad)?

come together

if two or more different people or things come together, they form a united groupThree colleges have come together to create a new university.Bits and pieces of things he'd read and heard were coming together, and he began to understand.

come under something

[no passive]1 to be included in a particular groupWhat heading does this come under?2 to be a person that others are attacking or criticizingThe head teacher came under a lot of criticism from the parents.3 to be controlled or influenced by somethingAll her students came under her spell.

come up

1 (of plants) to appear above the soilThe daffodils are just beginning to come up.2 (of the sun) to riseWe watched the sun come up.3 to happenI'm afraid something urgent has come up.We'll let you know if any vacancies come up.4 to be mentioned or discussedThe subject came up in conversation.The question is bound to come up at the meeting.5 (of an event or a time) to be going to happen very soonHer birthday is coming up soon.6 to be dealt with by a courtHer divorce case comes up next month.7 if your number, name, ticket, etc.comes up in a betting game, it is chosen and you win something8 (informal) (usually used in the progressive tenses) to arrive; to be ready soon‘Is lunch ready?’ ‘Coming up!’

come up (to…)

(British English, formal) to arrive at a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge, at the beginning of a term or in order to begin your studies
come down (from…)

come up (to…) (from…)

to come from one place to another, especially from the south of a country to the north or from a smaller place to a larger oneWhy don't you come up to Scotland for a few days?

come up (to somebody)

to move towards somebody, in order to talk to themHe came up to me and asked me the way to the station.

come up against somebody/something

[no passive] to be faced with or opposed by somebody/somethingWe expect to come up against a lot of opposition to the plan.

come up for something

[no passive]1 to be considered for a job, an important position, etcShe comes up for re-election next year.2 to be reaching the time when something must be doneHis contract is coming up for renewal.

come up to something

[no passive]1 to reach as far as a particular pointThe water came up to my neck.2 to reach an acceptable level or standardHis performance didn't really come up to his usual high standard.Their trip to France didn't come up to expectations.

come up with something

[no passive] to find or produce an answer, a sum of money, etcShe came up with a new idea for increasing sales.How soon can you come up with the money?

come upon somebody/something

= come on somebody/something
Usage noteUsage note: returncome back go back get back turn backThese words all mean to come or go back from one place to another.return to come or go back from one place to another:I waited a long time for him to return. Return is slightly more formal than the other words in this group, and is used more often in writing or formal speech.come back to return. Come back is usually used from the point of view of the person or place that somebody returns to:Come back and visit again soon!go back to return to the place you recently or originally came from or that you have been to before. Go back is usually used from the point of view of the person who is returning:Do you ever want to go back to China?get back to arrive back somewhere, especially at your home or the place where you are staying:What time did you get back last night?turn back to return the way that you came, especially because something stops you from continuing:The weather got so bad that we had to turn return/come back/go back/get back to/from/with somethingto return/come back/go back/get back/turn back againto return/come back/go back/get back home/to workto return/come back/get back safely