#108 – TO PACK IN

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= to squeeze lots of things into something else
E.g. To get lots of audience members into your theatre because your show is popular, or to pack lots of kids into a classroom.
= to stop doing something, give up
E.g. “I’m going to pack in my job and travel around the world”
Also- “oh pack it in!” = stop doing that because it’s really annoying!


Hello there, you’re listening to “A Phrasal Verb a Day”. My name’s Luke Thompson. This is phrasal verb number what, 108, I think. I think this is 108. Anyway, the phrase I’ll be looking at with you today is TO PACK IN, PACK IN.
Alright, and there are several sort of uses for this phrase. So, in general, either it means to stop something, to give something up, or it means to fill something with lots of people, or to fill something with lots of something else, okay? Let’s start with that.
So, it could mean to get lots of audience members into a show. So, if a show is very popular then lots of people go to see it then you got lots of audience. So, you could say something like: “Oh, your show is a big hit, isn’t it? Your play is a big success. You’re certainly PACKING them IN every week”, for example. You mean you’re PACKING them IN, that means lots of people are coming into the theatre to see your show. Okay? So, a successful show, it’s been, you know, PACKING them IN, PACKING people IN. [It] tends to be ‘them’. When you say ‘them’, you know, you mean people. So, “Yeah, the show’s a big success. You know, we’ve been PACKING them IN every week for the last two months. It’s a big hit”, for example, okay?
So, you know the Rolling Stones are expected to do a series of concerts. Everyone expects that they’ll PACK IN huge audiences in every show. Okay?
Now, similarly, you can fill something with lots of people. Imagine, squeezing lots of people into a car, okay? You know, we manage to PACK everyone IN and we drove to the park. You know. We PACKED everyone INTO the car and drove to the park.
Similarly, you can say that, you know, that these hotels… the hotels in this area are very successful in the summer time and they really just PACK IN as many people as they can into all the rooms, for example, okay?
Or another one would be like, “I’m going to have the whole family coming to visit us next week and we are going to have to PACK everyone INTO all the rooms. It’s going to be a bit crowded, but we like it like that. It’s fun”.
Similarly, you can fill a period of time with lots of activities. Okay? So, for example, “We went on holiday to New York for just five days but we packed the whole week full of activities. We PACKED IN so many things during that week. You know, we were in New York for a few days, but we managed to PACK IN a lot of things during that time”. Okay?
So, that’s, you know, one general meaning to squeeze lots of things into something else, either people into a theatre or people into a car or hotel or a room or fill activities into a time schedule, or schedule. By the way, schedule – British English, schedule – American English. But more people…, more and more people are saying schedule all the time.
What else? It also means to stop doing something. For example, you can PACK IN your job, which means stop doing your job. And that is a fairly idiomatic use of the word, isn’t it? To PACK something IN means to quit, to give up. So, sometimes people leave me comments on my website saying, I hope you never stop doing “A Phrasal Verb a Day”. It seems that some people think I’m going to PACK it IN. I’m not planning to PACK it IN, but I’ve just slowed down. I’ve, kind of, picked up again recently. I’m doing them every day. Anyway, don’t worry, I’m not going to PACK this IN. I’m not going to PACK it IN. I’m going to try and complete my task of doing 365 episodes of this. So, there you go, to PACK something IN meaning to quit or to stop doing something. Okay?
Now, there is a fixed phrase, which is “Oh! PACK it IN!”. That’s a fixed phrase. It’s fairly informal. It’s used to tell someone to stop doing something which is annoying. So, if you imagine someone, you know, when people do that thing with the pen, where they are like clicking the pen and they get really really annoying and then you say “Oh! Just PACK it IN, will you? That’s really annoying.” Or if someone is like tapping you on the head, and it gets… “Oh! Just PACK it IN, that’s really irritating”. Okay? So, there you go. To PACK, PACK something IN. PACK lots of people INTO the theatre. “We PACKED everyone INTO the car”, and “I’m going to PACK IN my job, I’ve had enough”, for example. Or just simply, “Oh! PACK it IN, that’s really annoying”.
Right, that’s the end of this episode. Speak to you again soon but for now just time to say goodbye. So, here it is. Bye!