#18 – TO EKE OUT

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= to make something last as long as possible, eg money, food, supplies
“we have to eke out our food during the winter”
“Don’t eat all those biscuits! We’ll need to eke them out if we’re going to survive this zombie apocalypse ”

Hello ladies and gentlemen.

This is Luke from Luke’s English Podcast. This year I’m teaching you a phrasal verb every day. 

Yesterday, I didn’t get round to doing it. So today, you’re going to get two. Two for the price of one, even though it’s free, but anyway.

Today’s phrasal verb, the first one, is TO EKE OUT.


The last one was EAT OUT. So don’t get mixed up in terms of pronunciation. No.

EKE OUT is spelt “E”-“K”-“E” OUT

Alright? EKE OUT and this means, you kind of make something, for example, money or food or supplies. You make it last as long as possible. Probably, because you don’t have very much.


For example: 

– “When we lived in the mountains we had to EKE OUT our supplies during the winter”


Let’s see. You can also say TO EKE OUT a living. That’s when you manage to get by on not very much money, because you’ve got, kind of, a bad job. 

– “So, you know, my parents”… 

Let’s see…

– “My grandparent when they were growing up as children, there were in a lot of poverty and they had to EKE OUT a living. It was very hard for them.” 


So, TO EKE somthing OUT. EKE OUT your money, EKE OUT your food or supplies. I mean, for example, if zombies attack and we’ve got, kind of, a total breakdown in a lawless in society, you have to, kind of, try to get as many supplies as possible and then, EKE them OUT for as long as you can. 


So, just imagine a zombie invasion and you’ve got some biscuits in the cupboard, you’re really going to, kind of, have to EKE OUT those biscuits. Don’t, for example, just binge on them on first day. 

For example, if you have an encounter with a zombie and you manage to escape and you get back to your home and you’re stressed out, and you think:

– “Oh, my God, it was so horrible. I’m going to have to eat all of these biscuits. Just to make myself feel alright again.”

Don’t do that. You have to EKE OUT these biscuits, because, you know, survival, suddenly a survival situation has arrived.


That’s it for this one. 

Don’t forget to visit teacherluke.wordpress.com where you’ll find details about these phrasal verbs including, eventually, a transcript, so you can read every single word and learn all of it. 

So, when the zombie apocalypse does arrive you’ll know exactly what you should be saying. 


There will be another one of these, well, today in fact, because I’ll do the next one in just a couple of minutes. 

Bye, for now. 

Bye bye bye bye.

  • Alier

    During the civil war in Sudan there was a lack of foods and war continued for 21 years. my family had eke out during the period.

  • Denis Paraschuk

    There was famine in Ukraine (1932-1933). My grandmother had to eke out her food during this period.

  • Denis Paraschuk

    There was difficult period. We eked out the money – we didn’t have enough ones

  • Cinara

    Very well done, Luke. I adore your podcast. I will have to eke out the texts. I would like to read all in one day. Fantastic!

  • María José

    I´ll take the train in a minute, see you there in two hours time, I won´t use the phone during the journey, need to eke the battery out for later.

  • raulito

    When I and my friends don’t have much money to keep drinking in a pub we eke our pint of beer out to not get out so quickly haha XD.It give us chance to draw out our stay to keep talking.

    • María José

      hahahaha love it!

  • Anonymous

    ” last a song as possible”-poetic one :)))