The word ‘grow’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to increase in size and develop.

For example:

  • My rose plant is growing. (increase in size)
  • I’ve grown as a person since I started travelling. (develop)


Grow is an irregular verb. The past tense is grew and the past participle is grown.

idiomatic phrasal verbs

Did you know phrasal verbs are sometimes used in idioms? See if you can spot any. If you don’t know any phrasal verbs with ‘grow’, click here to learn them.

idioms list with ‘grow’

  • absence makes the heart grow fonder – being away from someone you love makes you appreciate them more
    e.g. Stevie is going away for five weeks, we’ll see if absence makes the heart grow fonder.
  • don’t let the grass grow under one’s feet – hurry, act now, don’t wait
    e.g. Brian is a useless employee. We’ve lost so much business by him letting the grass grow.
  • grow a backbone – stop being a wimp and stick up for yourself and your beliefs
    e.g. Melody should grow a backbone. She isn’t employed to make the coffees.
  • money doesn’t grow on trees – money is limited
    e.g. My kids think money grows on trees, they want the latest things all the time.

Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.

verb phrases - grow
Idioms with verbs - GROW - absence makes the heart grow fonder
Idioms with verbs - GROW - don’t let the grass grow under one’s feet meaning
Idioms with verbs - GROW - grow a backbone
verb phrase - money doesn’t grow on trees


Hey, did you know the verb ‘grow’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.

Am I right?


I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘grow’ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.