Tim Bowen chaulks up another great article on phrasal verbs.
If you cave in to an idea, you finally agree to do what others want after a great deal of pressure. They may chaulk this up as a victory (achieve a notable success) but you may feel cheesed off (annoyed and frustrated) if it's not what you really want.
Someone who cottons on to something begins to understand that idea, for example, 'We've tried to be subtle but I think Robert is now cottoning on to the idea that we don't want him there.'
If something is cobbled together it is put together quickly and without much thought, as in, 'After the fire, the government cobbled together the safety report to satisfy the press.' If people cobble together, however, it means they get something together between them which they don't have much of: 'Between us we cobbled together enough money to buy him a decent birthday present.' The phrase cough up, is usually used when talking about money and means to pay for something when you would prefer not to, as in 'After parking in the wrong place, he was forced to cough up £100 for a parking ticket.'
To damp down means to reduce the effort or enthusiasm for something, for instance, 'It was hoped that the freezing temperatures would dampen down the protests.' If something dawns (up)on you, you realize what is happening: 'After three defeats, it finally dawned on him that his team were never going to make the finals.' The phrase divorced from reality is used to describe a person or idea that is completely separated from what is really possible, as in, 'The council's plans for the city centre were completely divorced from reality.'
Something that dwindles away becomes gradually smaller over a period of time, for example, 'After being unemployed for six months, his savings had gradually dwindled away.' If this happens, you may need to be doled out (given or helped out, often used in reference to money), for instance, 'After she lost her credit card, I doled her out so she had enough money to get to work.'