take advantage of

advantage

[ad-van-tij, -vahn-]
noun
1.
any state, circumstance, opportunity, or means specially favorable to success, interest, or any desired end: the advantage of a good education.
2.
benefit; gain; profit: It will be to his advantage to learn Chinese before going to China.
3.
superiority or ascendancy (often followed by over or of ): His height gave him an advantage over his opponent.
4.
a position of superiority (often followed by over or of ): their advantage in experienced players.
5.
Tennis. the first point scored after deuce.
verb (used with object), advantaged, advantaging.
6.
to be of service to; yield profit or gain to; benefit.
7.
to cause to advance; further; promote: Such action will advantage our cause.
8.
to prove beneficial to; profit: It would advantage him to work harder.
Idioms
9.
have the advantage of, to be in a superior or advantageous position; possess an advantage over: By virtue of independent wealth, he has the advantage of his opponents.
10.
take advantage of,
a.
to make use of for gain: to take advantage of an opportunity.
b.
to impose upon, especially unfairly, as by exploiting a weakness: to take advantage of someone.
11.
to advantage, to good effect; advantageously: The paintings were arranged to advantage on one wall.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English ava(u)ntage < Anglo-French, Old French avantage, equivalent to avant before (see advance) + -age -age; for ad- see advance


2. Advantage, benefit, profit all mean something that is of use or value. Advantage is anything that places one in an improved position, especially in coping with competition or difficulties: It is to one's advantage to have traveled widely. Benefit is anything that promotes the welfare or improves the state of a person or group: a benefit to society. Profit is any valuable, useful, or helpful gain: profit from trade or experience. 6. serve, avail, help, aid.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
advantage (ədˈvɑːntɪdʒ)
 
n (often foll by over or of)
1.  superior or more favourable position or power: he had an advantage over me because of his experience
2.  benefit or profit (esp in the phrase to one's advantage)
3.  tennis
 a.  the point scored after deuce
 b.  the resulting state of the score
4.  take advantage of
 a.  to make good use of
 b.  to impose upon the weakness, good nature, etc, of; abuse
 c.  to seduce
5.  to advantage to good effect: he used his height to advantage at the game
6.  you have the advantage of me you know me but I do not know you
 
[C14: avantage (later altered to advantage on the model of words beginning with Latin ad-), from Old French avant before, from Latin abante from before, away. See advance]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

advantage
early 14c., "position of being in advance of another," from O.Fr. avantage, from avant "before," probably via an unrecorded L.L. *abantaticum, from L. abante (see advance). The -d- is a 16c. intrusion on the analogy of Latin ad- words. Meaning "a favoring circumstance" (the
opposite of disadvantage) is from late 15c. Tennis score sense is from 1640s, first recorded in writings of John Milton, of all people. Phrase to take advantage of is first attested late 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

take advantage of

Put to good use; avail oneself of; also, profit selfishly by, exploit. For example, Let's take advantage of the good weather and go hiking, or They really take advantage of her good nature, getting her to do all the disagreeable chores. [Late 1300s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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