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[teyk] /teɪk/
verb (used with object), took, taken, taking.
to get into one's hold or possession by voluntary action:
to take a cigarette out of a box; to take a pen and begin to write.
to hold, grasp, or grip:
to take a book in one's hand; to take a child by the hand.
to get into one's hands, possession, control, etc., by force or artifice:
to take a bone from a snarling dog.
to seize or capture:
to take an enemy town; to take a prisoner.
to catch or get (fish, game, etc.), especially by killing:
to take a dozen trout on a good afternoon.
to pick from a number; select:
Take whichever you wish.
to receive and accept willingly (something given or offered):
to take a compliment with a smile; to take a bribe.
to receive or be the recipient of (something bestowed, administered, etc.):
to take first prize.
to accept and act upon or comply with:
to take advice; to take a dare.
to receive or accept (a person) into some relation:
to take someone in marriage; to take new members once a year.
to receive, react, or respond to in a specified manner:
Although she kept calm, she took his death hard.
to form in the mind; make:
The company took the decision to shut down.
to receive as a payment or charge:
He refused to take any money for the use of his car.
to gain for use by payment, lease, etc.:
to take a box at the opera; to take a beach house for a month.
to secure regularly or periodically by payment:
to take a magazine.
to get or obtain from a source; derive:
The book takes its title from Dante.
to extract or quote:
He took whole passages straight from Dickens.
to obtain or exact as compensation for some wrong:
to take revenge.
to receive into the body or system, as by swallowing or inhaling:
to take a pill; to take a breath of fresh air.
to have for one's benefit or use:
to take a meal; to take a nap; to take a bath.
to use as a flavoring agent in a food or beverage:
to take sugar in one's coffee.
to be subjected to; undergo:
to take a heat treatment.
to endure or submit to with equanimity or without an appreciable weakening of one's resistance:
to take a joke; unable to take punishment.
to enter into the enjoyment of (recreation, a holiday, etc.):
to take a vacation.
to carry off without permission:
to take something that belongs to another.
to remove:
to take the pins out of one's hair.
to remove by death:
The flood took many families.
to end (a life):
She took her own life.
to subtract or deduct:
If you take 2 from 5, that leaves 3.
to carry with one:
Take your lunch with you. Are you taking an umbrella?
to convey in a means of transportation:
We took them for a ride in the country.
(of a vehicle) to convey or transport:
Will this bus take me across town?
(of a road, path, etc.) to serve as a means of conducting to or through some place or region:
Fifth Avenue took us through the center of town. These stairs will take you up to the attic.
to bring about a change in the state or condition of:
Her ambition and perseverance took her quickly to the top of her field.
to conduct or escort:
to take someone out for dinner.
to set about or succeed in getting over, through, or around (some obstacle); clear; negotiate:
The horse took the hedge easily. He took the corner at top speed.
to come upon suddenly; catch:
to take someone by surprise.
to get or contract; catch:
He took cold over the weekend. I took a chill.
to attack or affect, as with a disease:
suddenly taken with a fit of coughing.
to be capable of attaining as a result of some action or treatment:
Most leathers take a high polish.
to absorb or become impregnated with; be susceptible to:
Waxed paper will not take ink. This cloth takes dye.
to attract and hold:
The red sweater took his eye. The urgent voice took her attention.
to captivate or charm:
The kitten took my fancy.
to require:
It takes courage to do that. The climb took all our strength.
to employ for some specified or implied purpose:
to take measures to curb drugs.
to use as a means of transportation:
to take a bus to the ferry.
to get on or board (a means of transportation) at a given time or in a given place:
She takes the train at Scarsdale.
to proceed to occupy:
to take a seat.
to occupy; fill (time, space, etc.):
His hobby takes most of his spare time. The machine takes a lot of room.
to use up; consume:
This car takes a great deal of oil. He took ten minutes to solve the problem.
to avail oneself of:
He took the opportunity to leave. She took the time to finish it properly.
to do, perform, execute, etc.:
to take a walk.
to go into or enter:
Take the next road to the left.
to adopt and enter upon (a way, course, etc.):
to take the path of least resistance.
to act or perform:
to take the part of the hero.
to make (a reproduction, picture, or photograph):
to take home movies of the children.
to make a picture, especially a photograph, of:
The photographer took us sitting down.
to write down:
to take a letter in shorthand; to take notes at a lecture.
to apply oneself to; study:
to take ballet; She took four courses in her freshman year.
to deal with; treat:
to take things in their proper order.
to proceed to handle in some manner:
to take a matter under consideration.
to assume or undertake (a function, duty, job, etc.):
The mayor took office last month.
to assume or adopt (a symbol, badge, or the like) as a token of office:
to take the veil; to take the throne.
to assume the obligation of; be bound by:
to take an oath.
to assume or adopt as one's own:
to take someone's part in an argument; He took the side of the speaker.
to assume or appropriate as if by right:
to take credit for someone else's work.
to accept the burden of:
She took the blame for his failure.
to determine by inquiry, examination, measurement, scientific observation, etc.:
to take someone's pulse; to take a census.
to make or carry out for purposes of yielding such a determination:
to take someone's measurements; to take a seismographic reading.
to begin to have; experience (a certain feeling or state of mind):
to take pride in one's appearance.
to form and hold in the mind:
to take a gloomy view.
to grasp or apprehend mentally; understand; comprehend:
Do you take my meaning, sir?
to understand in a specified way:
You shouldn't take the remark as an insult.
to grasp the meaning of (a person):
if we take him correctly.
to accept the statements of:
to take him at his word.
to assume as a fact:
I take it that you will be there.
to regard or consider:
They were taken to be wealthy.
to capture or win (a piece, trick, etc.) in a game.
Informal. to cheat, swindle, or victimize:
They really take people in that shop. The museum got taken on that painting.
to win or obtain money from:
He took me for $10 in the poker game.
(of a man) to have sexual intercourse with.
Grammar. to be used with (a certain form, accent, case, mood, etc.):
a verb that always takes an object.
Law. to acquire property, as on the happening of an event:
They take a fortune under the will.
Baseball. (of a batter) to allow (a pitch) to go by without swinging at it:
He took a third strike.
verb (used without object), took, taken, taking.
to catch or engage, as a mechanical device:
She turned the key and heard a click as the catch took.
to strike root or begin to grow, as a plant.
to adhere, as ink, dye, or color.
(of a person or thing) to win favor or acceptance:
a new TV show that took with the public.
to have the intended result or effect, as a medicine, inoculation, etc.:
The vaccination took.
to enter into possession, as of an estate.
to detract (usually followed by from).
to apply or devote oneself:
He took to his studies.
to make one's way; proceed; go:
to take across the meadow.
to fall or become:
She took sick and had to go home.
to admit of being photographed in a particular manner:
a model who takes exceptionally well.
to admit of being moved or separated:
This crib takes apart for easy storage.
the act of taking.
something that is taken.
the quantity of fish, game, etc., taken at one time.
an opinion or assessment:
What's your take on the candidate?
an approach; treatment:
a new take on an old idea.
Informal. money taken in, especially profits.
Journalism. a portion of copy assigned to a Linotype operator or compositor, usually part of a story or article.
  1. a scene, or a portion of a scene, photographed without any interruption or break.
  2. an instance of such continuous operation of the camera.
Informal. a visual and mental response to something typically manifested in a stare expressing total absorption or wonderment:
She did a slow take on being asked by reporters the same question for the third time.
a recording of a musical performance.
Medicine/Medical. a successful inoculation.
Verb phrases
take after,
  1. to resemble (another person, as a parent) physically, temperamentally, etc.:
    The baby took after his mother.
  2. Also, take off after, take out after. to follow; chase:
    The detective took after the burglars.
take back,
  1. to regain possession of:
    to take back one's lawn mower.
  2. to return, as for exchange:
    It was defective, so I took it back to the store.
  3. to allow to return; resume a relationship with:
    She said she would never take him back again.
  4. to cause to remember:
    It takes one back to the old days.
  5. to retract:
    to take back a statement.
take down,
  1. to move from a higher to a lower level or place.
  2. to pull apart or take apart; dismantle; disassemble.
  3. to write down; record.
  4. to diminish the pride or arrogance of; humble:
    to take someone down a notch or two.
take for,
  1. to assume to be:
    I took it for the truth.
  2. to assume falsely to be; mistake for:
    to be taken for a foreigner.
take in,
  1. to permit to enter; admit.
  2. to alter (an article of clothing) so as to make smaller.
  3. to provide lodging for.
  4. to include; encompass.
  5. to grasp the meaning of; comprehend.
  6. to deceive; trick; cheat.
  7. to observe; notice.
  8. to visit or attend:
    to take in a show.
  9. to furl (a sail).
  10. to receive as proceeds, as from business activity.
  11. Chiefly British. to subscribe to:
    to take in a magazine.
take off,
  1. to remove:
    Take off your coat.
  2. to lead away:
    The child was taken off by kidnappers.
  3. Informal. to depart; leave:
    They took off yesterday for California.
  4. to leave the ground, as an airplane.
  5. to move onward or forward with a sudden or intense burst of speed:
    The police car took off after the drunken driver.
  6. to withdraw or remove from:
    She was taken off the night shift.
  7. to remove by death; kill:
    Millions were taken off by the Black Plague.
  8. to make a likeness or copy of; reproduce.
  9. to subtract, as a discount; deduct:
    Shop early and we'll take off 20 percent.
  10. Informal. to imitate; mimic; burlesque.
  11. Informal. to achieve sudden, marked growth, success, etc.:
    Sales took off just before Christmas. The actor's career took off after his role in that movie.
take on,
  1. to hire; employ.
  2. to undertake; assume:
    to take on new responsibilities.
  3. to acquire:
    The situation begins to take on a new light.
  4. to accept as a challenge; contend against:
    to take on a bully.
  5. Informal. to show great emotion; become excited:
    There's no need to take on so.
take out,
  1. to withdraw; remove:
    to take out a handkerchief.
  2. to procure by application:
    to take out an insurance policy.
  3. to carry out for use or consumption elsewhere:
    to take a book out of the library; to get food to take out.
  4. to escort; invite:
    He takes out my sister now and then.
  5. to set out; start:
    They took out for the nearest beach.
  6. Slang. to kill; destroy.
take over, to assume management or possession of or responsibility for:
The first officer took over the ship when the captain suffered a heart attack.
take to,
  1. to devote or apply oneself to; become habituated to:
    to take to drink.
  2. to respond favorably to; begin to like:
    They took to each other at once.
  3. to go to:
    to take to one's bed.
  4. to have recourse to; resort to:
    She took to getting up at five to go jogging before work.
take up,
  1. to occupy oneself with the study or practice of:
    She took up painting in her spare time.
  2. to lift or pick up:
    He took up the fallen leaves with a rake.
  3. to occupy; cover:
    A grand piano would take up half of our living room.
  4. to consume; use up; absorb:
    Traveling to her job takes up a great deal of time.
  5. to begin to advocate or support; sponsor:
    He has taken up another struggling artist.
  6. to continue; resume:
    We took up where we had left off.
  7. to reply to in order to reprove:
    The author takes up his critics in the preface of his latest book.
  8. to assume:
    He took up the duties of the presidency.
  9. to absorb:
    Use a sponge to take up the spilled milk.
  10. to make shorter, as by hemming:
    to take up the sleeves an inch.
  11. to make tighter, as by winding in:
    to take up the slack in a reel of tape.
  12. to deal with in discussion:
    to take up the issue of mass transit.
  13. to adopt seriously:
    to take up the idea of seeking public office.
  14. to accept, as an offer or challenge.
  15. to buy as much as is offered:
    The sale was taken up in a matter of days.
  16. Chiefly British. to clear by paying off, as a loan.
  17. Obsolete. to arrest (especially a runaway slave).
take up with, Informal. to become friendly with; keep company with:
He took up with a bad crowd.
on the take, Slang.
  1. accepting bribes.
  2. in search of personal profit at the expense of others.
take for granted. grant (def 10).
take it,
  1. to accept or believe something; aquiesce:
    I'll take it on your say-so.
  2. Informal. to be able to resist or endure hardship, abuse, etc.
  3. to understand:
    I take it that you're not interested.
take it out in, to accept as payment for services or as an equivalent of monetary compensation:
He takes it out in goods instead of cash.
take it out of,
  1. to exhaust; enervate:
    Every year the winter takes it out of me.
  2. to exact payment from; penalize:
    They took it out of your pay.
take it out on, Informal. to cause (someone else) to suffer for one's own misfortune or dissatisfaction:
Just because you're angry with him you don't have to take it out on me!
take up a collection, to ask for or gather donations, usually of money, from a number of people.
take upon oneself, to assume as a responsibility or obligation:
She has taken it upon herself to support the family.
late Old English
before 1100; Middle English taken to take, strike, lay hold of, grasp, late Old English tacan to grasp, touch < Old Norse taka to take; cognate with Middle Dutch taken to grasp, Gothic tekan to touch
Related forms
takable, takeable, adjective
taker, noun
untakable, adjective
untakeable, adjective
Can be confused
bring, take (see synonym study at bring)
1. acquire, secure, procure. See bring. 6. choose. 23. bear, stand, tolerate. 43. delight, attract, interest, engage. 44. need, demand. 45. use. 68. ascertain. 76. suppose, presume.
1. give. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for take on
  • Those hollow and weary eyes take on a gleam of light.
  • Only as means of publication were multiplied and made more available did it take on the natural tones of everyday use.
  • The representation may be extended in that the windows, entrances and exits of the room take on the meaning of the body openings.
  • It would be wrong to suppose that they take on the symptom out of sympathy.
  • The new ones begin to form and take on distinctive characteristics before the old ones are discarded.
  • The workings of his conscience did indeed take on surprising shapes.
  • Certain sea creatures tint their skin with pigments from the corals they've eaten to take on the color of their home reef.
  • One common take on this machine is a wheel or water mill that uses changes in weight to continually rotate.
  • To my delight, the color didn't fade with cooking, though it did take on a maroon tinge.
  • They take on a completely empty look that challenges the image of the big muscular superhero body.
British Dictionary definitions for take on

take on

verb (adverb, mainly transitive)
to employ or hire: to take on new workmen
to assume or acquire: his voice took on a plaintive note
to agree to do; undertake: I'll take on that job for you
to compete against, oppose, or fight: I will take him on at tennis, I'll take him on any time
(intransitive) (informal) to exhibit great emotion, esp grief


verb (mainly transitive) takes, taking, took, taken
(also intransitive) to gain possession of (something) by force or effort
to appropriate or steal: to take other people's belongings
to receive or accept into a relationship with oneself: to take a wife
to pay for or buy
to rent or lease: to take a flat in town
to receive or obtain by regular payment: we take a newspaper every day
to obtain by competing for; win: to take first prize
to obtain or derive from a source: he took his good manners from his older brother
to assume the obligations of: to take office
to endure, esp with fortitude: to take punishment
to adopt as a symbol of duty, obligation, etc: to take the veil
to receive or react to in a specified way: she took the news very well
to adopt as one's own: to take someone's part in a quarrel
to receive and make use of: to take advice
to receive into the body, as by eating, inhaling, etc: to take a breath
to eat, drink, etc, esp habitually: to take sugar in one's tea
to have or be engaged in for one's benefit or use: to take a rest
to work at or study: to take economics at college
to make, do, or perform (an action): to take a leap
to make use of: to take an opportunity
to put into effect; adopt: to take measures
(also intransitive) to make a photograph of or admit of being photographed
to act or perform: she takes the part of the Queen
to write down or copy: to take notes
to experience or feel: to take pride in one's appearance, to take offence
to consider, believe, or regard: I take him to be honest
to consider or accept as valid: I take your point
to hold or maintain in the mind: his father took a dim view of his career
to deal or contend with: the tennis champion took her opponent's best strokes without difficulty
to use as a particular case: take hotels for example
(intransitive) often foll by from. to diminish or detract: the actor's bad performance took from the effect of the play
to confront successfully: the horse took the jump at the third attempt
(intransitive) to have or produce the intended effect; succeed: her vaccination took, the glue is taking well
(intransitive) (of seeds, plants, etc) to start growing successfully
to aim or direct: he took a swipe at his opponent
to deal a blow to in a specified place
(archaic) to have sexual intercourse with
to carry off or remove from a place
to carry along or have in one's possession: don't forget to take your umbrella
to convey or transport: the train will take us out of the city
to use as a means of transport: I shall take the bus
to conduct or lead: this road takes you to the station
to escort or accompany: may I take you out tonight?
to bring or deliver to a state, position, etc: his ability took him to the forefront in his field
to go to look for; seek: to take cover
to ascertain or determine by measuring, computing, etc: to take a pulse, take a reading from a dial
(intransitive) (of a mechanism) to catch or engage (a part)
to put an end to; destroy: she took her own life
to come upon unexpectedly; discover
to contract: he took a chill
to affect or attack: the fever took him one night
(copula) to become suddenly or be rendered (ill): he took sick, he was taken sick
(also intransitive) to absorb or become absorbed by something: to take a polish
(usually passive) to charm or captivate: she was very taken with the puppy
(intransitive) to be or become popular; win favour
to require or need: this job will take a lot of attention, that task will take all your time
to subtract or deduct: to take six from ten leaves four
to hold or contain: the suitcase won't take all your clothes
to quote or copy: he has taken several paragraphs from the book for his essay
to proceed to occupy: to take a seat
(often foll by to) to use or employ: to take steps to ascertain the answer
to win or capture (a trick, counter, piece, etc)
(also intransitive) to catch as prey or catch prey
(slang) to cheat, deceive, or victimize
take amiss, to be annoyed or offended by
take at one's word, See word (sense 17)
take care, to pay attention; be heedful
take care of, to assume responsibility for; look after
take chances, take a chance, to behave in a risky manner
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) take five, to take a break of five minutes
take heart, to become encouraged
take it
  1. to assume; believe: I take it you'll be back later
  2. (informal) to stand up to or endure criticism, abuse, harsh treatment, etc
take one's time, to use as much time as is needed; not rush
take place, to happen or occur
take someone's name in vain
  1. to use a name, esp of God, disrespectfully or irreverently
  2. (jocular) to say (someone's) name
take something upon oneself, to assume the right to do or responsibility for (something)
the act of taking
the number of quarry killed or captured on one occasion
(informal, mainly US) the amount of anything taken, esp money
(films, music)
  1. one of a series of recordings from which the best will be selected for release
  2. the process of taking one such recording
  3. a scene or part of a scene photographed without interruption
  1. any objective indication of a successful vaccination, such as a local skin reaction
  2. a successful skin graft
(printing) a part of an article, story, etc, given to a compositor or keyboard operator for setting in type
(informal) a try or attempt
(informal, mainly US) a version or interpretation: Cronenberg's harsh take on the sci-fi story
Derived Forms
takable, takeable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English tacan, from Old Norse taka; related to Gothic tekan to touch


(NZ) a topic or cause
Word Origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for take on



late Old English tacan, from a Scandinavian source (e.g. Old Norse taka "take, grasp, lay hold," past tense tok, past participle tekinn; Swedish ta, past participle tagit), from Proto-Germanic *tækanan (cf. Middle Low German tacken, Middle Dutch taken, Gothic tekan "to touch"), of uncertain origin, perhaps originally meaning "to touch."

Gradually replaced Middle English nimen as the verb for "to take," from Old English niman, from the usual West Germanic *nem- root (cf. German nehmen, Dutch nemen; see nimble). OED calls it "one of the elemental words of the language;" take up alone has 55 varieties of meaning in that dictionary's 2nd print edition. Basic sense is "to lay hold of," which evolved to "accept, receive" (as in take my advice) c.1200; "absorb" (she can take a punch) c.1200; "to choose, select" (take the long way home) late 13c.; "to make, obtain" (take a shower) late 14c.; "to become affected by" (take sick) c.1300.

Take five is 1929, from the approximate time it takes to smoke a cigarette. Take it easy first recorded 1880; take the plunge "act decisively" is from 1876; take the rap "accept (undeserved) punishment" is from 1930. Phrase take it or leave it is recorded from 1897.


1650s, "that which is taken in payment," from take (v.). Sense of "money taken in" by a single performance, etc., is from 1931. Movie-making sense is recorded from 1927. Criminal sense of "money acquired by theft" is from 1888. The verb sense of "to cheat, defraud" is from 1920. On the take "amenable to bribery" is from 1930.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for take on

take on

verb phrase
  1. To behave angrily; make a fuss: How you do take on! (1430+)
  2. To stop and search someone, demand identification, question harshly, etc; jack up, roust: We were also taught that good cops take on a lot of people (1970s+ Police)


  1. The money taken in for a sporting event, at a gambling casino, etc; gross: Nevada's take has been hit by a recession (1931+)
  2. An acceptable portion of movie or TV recording, musical recording, taping, etc: The director said okay, it was a take (1922+)
  3. A portion; extract; bit; outtake: fast takes from the latest research that may change your life (1847+)
  4. One's interpretation or reaction: What's your take? You think he was telling the truth or was it just drunken bragging? (1980s+)
  1. To cheat or defraud someone; swindle; scam: The old couple got taken for their life savings (1920+)
  2. (also take someone into camp or take someone downtown) To defeat someone utterly; trounce; clobber: UCLA took Illinois in the Rose Bowl/ Last year Tanner took Borg downtown in the same round/ In his heart, Gingrich thinks, ''I can take them all'' (1939+)
  3. To succeed; come off, cut it: I tried to apologize, but I guess it didn't take (1633+)
Related Terms

double-take, on the take

[the third noun sense's dated example refers to a portion of reporter's copy set in type]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with take on

take on

Undertake or begin to deal with, as in I took on new responsibilities, or She took on too much when she accepted both assignments. [ Early 1300s ]
Hire, engage, as in We take on extra workers during the busy season. [ Early 1600s ]
Oppose in competition, as in This young wrestler was willing to take on all comers. [ Late 1800s ]
Display strong emotion, as in Don't take on so. [ ; early 1400s ]
Acquire as, or as if, one's own, as in He took on the look of a prosperous banker. [ Late 1700s ]


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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