take liberties

Idioms & Phrases

take liberties

  1. Behave improperly or disrespectfully; also, make unwanted sexual advances. For example, He doesn't allow staff members to take liberties, such as calling clients by their first names, or She decided that if Jack tried to take liberties with her she would go straight home. This idiom uses liberties in the sense of "an overstepping of propriety," and thus differs markedly from take the liberty of. [c. 1700]

  2. Make a statement or take an action not warranted by the facts or circumstances, as in Their book takes liberties with the historical record.

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