take the fifth

Slang Dictionary

take the fifth definition


  1. tv.
    and five it. to refuse to testify to a U.S. legislative committee under the protection of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. : The lawyer just sat there and said, “Five it” after every question.
  2. tv.
    to decline to answer any questions. : I'll take the fifth on that one. Ask Fred.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

take the Fifth

Refuse to answer on the grounds that one may incriminate oneself, as in He took the Fifth on so many of the prosecutor's questions that we're sure he's guilty. This idiom refers to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself. [Mid-1900s]

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