v. took (tk), tak·en (tākən), tak·ing, takes
1. To get into one's hands, control, or possession, especially:
a. To grasp or grip: take your partner's hand.
b. To capture physically; seize: take an enemy fortress.
c. To seize with authority or legal right: The town took the land by eminent domain.
d. To get possession of (fish or game, for example) by capturing or killing.
e. Sports To catch or receive (a ball or puck): The player took the pass on the fly.
f. Sports & Games To acquire in a game or competition; win: took the crown in horse racing.
g. Sports & Games To defeat: Our team took the visitors three to one.
h. To engage in sex with.
2. To remove or cause to be absent, especially:
a. To remove with the hands or an instrument: I took the dishes from the sink. The dentist took two molars.
b. To cause to die; kill or destroy: The blight took these tomatoes.
c. To subtract: If you take 10 from 30, you get 20.
d. To exact: The storm took its toll.
3. To affect in a strong or sudden manner as if by capturing, as:
a. To deal a blow to; strike or hit: The boxer took his opponent a sharp jab to the ribs.
b. To delight or captivate: She was taken by the puppy.
c. To catch or affect with a particular action: Your remark took me by surprise.
a. To carry in one's possession: Don't forget to take your umbrella. See Usage Note at bring.
b. To convey by transportation: This bus will take you to Dallas.
c. To lead or cause to go along to another place: The guide took us to the waterfall.
d. To be as a path or course for; provide a way for: The trail takes you to the lake.
5. To receive into or on the body, as:
a. To put (food or drink, for example) into the body; eat or drink: took a little soup for dinner.
b. To draw in; inhale: took a deep breath.
c. To expose one's body to (healthful or pleasurable treatment, for example): take the sun; take the waters at a spa.
6. To make use of or select for use, as:
a. To move into or assume occupancy of: She took a seat by the fireplace. The team took the field.
b. To choose for one's own use; avail oneself of the use of: We took a room in the cheaper hotel.
c. To require the use of (something): It takes money to live in this town. This camera takes 35-millimeter film.
d. To use or require (time): It only takes a few minutes to wash the car.
e. To use (something) as a means of conveyance or transportation: take a train to Pittsburgh.
f. To use (something) as a means of safety or refuge: take shelter from the storm.
g. To choose and then adopt (a particular route or direction) while on foot or while operating a vehicle: Take a right at the next corner. I downshifted to take the corner.
a. To undertake, make, or perform: take a walk; take a decision.
b. To perceive or become aware of by one of the senses: took a quick look at the sky; took a smell of the spices.
c. To commit and apply oneself to the study of: take art lessons; take Spanish.
d. To study for with success: took a degree in law.
8. To accept, receive, or assume, as:
a. To accept (something owed, offered, or given) either reluctantly or willingly: take a bribe.
b. To allow to come in; give access or admission to; admit: The boat took a lot of water but remained afloat.
c. To provide room for; accommodate: We can't take more than 100 guests.
d. To become saturated or impregnated with (dye, for example).
e. To submit to (something inflicted); undergo or suffer: didn't take his punishment well.
f. To put up with; endure or tolerate: I've had about all I can take from them.
g. To receive into a particular relation or association, as into one's care or keeping: They plan to take a new partner into the firm. We took the dog for a week.
h. To assume for oneself: take all the credit.
i. To agree to undertake or engage in (a task or duty, for example): She took the position of chair of the committee.
j. Baseball To refrain from swinging at (a pitched ball).
k. To be affected with; catch: The child took the flu.
l. To be hit or penetrated by: took a lot of punches; took a bullet in the leg.
m. To withstand: The dam took the heavy flood waters.
n. To require or have as a fitting or proper accompaniment: Transitive verbs take a direct object.
a. To accept as true; believe: I'll take your word that he's telling the truth.
b. To impose upon oneself; subject oneself to: take a vow.
c. To follow or adhere to (advice or a suggestion, for example).
d. To accept or adopt as one's own: take a stand on an issue; take an interest in local history.
e. To regard or consider in a particular relation or from a particular viewpoint: We must take the bitter with the sweet. Take the matter as settled.
f. To understand or interpret: May I take your smile as an indication of approval?
g. To consider to be equal to; reckon: We take their number at 1,000.
h. To perceive or feel; experience: I took a dislike to my neighbor's intrusions.
a. To obtain from a source; derive or draw: This book takes its title from the Bible.
b. To obtain, as through measurement or a specified procedure: took the patient's temperature.
c. To write or make a record of, especially in shorthand or cursive writing: take a letter; take notes.
d. To create (an image, likeness, or representation), as by photography: took a picture of us.
e. To include or distribute (a charge) in a financial record.
11. Informal To swindle, defraud, or cheat: You've really been taken.
a. To get something into one's possession; acquire possession: The invaders took and took, until they had everything.
b. To accept or receive something: When it comes to advice, you take but you never give.
a. To have the intended effect; operate or work: The skin graft took.
b. To start growing; root or germinate: Have the seeds taken?
c. To engage or mesh; catch, as gears or other mechanical parts.
d. To gain popularity or favor: The television series never took and was later canceled.
e. Regional To begin or engage in an activity: He took and threw the money in the river.
3. To become: He took sick.
a. A quantity collected at one time, especially the amount of profit or receipts taken on a business venture or from ticket sales at a sporting event.
b. The number of fish, game birds, or other animals killed or captured at one time.
a. A scene filmed without interrupting the run of the camera.
b. A recording made in a single session.
3. A performer's reaction, especially to a specific situation or remark, as part of a comedy routine. Often used in combination: a double-take.
a. A physical reaction, such as a rash, indicating a successful vaccination.
b. A successful graft.
a. An attempt or a try: He got the answer on the third take.
b. An interpretation or assessment, as of an event: The mayor was asked for her take on the judge's decision.
1. To follow as an example: John takes after his grandfather.
2. To resemble in appearance, temperament, or character.
3. To pursue hastily: The store owner took after the thief.
1. To divide into parts; disassemble or dismantle.
2. To dissect or analyze (a theory, for example), usually in an effort to discover hidden or innate flaws or weaknesses.
3. Slang To beat up or defeat soundly; thrash.
To retract (something stated or written).
1. To bring to a lower position from a higher one.
2. To take apart; dismantle: take down the Christmas tree.
3. To lower the arrogance or the self-esteem of (a person): really took him down during the debate.
4. To put down in writing: take down a letter.
1. To regard as: Do you take me for a fool?
2. To consider mistakenly: Don't take silence for approval.
1. To receive (an amount of money), as from a business venture: The box office took in $30,000 in an hour.
2. To grant admittance to; receive as a guest or an employee. To accept (work) to be done in one's house for pay: took in typing.
3. To reduce in size; make smaller or shorter: took in the waist on the pair of pants. To make (a garment) smaller by tailoring.Nautical To furl (a sail).
4. To include or encompass: The tour takes in every site worth seeing.
5. To attend or experience: took in a movie; took in the sites. To understand: couldn't take in the meaning of the word.
6. To deceive or swindle: was taken in by a confidence artist.
7. To convey (a prisoner) to a police station.
1. To remove, as clothing: take one's coat off; take off one's shoes.
2. To release: took the brake off.
3. To deduct as a discount: took 20 percent off.
4. To discontinue: took off the commuter special.
5. To spend (time) away from work or an activity: I'm taking off three days in May. I took last week off and now I have a lot of work to do.
6. To go or leave: took off in pursuit of the robber. To rise into the air or begin flight: The plane took off on time. To achieve success or popularity: a new movie that really took off.
1. To undertake or begin to handle: took on extra responsibilities. To oppose in competition: a wrestler who took on all comers.
2. To hire; engage: took on more workers during the harvest.
3. To assume or acquire as one's own: Over the years he has taken on a doleful look.
4. To display violent or passionate emotion: Don't take on so!
1. To extract or remove: took the splinter out.Slang To kill: gangsters plotting to take out their rivals.Slang To destroy, as in an armed attack: The bombers took out the radio station.
2. To secure by application to an authority: take out a mortgage; take out a marriage license.
3. Informal To escort, as a date.
4. To give vent to: Don't take your frustration out in such an aggressive manner.
5. To obtain as an equivalent in a different form: took out the money owed in services.
6. Informal To begin a course; set out: The police took out after the thieves.
7. Nautical To land a small boat and remove it from the water: The canoeists took out above the rapids.
1. To assume control, management, or responsibility: I'm taking over while the supervisor is on vacation.
2. To assume the control or management of or the responsibility for: She took over the job after he left.
3. To become dominant: Our defense took over in the second half of the game.
4. To do (an action or a play in a game) again when the first performance has been discounted or is under dispute.
1. To have recourse to; go to, as for safety: took to the woods.
2. To develop as a habit or a steady practice: take to drink.
3. To become fond of or attached to: "Two keen minds that they are, they took to each other" (Jack Kerouac).
1. To raise; lift.
2. To absorb or adsorb; draw up or incorporate: crops taking up nutrients.
3. To begin again; resume: Let's take up where we left off. To develop an interest in or enter into: take up mountain climbing; take up engineering. To accept (an option, bet, or challenge) as offered. To deal with: Let's take up each problem one at a time. To assume: took up a friendly attitude.
4. To use up, consume, or occupy: The extra duties took up most of my time. The bed took up half of the room. To establish (residence).
5. To reduce in size; shorten or tighten: take up a gown; take up the slack.
on the take Informal
Taking or seeking to take bribes or illegal income: "There were policemen on the take" (Scott Turow).
take a bath Informal
To experience serious financial loss: "Small investors who latched on to hot new issues took a bath in Wall Street" (Paul A. Samuelson).
take account of
To take into consideration.
take away from
To detract from: Drab curtains took away from the otherwise lovely room.
To be careful: Take care or you will slip on the ice.
take care of
To assume responsibility for the maintenance, support, or treatment of.
To assume control or command.
1. To become operative, as under law or regulation: The curfew takes effect at midnight.
2. To produce the desired reaction: The antibiotics at last began to take effect.
To express opposition by argument; object to: took exception to the prosecutor's line of questioning.
take five/ten Slang
To take a short rest or break, as of five or ten minutes.
take for granted
1. To consider as true, real, or forthcoming; anticipate correctly.
2. To underestimate the value of: a publisher who took the editors for granted.
To be confident or courageous.
1. To seize, as by grasping.
2. To become established: The newly planted vines quickly took hold.
1. To understand; assume: As I take it, they won't accept the proposal.
2. Informal To endure abuse, criticism, or other harsh treatment: If you can dish it out, you've got to learn to take it.
take it on the chin Slang
To endure punishment, suffering, or defeat.
take it or leave it
To accept or reject unconditionally.
take it out on Informal
To abuse (someone) in venting one's own anger.
take kindly to
1. To be receptive to: take kindly to constructive criticism.
2. To be naturally attracted or fitted to; thrive on.
take lying down Informal
To submit to harsh treatment with no resistance: refused to take the snub lying down.
take notice of
To pay attention to.
take (one's) breath away
To put into a state of awe or shock.
take (one's) time
To act slowly or at one's leisure.
To happen; occur.
1. To become established or fixed.
2. To become rooted.
To take on a distinctive form.
Chiefly Southern US To become ill.
To associate with and support a particular faction, group, cause, or person.
1. To take an inventory.
2. To make an estimate or appraisal, as of resources or of oneself.
take stock in
To trust, believe in, or attach importance to.
take the bench Law
1. To become a judge.
2. To preside in court: The judge took the bench to hear the plaintiff's motion.
take the cake
1. To be the most outrageous or disappointing.
2. To win the prize; be outstanding.
take the count
1. To be defeated.
2. Sports To be counted out in boxing.
take the fall/hit Slang
To incur blame or censure, either willingly or unwillingly: a senior official who took the fall for the failed intelligence operation.
take the floor
To rise to deliver a formal speech, as to an assembly.
take the heat Slang
To incur and endure heavy censure or criticism: had a reputation for being able to take the heat in a crisis.
take to the cleaners Slang
To take all the money or possessions of, especially by outsmarting or swindling.
take up for
To support (a person or group, for example) in an argument.
take up the cudgels
To join in a dispute, especially in defense of a participant.
take up with Informal
To begin to associate with; consort with: took up with a fast crowd.
[Middle English taken, from Old English tacan, from Old Norse taka.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.