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From Middle English taken (to take, lay hold of, grasp, strike), from Old English tacan (to grasp, touch), probably of North Germanic origin, from Old Norse taka (to touch, take), from Proto-Germanic *tēkaną (to touch), from Proto-Indo-European *deh₁g-, *dh₁g- (to touch). Gradually displaced Middle English nimen ("to take"; see nim), from Old English niman (to take). Cognate with Icelandic and Norwegian Nynorsk taka (to take), Norwegian Bokmål ta (to take), Danish tage (to take, seize), Middle Dutch taken (to grasp), Dutch taken (to take; to grasp), Middle Low German tacken (to grasp). Compare with tackle.


  • enPR: tāk, IPA(key): /teɪk/, [tʰeɪ̯k]
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪk


take (third-person singular simple present takes, present participle taking, simple past took, past participle taken)

  1. (transitive) To get into one's hands, possession, or control, with or without force.
    They took Charlton's gun from his cold, dead hands.
    I'll take that plate off the table.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 19, in The China Governess[1]:
      Meanwhile Nanny Broome was recovering from her initial panic and seemed anxious to make up for any kudos she might have lost, by exerting her personality to the utmost. She took the policeman's helmet and placed it on a chair, and unfolded his tunic to shake it and fold it up again for him.
    1. (transitive) To seize or capture.
      take the guards prisoner
      take prisoners
      After a bloody battle, they were able to take the city.
    2. (transitive) To catch or get possession of (fish or game).
      took ten catfish in one afternoon
    3. (transitive, cricket) To catch the ball; especially as a wicket-keeper and after the batsman has missed or edged it.
    4. (transitive) To appropriate or transfer into one's own possession, sometimes by physically carrying off.
      Billy took her pencil.
    5. (transitive) To exact.
      take a toll
      take revenge
    6. (transitive) To capture or win (a piece or trick) in a game.
      took the next two tricks
      took Smith's rook
  2. (transitive) To receive or accept (something) (especially something given or bestowed, awarded, etc).
    took third place
    took bribes
    The camera takes 35mm film.
    • Bible, Numbers xxxv.31:
      Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer.
    1. (transitive) To receive or accept (something) as payment or compensation.
      The store doesn't take checks.
      She wouldn't take any money for her help.
      Do you take credit?
      The vending machine only takes bills, it doesn't take coins.
    2. (transitive) To accept and follow (advice, etc).
      take my advice
    3. (transitive) To receive into some relationship.
      take a wife
      The school only takes new students in the fall.
      The therapist wouldn't take him as a client.
    4. (transitive, intransitive, law) To receive or acquire (property) by law (e.g. as an heir).
      • 1832, Lodge v Simonton, in Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, page 442:
        There was no intestacy, and they did not take under the will as heirs, []
      • 1913, Conrad v Conrad et al (Court of Appeals of Kentucky, Feb. 25, 1913), in The Southwestern Reporter, volumes 153-154, page 741:
        The only interest they have in the land arises under the will of E. J. Turnham, under which they take one half of the land.
  3. (transitive) To remove.
    take two eggs from the carton
    1. (transitive) To remove or end by death; to kill.
      The earthquake took many lives.
      The plague took rich and poor alike.
      Cancer took her life.
      He took his life last night.
    2. (transitive) To subtract.
      take one from three and you are left with two
  4. (transitive) To have sex with.
    • 2011, Georges Simenon, Monsieur Monde Vanishes, page 126:
      He remembered her look of distress, her childish "Oh!" when he took her for the first time, clumsily, because he felt ashamed. And each time after that, each time they had sex together, [] he tried to be as gentle as possible, []
    • 2014 July 3, Susan Calman, during Mock the Week, series 13, episode 4:
      And the queen takes the bishop... this is turning out to be quite the royal wedding!
  5. (transitive) To defeat (someone or something) in a fight.
    Don't try to take that guy. He's bigger than you.
    The woman guarding us looks like a professional, but I can take her!
  6. (transitive) To grasp or grip.
    He took her hand in his.
  7. (transitive) To select or choose; to pick.
    Take whichever bag you like.
    She took the best men with her and left the rest to garrison the city.
    I'll take the blue plates.
    I'll take two sugars in my coffee, please.
    • Bible, 1 Samuel xiv 42:
      Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.
  8. (transitive) To adopt (select) as one's own.
    She took his side in every argument.
    take a stand on the important issues
  9. (transitive) To carry or lead (something or someone).
    She took her sword with her everywhere she went.
    I'll take the plate with me.
    1. (transitive, especially of a vehicle) To transport or carry; to convey to another place.
      The next bus will take you to Metz.
      I took him for a ride
      I took him down to London.
    2. (transitive, of a path, road, etc.) To lead (to a place); to serve as a means of reaching.
      These stairs take you down to the basement.
      Stone Street took us right past the store.
    3. (transitive) To pass (or attempt to pass) through or around.
      She took the steps two or three at a time/
      He took the curve / corner too fast.
      The pony took every hedge and fence in its path.
    4. (transitive) To escort or conduct (a person).
      He took her to lunch at the new restaurant, took her to the movies, and then took her home.
    5. (reflexive) To go.
      • 2007, Edwin Mullins, The Popes of Avignon, Blue Bridge, 2008, page 59:
        Nicholas then took himself to Avignon where in August 1330 he formally renounced his claim to the papacy.
  10. (transitive) To use as a means of transportation.
    take the ferry
    I took a plane.
    He took the bus to London, and then took a train to Manchester.
    He's 96 but he still takes the stairs.
  11. (obsolete) To visit; to include in a course of travel.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Penn, Travels in Holland, etc:
      Almost a year since, R. B. and B. F. took that city, in the way from Frederickstadt to Amsterdam, and gave them a visit.
    • 1827, Wesleyan Methodism in Manchester and its vicinity, volume 1, page 7:
      Mr. Clayton had not been long in his new situation, before Mr. Wasley tendered his personal respects to him; "For in May (1733), he set out for Epsworth, and took Manchster in his way to see him."
  12. (transitive) To obtain for use by payment or lease.
    She took a condo at the beach for the summer.
    He took a full-page ad in the Times.
    1. (transitive) To obtain or receive regularly by (paid) subscription.
      They took two magazines.
      I used to take The Sunday Times.
  13. (transitive) To consume.
    1. (transitive) To receive (medicine) into one's body, e.g. by inhalation or swallowing; to ingest.
      take two of these and call me in the morning
      take the blue pill
      I take aspirin every day to thin my blood.
    2. (transitive) To partake of (food or drink); to consume.
      The general took dinner at seven o'clock.
      • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
        To such men as Mr. Hellyer, who every night take much strong drink, and on no occasion whatever take any exercise, sixty is the grand climacteric. He was, a year ago, just fifty-nine. Alas! he has not even reached his grand climacteric. Already he is gone. He was cut off by pneumonia, or apoplexy, last Christmas.
  14. (transitive) To experience, undergo, or endure.
    1. (transitive) To undergo; to put oneself into, to be subjected to.
      take sun-baths
      take a shower
      She made the decision to take chemotherapy.
    2. (transitive) To experience or feel.
      She takes pride in her work.
      I take offence at that.
      to take a dislike
      to take pleasure in his opponent's death
      • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
        Thinks I to myself, “Sol, you're run off your course again. This is a rich man's summer ‘cottage’ and if you don't look out there's likely to be some nice, lively dog taking an interest in your underpinning.”
    3. (transitive) To submit to; to endure (without ill humor, resentment, or physical failure).
      took a pay cut
      take a joke
      The hull took a lot of punishment before it broke.
      I can take the noise, but I can't take the smell.
      That truck bed will only take two tons.
    4. (transitive) To participate in.
      She took a vacation to France but spent the whole time feeling miserable that her husband couldn't be there with her.
      Aren't you supposed to take your math final today?
      Despite my misgivings, I decided to take a meeting with the Russian lawyer.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
        No matter how early I came down, I would find him on the veranda, smoking cigarettes, or []. And at last I began to realize in my harassed soul that all elusion was futile, and to take such holidays as I could get, when he was off with a girl, in a spirit of thankfulness.
    5. (transitive) To suffer, to endure (a hardship or damage).
      The ship took a direct hit and was destroyed.
      Her career took a hit.
  15. (transitive) To cause to change to a specified state or condition.
    He had to take it apart to fix it.
    She took down her opponent in two minutes.
    • 2010, Thomas M. Bloch, Many Happy Returns: The Story of Henry Bloch, page 86:
      In 1961, they lined up a lawyer and an underwriter to take the company public.
  16. (transitive) To regard in a specified way.
    He took the news badly.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 22, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Not unnaturally, “Auntie” took this communication in bad part. Thus outraged, she showed herself to be a bold as well as a furious virago.
  17. (transitive) To conclude or form (a decision or an opinion) in the mind.
    took the decision to close its last remaining outlet
    took a dim view of city officials
  18. (transitive) To understand (especially in a specified way).
    Don't take my comments as an insult.
    if she took my meaning
    • 1853, The American Journal of Science and Arts, page 125:
      The author explained the theory of Dove, which, if we took him correctly, was, that the lustre of bodies and particularly the metallic lustre arose from the light coming from the one stratum of the superficial particles of bodies interfering on the eye []
  19. (transitive) To accept or be given (rightly or wrongly); assume (especially as if by right).
    He took all the credit for the project, although he had done almost none of the work.
    She took the blame, in the public's eyes, although the debacle was more her husband's fault than her own.
  20. (transitive) To believe, to accept the statements of.
    take her word for it
    take him at his word
  21. (transitive) To assume or suppose; to reckon; to regard or consider.
    take it from her comments she won't be there.
    I took him to be a person of honor.
    He was often taken to be a man of means.
    Do you take me for a fool?
    Do you take me to be stupid?
    Looking at him as he came into the room, I took him for his father.
    • 1950, Edwin Basil Redlich, The early traditions of Genesis, page 108:
      The dimensions of the ark, if we take a cubit to be equal to 15 feet, []
  22. (transitive) To draw, derive, or deduce (a meaning from something).
    I'm not sure what moral to take from that story.
    • c. 1630-1694,, John Tillotson, Sermon V, The Excellency of the Christian Religion:
      And the firm belief of a future Judgment, which shall render to every man according to his deeds, if it be well consider'd, is to a reasonable nature the most forcible motive of all other to a good life; because it is taken from the consideration of the greatest and most lasting happiness and misery that human nature is capable of.
  23. (transitive) To derive (as a title); to obtain from a source.
    "As I Lay Dying" takes its title from Book XI of Homer's "Odyssey"
  24. (transitive) To catch or contract (an illness, etc).
    took a chill
  25. (transitive) To come upon or catch (in a particular state or situation).
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 20, in The China Governess[2]:
      The story struck the depressingly familiar note with which true stories ring in the tried ears of experienced policemen. [] The second note, the high alarum, not so familiar and always important since it indicates the paramount sin in Man's private calendar, took most of them by surprise although they had been well prepared.
  26. (transitive) To captivate or charm; to gain or secure the interest or affection of.
    took her fancy
    took her attention
    • Bible, Proverbs vi.25:
      Neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Wake
      Cleombroutus was so taken with this prospect, that he had no patience.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Thomas Moore
      I know not why, but there was a something in those half-seen features, — a charm in the very shadow that hung over their imagined beauty, — which took me more than all the outshining loveliness of her companions.
  27. (transitive, of cloth, paper, etc) To absorb or be impregnated by (dye, ink, etc); to be susceptible to being treated by (polish, etc).
    cloth that takes dye well
    paper that takes ink
    the leather that takes a certain kind of polish
  28. (transitive, of a ship) To let in (water).
    • 1972, Anne and Robert Sinai, Israel & the Arabs: prelude to the Jewish state, page 107:
      The ship was taking seawater in 4 places, and the passengers had been without fresh water []
  29. (transitive) To require.
    It takes a while to get used to the smell.
    Looks like it's gonna take a taller person to get that down.
    Finishing this on schedule will take a lot of overtime.
    • 1920, China Monthly Review 15, page 357:
      If the summary of the Tientsin society is accurate, a famine population of more than 14,000,000 is already bad enough. If it takes five dollars to keep one of them alive, []
    • 2009, Living It Out →ISBN:
      While it takes courage to come out, the acceptance of parents and other family members can really help the person coming out to accept themselves.
    • 2013 August 31, “Code blue”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8851:
      Time was it took a war to close a financial exchange. Now all it needs is a glitch in technology. On August 26th trading on Eurex, the main German derivatives exchange, opened as usual; 20 minutes later it shut down for about an hour. Four days earlier the shares of every company listed on NASDAQ, an American stock exchange, ceased trading for three hours.
  30. (transitive) To proceed to fill.
    He took a seat in the front row.
  31. (transitive) To fill, to use up (time or space).
    Hunting that whale takes most of his free time.
    His collection takes a lot of space.
    The trip will take about ten minutes.
  32. (transitive) To avail oneself of.
    He took that opportunity to leave France.
  33. (transitive) To practice; perform; execute; carry out; do.
    take a walk
    take action/steps/measures to fight drug abuse
    take a trip
    take aim
    take the tempo slowly
    The kick is taken from where the foul occurred.
    Pirès ran in to take the kick.
    The throw-in is taken from the point where the ball crossed the touch-line.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
      To such men as Mr. Hellyer, who every night take much strong drink, and on no occasion whatever take any exercise, sixty is the grand climacteric. He was, a year ago, just fifty-nine. Alas! he has not even reached his grand climacteric. Already he is gone. He was cut off by pneumonia, or apoplexy, last Christmas.
  34. (transitive) To assume or perform (a form or role).
    1. (transitive) To assume (a form).
      took the form of a duck
      took shape
      a god taking the likeness of a bird
    2. (transitive) To perform (a role).
      take the part of the villain/hero
    3. (transitive) To assume and undertake the duties of (a job, an office, etc).
      take office
      take the throne
      • 2013 August 10, Schumpeter, “Cronies and capitols”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
        Policing the relationship between government and business in a free society is difficult. Businesspeople have every right to lobby governments, and civil servants to take jobs in the private sector.
  35. (transitive) To bind oneself by.
    he took the oath of office last night
  36. (transitive) To move into.
    the witness took the stand
    the next team took the field
  37. (transitive) To go into, through, or along.
    go down two blocks and take the next left
    take the path of least resistance
  38. (transitive) To have and use one's recourse to.
    take cover/shelter/refuge
  39. (transitive) To ascertain or determine by measurement, examination or inquiry.
    take her pulse / temperature / blood pressure
    take a census
  40. (transitive) To write down; to get in, or as if in, writing.
    He took a mental inventory of his supplies.
    She took careful notes.
  41. (transitive) To make (a photograph, film, or other reproduction of something).
    She took a video of their encounter.
    Could you take a picture of us?
    The police took his fingerprints.
  42. (transitive, dated) To take a picture, photograph, etc of (a person, scene, etc).
    The photographer will take you sitting down.
    to take a group/scene
  43. (transitive) To obtain money from, especially by swindling.
    took me for ten grand
  44. (transitive, now chiefly by enrolling in a class or course) To apply oneself to the study of.
    As a child, she took ballet.
    I plan to take math, physics, literature and flower arrangement this semester.
  45. (transitive) To deal with.
    take matters as they arise
  46. (transitive) To consider in a particular way, or to consider as an example.
    I've had a lot of problems recently: take last Monday, for example. My car broke down on the way to work. Then ... etc.
  47. (transitive, baseball) To decline to swing at (a pitched ball); to refrain from hitting at, and allow to pass.
    He'll probably take this one.
  48. (transitive, grammar) To have to be used with (a certain grammatical form, etc).
    This verb takes the dative; that verb takes the genitive.
  49. (intransitive) To get or accept (something) into one's possession.
    My husband and I have a dysfunctional marriage. He just takes and takes; he never gives.
  50. (intransitive) To engage, take hold or have effect.
    1. (intransitive, of ink, dye, etc) To adhere or be absorbed properly.
      the dye didn't take
    2. (intransitive, of a plant, etc) To begin to grow after being grafted or planted; to (literally or figuratively) take root, take hold.
      not all grafts take
      I started some tomato seeds last spring, but they didn't take.
      • 1884, Stephen Bleecker Luce, Text-book of Seamanship, page 179:
        The cradles are supported under their centres by shores, on which the keel takes.
    3. (intransitive, of a mechanical device) To catch; to engage.
      • 2009, Sheldon Russell, The Yard Dog: A Mystery, page 210:
        At the depot, Hook climbed out, slamming the door twice before the latch took.
    4. (intransitive, possibly dated) To win acceptance, favor or favorable reception; to charm people.
      • c. 1672-1719, Joseph Addison:
        Each wit may praise it for his own dear sake, / And hint he writ it, if the thing should take.
    5. (intransitive) To have the intended effect.
      • 1967, Richard Martin Stern, The Kessler Legacy, page 103:
        "When I was young," I said, "I was vaccinated with religion, but the vaccination didn't take."
  51. (intransitive) To become; to be affected in a specified way.
    They took ill within 3 hours.
    She took sick with the flu.
  52. (intransitive, possibly dated) To be able to be accurately or beautifully photographed.
    • 1881, Jessie Fothergill, Kith and Kin, in The Eclectic Magazine, page 529:
      "Photographs never do give anything but a pale imitation, you know, but the likenesses, as likenesses, are good. She ‘takes well’, as they say, and those were done lately."
  53. (intransitive, dialectal, proscribed)[1] An intensifier.
    • 2012, Max Brand, Silvertip's Trap →ISBN:
      I took and beat the devil out of him.
  54. (transitive, obsolete) To deliver, bring, give (something) to (someone).
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xj, in Le Morte Darthur, book XIII:
      for thy loue I haue lefte my countrey / And sythe ye shalle departe oute of this world / leue me somme token of yours that I may thynke on you / Ioseph said that wille I doo ful gladly / Now brynge me your sheld that I toke yow whanne ye went in to bataille ageynst kyng Tolleme
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Matthew 22.19:
      Jesus perceaved there wylynes, and sayde: Why tempte ye me ye ypocrytes? lett me se the tribute money. And they toke hym a peny.
  55. (transitive, obsolete outside dialects and slang) To give or deliver (a blow, to someone); to strike or hit.
    He took me a blow on the head.

Usage notesEdit

In a few informal sociolects, took is sometimes replaced by the proscribed form taked.


  • 1611King James Version of the Bible, Luke 1:1
    Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us []
  • (Can we date this quote?) Francis Bacon
    When flame taketh and openeth, it giveth a noise.
  • (Can we date this quote?) John Dryden
    Beauty alone could beauty take so right.
  • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, in The Celebrity:
    Here was my chance. I took the old man aside, and two or three glasses of Old Crow launched him into reminiscence.
  • 1973, Albert J. Reiss, The Police and the Public, page 44:
    A lot of officers when they knock off a still will take an axe to the barrels.



Derived termsEdit



take (plural takes)

  1. The or an act of taking.
    • 1999, Impacts of California sea lions and Pacific harbor seals [...] (published by the United States National Marine Fisheries Service), page 32:
      The 1994 Amendments address the incidental take of marine mammals in the course of commercial fishing, not the direct lethal take of pinnipeds for management purposes.
  2. Something that is taken; a haul.
    1. Money that is taken in, (legal or illegal) proceeds, income; (in particular) profits.
      He wants half of the take if he helps with the job.
      The mayor is on the take.
    2. The or a quantity of fish, game animals or pelts, etc which have been taken at one time; catch.
  3. An interpretation or view, opinion or assessment; perspective.
    What's your take on this issue, Fred?
  4. An approach, a (distinct) treatment.
    a new take on a traditional dish
  5. (film) A scene recorded (filmed) at one time, without an interruption or break; a recording of such a scene.
    It's a take.
    Act seven, scene three, take two.
  6. (music) A recording of a musical performance made during an uninterrupted single recording period.
  7. A visible (facial) response to something, especially something unexpected; a facial gesture in response to an event.
    did a double-take and then a triple-take
    I did a take when I saw the new car in the driveway.
    • 1991, William Shatner, TekLords[3]:
      “When our client mentioned Dr. Chesterton, you did a take that was perceptible to one with my trained eye. Know the gent, amigo?”
    • 2007, Laura McBride, Catch a Falling Starr[4]:
      Biddy did a 'take' and stared at Mandy speechless for a moment—then she fled back to the kitchen
    • 2013, Carsten Stroud, The Homecoming: Book Two of the Niceville Trilogy[5], page 301:
      He's a stone-cold snake, Nick, but he's our stone—cold snake. Keep tugging on hanging threads and one day your pants will fall off." / Nick did a take, grinning in spite of his miserable mood. “How, exactly, would that work?" / Mavis shrugged, grinned right back at him.
  8. (medicine) An instance of successful inoculation/vaccination.
  9. (rugby, cricket) A catch of the ball (in cricket, especially one by the wicket-keeper).
  10. (printing) The quantity of copy given to a compositor at one time.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 1970, Harry Shaw, Errors in English and ways to correct them, page 93: In the sentence, "He took and beat the horse unmercifully," took and should be omitted entirely.





  1. Rōmaji transcription of たけ

Norwegian NynorskEdit


take (present tense tek, past tense tok, past participle teke, passive infinitive takast, present participle takande, imperative tak)

  1. Alternative form of taka




  1. want
    se-takeI want


  • 2001, Alejandra Vidal, quoted in Subordination in Native South-American Languages