take on

EnglishEdit

PronunciationEdit

  • (file)

VerbEdit

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

  1. To acquire, bring in, or introduce.
    The ship took on cargo in Norfolk yesterday.
    Taking on a first employee should be done with care and consideration.
  2. (idiomatic) To begin to have or exhibit.
    In the dark, the teddy bear took on the appearance of a fearsome monster.
  3. (idiomatic) To assume or take responsibility for.
    I'll take on the project if no one else will.
    • 1987, Nigeria Magazine, volumes 55-56, Government of Nigeria, page 27:
      This type of marriage was always fraught with divorce because in most cases the old creditor, instead of allowing one of his male children to marry the girl, would take her on himself. For the fact that flirting was a serious taboo within the society, the girl would bolt away [] .
    • 2005, Elaine McKewon, The Scarlet Mile, A Social History of Prostitution in Kalgoorlie, 1894-2004, University of Western Australia Press, page 74:
      She was 78, I think, and if there was only one customer, she’d take him on sometimes.
  4. (idiomatic) To attempt to fight, compete with, or engage with.
    I don't recommend taking on that bully, since he's bigger than you are.
    • 1990, Robert H. Rimmer, The Harrad Experiment, Prometheus Books, page 93:
      “I’ll bet, despite the fact that the Tenhausens picked you as a soul-mate for June Atterman, that if Beth Hillyer took of[f] her clothes and shook herself at you, you’d point right in the air and be ready to take her on.”
    • 2003, George Gmelch, Behind the smile, The working lives of Caribbean tourism, Indiana University Press, page 129:
      I don't find that sexy. I tell her to take her time and try to be friends and work her way in. Then I might see something nice in her and take her on.
    • 2021 June 30, Philip Haigh, “Regional trains squeezed as ECML congestion heads north”, in RAIL, number 934, page 52:
      I'll be interested to see how this service does. It will be basic with fares to match, so will be akin to a budget airline taking on a flag-carrier.
  5. (soccer) To (attempt to) dribble round (an opposition player).
    • 2016 May 22, Phil McNulty, “Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United”, in BBC[1]:
      He drifted past four Palace players and took on two more before crossing to the far post, where Fellaini touched on for Mata to score. It was a momentum-shifting moment.
  6. (intransitive, colloquial) To catch on, do well; to become popular.
    • 1974, GB Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, New York 2007, p. 225:
      He had enough money to stock it well, and it took on; but the side of the business he did best on was his travelling shop.
  7. (intransitive, idiomatic) To grieve or be concerned (about something or someone).
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, “chapter 16”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299:
      But I am one of those that never take on about princely fortunes, and am quite content if the world is ready to board and lodge me, while I am putting up at this grim sign of the Thunder Cloud.
    • 1955, Patrick White, The Tree of Man, New York: Viking, Chapter 13, pp. 198-199,[2]
      So she hung crying, lopsided and ludicrous on the seat of the buggy [] . People passing looked at her and wondered why she was taking on. There was something almost obscene about a strong, healthy woman blubbering in the sunlight in that public place.
  8. To obtain the services of (a person) in exchange for remuneration; to give someone a job.

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