take place



A verb phrase, with place functioning as the direct object of the transitive verb take.


  • (file)


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

  1. (intransitive) To happen or to occur.
    Unfortunately, the meeting never took place.
    The wedding was to take place in the rose garden.
    • 1787, Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery, London, p. 96,[1]
      [] when sold and delivered up to their inhuman purchasers, a more heart-piercing scene cannot well take place.
    • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, Chapter 6,[2]
      A change had taken place in the weather the preceding evening, and a keen north-east wind, whistling through the crevices of our bedroom windows all night long, had made us shiver in our beds []
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 19, in The China Governess[3]:
      When Timothy and Julia hurried up the staircase to the bedroom floor, where a considerable commotion was taking place, Tim took Barry Leach with him. He had him gripped firmly by the arm, since he felt it was not safe to let him loose, and he had no immediate idea what to do with him.
    • 2021 October 6, “Network News: Plaque at Oxenholme celebrates line's 175th anniversary”, in RAIL, number 941, page 22:
      Part-funded through Avanti West Coast's Station Community Project Fund, events are taking place between April 2021 and April 2022 to coincide with key milestones in the lines' history.
  2. (obsolete) To take precedence or priority.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well, Act I, Scene 1,[4]
      I know him a notorious liar,
      Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
      Yet these fixed evils sit so fit in him,
      That they take place, when virtue’s steely bones
      Look bleak i’ the cold wind []
    • 1715, Joseph Addison, The Free-Holder, No. 1, 23 December, 1715, London: D. Midwinter and J. Tonson, 1716, p. 2,[5]
      As a British Free-Holder, I should not scruple taking place of a French Marquis; and when I see one of my Countreymen amusing himself in his little Cabbage-Garden, I naturally look upon him as a greater Person than the Owner of the richest Vineyard in Champagne.
    • 1818, Jane Austen, Persuasion, Chapter 6,[6]
      [] I wish anybody could give Mary a hint that it would be a great deal better if she were not so very tenacious, especially if she would not be always putting herself forward to take place of mamma. Nobody doubts her right to have precedence of mamma, but it would be more becoming in her not to be always insisting on it.
  3. (obsolete) To take effect; to prevail.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, London: William Ponsonbie, Book 3, Canto 9, p. 534,[7]
      But he to shifte their curious request,
      Gan causen, why she could not come in place;
      Her crased helth, her late recourse to rest,
      And humid euening ill for sicke folkes cace,
      But none of those excuses could take place;
      Ne would they eate, till she in presence came.
    • 1676, Roger Boyle, Parthenissa, London: Henry Herringman, Part 1, p. 51,[8]
      [] the moderate advice took place, and the people, upon the Kings engagement of soon remedying their miseries, return’d with blessings for him []
    • 1732, George Berkeley, Alciphron: or, the Minute Philosopher, Dublin: G. Risk, G. Ewing & W. Smith, Volume 1, Dialogue 2, Chapter 16, p. 70,[9]
      If your Doctrine takes place I wou’d fain know what can be the advantage of a great fortune, which all mankind so eagerly pursue?
  4. (obsolete) To sit in a particular location, take one's place.
    • c. 1612, William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, Henry VIII, Act II, Scene 4,[10]
      KING HENRY VIII takes place under the cloth of state; CARDINAL WOLSEY and CARDINAL CAMPEIUS sit under him as judges. QUEEN KATHARINE takes place some distance from KING HENRY VIII.
    • 1820, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe, Chapter 5,[11]
      Cedric himself coldly nodded in answer to the Jew's repeated salutations, and signed to him to take place at the lower end of the table, where, however, no one offered to make room for him.

Usage notesEdit

  • This is a more formal way of saying to happen.