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


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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[1], London, page 96:
      [] when sold and delivered up to their inhuman purchasers, a more heart-piercing scene cannot well take place.
    • 1847 October 16, Currer Bell [pseudonym; Charlotte Brontë], chapter VI, in Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. [], volume I, London: Smith, Elder, and Co., [], →OCLC, page 91:
      A change had taken place in the weather the preceding evening, and a keen north-east wind, whistling through the crevices of our bed-room windows all night long, had made us shiver in our beds []
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter XIX, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      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. 1604–1605 (date written), William Shakespeare, “All’s Well, that Ends Well”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
      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 []
    • 1716 January 3 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison, “The Free-holder: No. 1. Friday, December 23. 1715.”, in The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq; [], volume IV, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], published 1721, →OCLC:
      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.
    • 1817 (date written), [Jane Austen], chapter VI, in Persuasion; published in Northanger Abbey: And Persuasion. [], volumes (please specify |volume=III or IV), London: John Murray, [], 20 December 1817 (indicated as 1818), →OCLC:
      [] 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, “Book III, Canto IX”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, page 534:
      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[2], London: Henry Herringman, Part 1, p. 51:
      [] 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, “The Second Dialogue”, in Alciphron: Or, The Minute Philosopher. [], volume I, London: [] J[acob] Tonson [], →OCLC, section XVI, page 112:
      If your Doctrine takes place I vvou'd fain knovv vvhat can be the advantage of a great fortune, vvhich all mankind ſo eagerly purſue?
  4. (obsolete) To sit in a particular location, take one's place.

Usage notes

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