Definition of take verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; teɪk
; tʊk
; ˈteɪkən


1 [transitive] to carry or move something from one place to anothertake something (with you) I forgot to take my bag with me when I got off the bus.take something to somebody/something Take this to the bank for me, would you?Shall I take a gift to my host family?take somebody something Shall I take my host family a gift?2 [transitive] to go with somebody from one place to another, especially to guide or lead themtake somebody It's too far to walk—I'll take you by car.take somebody to something A boy took us to our room.take somebody doing something I'm taking the kids swimming later.take somebody to do something The boys were taken to see their grandparents most weekends.3 [transitive] take somebody/something + adverb/preposition to make somebody/something go from one level, situation, etc. to anotherHer energy and talent took her to the top of her profession.The new loan takes the total debt to $100000.I'd like to take my argument a stage further.He believes he has the skills to take the club forward.We'll take the matter forward at our next meeting (= discuss it further).

reach and hold

4 [transitive] take somebody/something to put your hands or arms around somebody/something and hold them/it; to reach for somebody/something and hold them/itI passed him the rope and he took it.Free newspapers: please take one.Can you take (= hold) the baby for a moment?He took her hand/took her by the hand (= held her hand, for example to lead her somewhere).She took the child in her arms and kissed him.


5 [transitive] take something/somebody + adverb/preposition to remove something/somebody from a place or a personWill you take your books off the table?The sign must be taken down.He took some keys out of his pocket.My name had been taken off the list.She was playing with a knife, so I took it away from her. (informal) She was playing with a knife, so I took it off her. (figurative) The new sports centre will take the pressure off the old one.6 [transitive] take something to remove something without permission or by mistakeSomeone has taken my scarf.Did the burglars take anything valuable? (figurative) The storms took the lives of 50 people.7 [transitive] to get something from a particular sourcetake something from something The scientists are taking water samples from the river.The machine takes its name from its inventor.take something out of something Part of her article is taken straight (= copied) out of my book.


8 [transitive] to capture a place or person; to get control of somethingtake something (from somebody) The rebels succeeded in taking the town.The state has taken control of the company.take somebody + noun The rebels took him prisoner.He was taken prisoner by the rebels.


9 [transitive] take something to choose, buy or rent somethingI'll take the grey jacket.We took a room at the hotel for two nights.10 [transitive] take something (formal) to buy a newspaper or magazine regularlyWe take the ‘Express’.


11 [transitive] take something to eat, drink, etc. somethingDo you take sugar in your coffee?The doctor has given me some medicine to take for my cough.He started taking drugs (= illegal drugs) at college.


12 [transitive] take A (away) from B| B take away A| take A away (not used in the progressive tenses) to reduce one number by the value of another
Take 5 from 12 and you're left with 7. (informal) 80 take away 5 is 75.

write down

13 [transitive] take something to find out and record something; to write something downThe police officer took my name and address.Did you take notes in the class?


14 [transitive] take something to photograph somebody/somethingto take a photograph/picture/snapshot of somebody/somethingto have your picture/photo taken


15 [transitive] take something to test or measure somethingto take somebody's temperatureI need to have my blood pressure taken.


16 [transitive] take something to sit down in or use a chair, etcAre these seats taken?Come in; take a seat.

give example

17 [transitive] take somebody/something used to introduce somebody/something as an exampleLots of couples have problems in the first year of marriage. Take Ann and Paul.


18 [transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses or in the passive) take something to accept or receive somethingIf they offer me the job, I'll take it.She was accused of taking bribes.Does the hotel take credit cards?I'll take the call in my office.Why should I take the blame for somebody else's mistakes?If you take my advice you'll have nothing more to do with him.Will you take $10 for the book (= will you sell it for $10)?The store took (= sold goods worth) $100000 last week.19 [transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) take somebody to accept somebody as a customer, patient, etcThe school doesn't take boys (= only has girls).The dentist can't take any new patients.20 [transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) take something to experience or be affected by somethingThe school took the full force of the explosion.Can the ropes take the strain(= not break)?The team took a terrible beating.21 [transitive, no passive] take something (not usually used in the progressive tenses) to be able to bear somethingShe can't take criticism.I don't think I can take much more of this heat.I find his attitude a little hard to take.22 [transitive] take something/somebody + adverb/preposition to react to something/somebody in a particular wayHe took the criticism surprisingly well.These threats are not to be taken lightly.I wish you'd take me seriously.She took it in the spirit in which it was intended.


23 [transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) to understand or consider something in a particular waytake something (as something) She took what he said as a compliment.How am I supposed to take that remark?Taken overall, the project was a success.take something to do something What did you take his comments to mean?24 [transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) to consider somebody/something to be somebody/something, especially when you are wrongtake somebody/something for somebody/something Even the experts took the painting for a genuine Van Gogh.Of course I didn't do it!What do you take me for(= what sort of person do you think I am)?take somebody/something to be somebody/something I took the man with him to be his father.

have feeling/opinion

25 [transitive] (not usually used in the progressive tenses) take something to have a particular feeling, opinion or attitudeMy parents always took an interest in my hobbies.Don't take offence(= be offended) at what I said.I took a dislike to him.He takes the view that children are responsible for their own actions.


26 [transitive] take something to use a particular course of action in order to deal with or achieve somethingThe government is taking action to combat drug abuse.We need to take a different approach to the problem.27 [transitive] take something used with nouns to say that somebody is doing something, performing an action, take a step/walk/strollto take a bath/shower/washto take a look/glanceto take a bite/drink/sipto take a deep breathto take a break/rest (British English) No decision will be taken on the matter until next week.


28 [transitive] take something to have a particular form, position or stateOur next class will take the form of a debate.The new President takes office in January.


29 [transitive, no passive, intransitive] to need or require a particular amount of timetake something The journey to the airport takes about half an hour.take something to do something It takes about half an hour to get to the airport.That cut is taking a long time to heal.The official seemed to take hours to examine my passport.take somebody something (to do something) It took her three hours to repair her bike.It'll take her time to recover from the illness.take something for somebody to do something It'll take time(= take a long time) for her to recover from the illness.+ adverb I need a shower—I won't take long.


30 [transitive, no passive] to need or require something in order to happen or be donetake somebody/something to do something It only takes one careless driver to cause an accident.It doesn't take much to make her angry.take something (informal) He didn't take much persuading (= he was easily persuaded).31 [transitive, no passive] (not used in the progressive tenses) take something (of machines, etc.) to use something in order to workAll new cars take unleaded petrol.

size of shoes/clothes

32 [transitive, no passive] (not used in the progressive tenses) take something to wear a particular size in shoes or clothesWhat size shoes do you take?


33 [transitive, no passive] (not used in the progressive tenses) take something/somebody to have enough space for something/somebody; to be able to hold or contain a particular quantityThe bus can take 60 passengers.The tank takes 50 litres.


34 [transitive] take somebody (for something)| take something to be the teacher or leader in a class or a religious serviceThe head teacher usually takes us for French.Mr Perkins took the morning service.


35 [transitive] take something to study a subject at school, college, etcShe is planning to take a computer course.How many subjects are you taking this year?


36 [transitive] take something to do an exam or a testWhen did you take your driving test?


37 [transitive] take something to use a form of transport, a road, a path, etc. to go to a placeto take the bus/plane/trainto take a cabTake the second road on the right.It's more interesting to take the coast road.

go over/around

38 [transitive] take something (+ adverb/preposition) to go over or around somethingThe horse took the first fence well.He takes bends much too fast.

in sports

39 [transitive] take something (of a player in a sports game) to kick or throw the ball from a fixed or agreed positionto take a penalty/free kick/corner


40 [transitive] take something to use a particular method to find out people's opinionsto take a vote/poll/survey

be successful

41 [intransitive] to be successful; to workThe skin graft failed to take.


42 [transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) take something (of verbs, nouns, etc.) to have or require something when used in a sentence or other structureThe verb ‘rely’ takes the preposition ‘on’.
Most idioms containing take are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example take the biscuit is at biscuit. 

I, you, etc. can't take somebody anywhere

(informal, often humorous) used to say that you cannot trust somebody to behave well in publicYou haven't spilled your coffee again! I can't take you anywhere!

have (got) what it takes

(informal) to have the qualities, ability, etc. needed to be successful

take something as it comes


take somebody as they come

to accept something/somebody without wishing it/them to be different or without thinking about it/them very much in advance
She takes life as it comes.

take it (that…)

to suppose; to assume
I take it you won't be coming to the party?

take it from me (that…)

(informal) used to emphasize that what you are going to say is the truthTake it from me—he'll be a millionaire before he's 30.

take it on/upon yourself to do something

to decide to do something without asking permission or advice

somebody can take it or leave it

1 used to say that you do not care if somebody accepts or rejects your offer2 used to say that somebody does not have a strong opinion about somethingDancing? I can take it or leave it.

take it/a lot out of somebody

(informal) to make somebody physically or mentally tiredTaking care of small children really takes it out of you.

take some/a lot of doing

(informal) to need a lot of effort or time; to be very difficult to do

take that!

(informal) used as an exclamation when you are hitting somebody or attacking them in some other way
Phrasal verbs

take somebody aback

[usually passive] to shock or surprise somebody very much

take after somebody

[no passive]1 (not used in the progressive tenses) to look or behave like an older member of your family, especially your mother or fatherYour daughter doesn't take after you at all.2 (North American English, informal) to follow somebody quicklyI was afraid that if I started running the man would take after me.

take against somebody/something

[no passive] (old-fashioned, British English) to start not liking somebody/something for no clear reason

take somebody/something apart

(informal)1 to defeat somebody easily in a game or competitionWe were simply taken apart by the other team.2 to criticize somebody/something severelyIn his speech he took the opposition apart.

take something apart

to separate a machine or piece of equipment into the different parts that it is made of

take something away

1 to make a feeling, pain, etc. disappearI was given some pills to take away the pain.2 (British English) (North American English take something out) to buy cooked food at a restaurant and carry it away to eat, for example at homeTwo burgers to take away, please. related noun takeaway, takeout

take away from something

[no passive] to make the effort or value of something seem less
detract from
I don't want to take away from his achievements, but he couldn't have done it without my help.

take somebody back

to allow somebody, such as your husband, wife or partner, to come home after they have left because of a problem

take somebody back (to…)

to make somebody remember somethingThe smell of the sea took him back to his childhood.That song takes me back 30 years.

take something back

1 if you take something back to a shop/store, or a shop/store takes something back, you return something that you have bought there, for example because it is the wrong size or does not work2 to admit that something you said was wrong or that you should not have said itOK, I take it all back!

take something down

1 to remove a structure, especially by separating it into piecesto take down a tentWorkmen arrived to take down the scaffolding.2 to pull down a piece of clothing worn below the waist without completely removing itto take down your trousers/pants3 to write something downReporters took down every word of his speech.

take somebody in

1 to allow somebody to stay in your hometo take in lodgersHe was homeless, so we took him in.2 [often passive] to make somebody believe something that is not true
She took me in completely with her story.Don't be taken in by his charm—he's ruthless.

take something in

1 to absorb something into the body, for example by breathing or swallowingFish take in oxygen through their gills. related noun intake2 to make a piece of clothing narrower or tighterThis dress needs to be taken in at the waist.
let out
3 [no passive] to include or cover somethingThe tour takes in six European capitals.Her lecture took in all the recent developments in the subject.4 [no passive] to go to see or visit something such as a film/movieI generally take in a show when I'm in New York.5 to take notice of something with your eyesHe took in every detail of her appearance.She took in the scene at a glance.6 to understand or remember something that you hear or readHalfway through the chapter I realized I hadn't taken anything in.

take off

1 (of an aircraft, etc.) to leave the ground and begin to flyThe plane took off an hour late. related noun take-off
2 (informal) to leave a place, especially in a hurryWhen he saw me coming he took off in the opposite direction.3 (of an idea, a product, etc.) to become successful or popular very quickly or suddenlyThe new magazine has really taken off.Her singing career took off after her TV appearance.

take somebody off

1 to copy somebody's voice, actions or manner in an amusing way
2 (in sports, entertainment, etc.) to make somebody stop playing, acting, etc. and leave the field or the stageHe was taken off after twenty minutes.

take something off

1 to remove something, especially a piece of clothing from your/somebody's bodyto take off your coatHe took off my wet boots and made me sit by the fire.
put on
2 to have a period of time as a break from workI've decided to take a few days off next week.3 [often passive] to stop a public service, television programme, performances of a show, etcThe show was taken off because of poor audience figures.4 to remove some of somebody's hair, part of somebody's body, etcThe hairdresser asked me how much she should take off.The explosion nearly took his arm off.

take yourself/somebody off (to…)

(informal) to leave a place; to make somebody leave a place

take somebody off something

[often passive] to remove somebody from something such as a job, position, piece of equipment, etcThe officer leading the investigation has been taken off the case.After three days she was taken off the ventilator.

take something off something

1 to remove an amount of money or a number of marks, points, etc. in order to reduce the totalThe manager took $10 off the bill.That experience took ten years off my life (= made me feel ten years older).2 [often passive] to stop something from being soldThe slimming pills were taken off the market.

take somebody on

1 (especially British English) to employ somebodyto take on new staffShe was taken on as a trainee.2 [no passive] to play against somebody in a game or contest; to fight against somebodyto take somebody on at tennisThe rebels took on the entire Roman army.

take something on

[no passive] to begin to have a particular quality, appearance, etcThe chameleon can take on the colours of its background.His voice took on a more serious tone.

take something/somebody on

1 to decide to do something; to agree to be responsible for something/somebodyI can't take on any extra work.We're not taking on any new clients at present.2 (of a bus, plane or ship) to allow somebody/something to enterThe bus stopped to take on more passengers.The ship took on more fuel at Freetown.

take somebody out

to go to a restaurant, theatre, club, etc. with somebody you have invited

take somebody/something out

(informal) to kill somebody or destroy somethingThey took out two enemy bombers.

take something out

1 to remove something from inside somebody's body, especially a part of itHow many teeth did the dentist take out?2 to obtain an official document or serviceto take out an insurance policy/a mortgage/a loanto take out an ad in a newspaper3 (North American English) (British English take something away) to buy cooked food at a restaurant and carry it away to eat, for example at home related noun takeaway, takeout

take something out (against somebody)

to start legal action against somebody by means of an official documentThe police have taken out a summons against the driver of the car.

take something out (of something)

to obtain money by removing it from your bank account

take something out of something

to remove an amount of money from a larger amount, especially as a paymentThe fine will be taken out of your wages.

take it/something out on somebody

to behave in an unpleasant way towards somebody because you feel angry, disappointed, etc, although it is not their faultOK, so you had a bad day. Don't take it out on me.She tended to take her frustrations out on her family.

take somebody out of himself/ herself

to make somebody forget their worries and become less concerned with their own thoughts and situation

take over (from something)

to become bigger or more important than something else; to replace somethingTry not to let negative thoughts take over.It has been suggested that mammals took over from dinosaurs 65 million years ago.In your teens, peer-group friendships may take over from parents as the major influence on you.

take over (from somebody)


take something over (from somebody)

1 to begin to have control of or responsibility for something, especially in place of somebody else2 to gain control of a political party, a country, etcThe army is threatening to take over if civil unrest continues.

take something over

to gain control of a business, a company, etc, especially by buying sharesCBS Records was taken over by Sony. related noun takeover

take somebody through something

to help somebody learn or become familiar with something, for example by talking about each part in turnThe director took us through the play scene by scene.I still don't understand the contract. Can you take me through it again?

take to something

[no passive]1 to go away to a place, especially to escape from dangerThe rebels took to the hills.2 to begin to do something as a habittake to doing something I've taken to waking up very early.3 to develop an ability for somethingShe took to tennis as if she'd been playing all her life.

take to somebody/something

[no passive] to start liking somebody/somethingI took to my new boss immediately.He hasn't taken to his new school.

take up

to continue, especially starting after somebody/something else has finishedThe band's new album takes up where their last one left off.

take up something

to fill or use an amount of space or timeThe table takes up too much room.I won't take up any more of your time.Her time is fully taken up with writing.

take something up

1 to make something such as a piece of clothing shorterThis skirt needs taking up.
let down
2 to learn or start to do something, especially for pleasureThey've taken up golf.She has taken up (= started to learn to play) the oboe.3 to start or begin something such as a jobHe takes up his duties next week.4 to join in singing or saying somethingto take up the chorusTheir protests were later taken up by other groups.5 to continue something that somebody else has not finished, or that has not been mentioned for some timeShe took up the story where Tim had left off.I'd like to take up the point you raised earlier.6 to move into a particular positionI took up my position by the door.7 to accept something that is offered or availableto take up a challengeShe took up his offer of a drink.

take up with somebody

(informal) to begin to be friendly with somebody, especially somebody with a bad reputation

take somebody up on something

1 to question somebody about something, because you do not agree with themI must take you up on that point.I'd like to take you up on what you said earlier.2 (informal) to accept an offer, a bet, etc. from somebodyThanks for the invitation—we'll take you up on it some time.

take something up with somebody

to speak or write to somebody about something that they may be able to deal with or help you withThey decided to take the matter up with their MP.

be taken up with something/somebody

to be giving all your time and energy to something/somebodyShe's completely taken up with preparing for her exams.

be taken with somebody/something

to find somebody/something attractive or interestingWe were all very taken with his girlfriend.I think he's quite taken with the idea.
Usage noteUsage note: takelead escort drive show walk guide usher directThese words all mean to go with somebody from one place to another.take to go with somebody from one place to another, for example in order to show them something or to show them the way to a place:It's too far to walk—I'll take you by car.lead to go with or go in front of somebody in order to show them the way or to make them go in the right direction:Firefighters led the survivors to safety.escort to go with somebody in order to protect or guard them or to show them the way:The president arrived, escorted by twelve to take somebody somewhere in a car, taxi, etc:My mother drove us to the to take somebody to a particular place, in the right direction, or along the correct route:The attendant showed us to our seats.walk to go somewhere with somebody on foot, especially in order to make sure that they get there safely; to take an animal, especially a dog, for a walk or make an animal walk somewhere:He always walked her home. Have you walked the dog yet today?guide to show somebody the way to a place, often by going with them; to show somebody a place that you know well:She guided us through the busy streets. We were guided around the museums.usher (rather formal) to politely take or show somebody where they should go, especially within a building:She ushered her guests to their (rather formal) to tell or show somebody how to get somewhere or where to go:A young woman directed them to the take/lead/escort/drive/show/walk/guide/usher/direct somebody to/out of/into somethingto take/lead/escort/drive/show/walk/guide somebody around/roundto take/lead/escort/drive/walk somebody hometo take/lead/escort/guide somebody to safetyto lead/show the wayUsage noteUsage note: cheatfool deceive betray take in trick conThese words all mean to make somebody believe something that is not true, especially in order to get what you want.cheat to make somebody believe something that is not true, in order to get money or something else from them:She is accused of attempting to cheat the taxman. He cheated his way into the job. Cheat also means to act in a dishonest way in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game, competition or exam:You're not allowed to look at the answers— that's cheating.fool to make somebody believe something that is not true, especially in order to laugh at them or to get what you want:Just don't be fooled into investing any money with them.deceive to make somebody believe something that is not true, especially somebody who trusts you, in order to get what you want:She deceived him into handing over all his savings.betray to hurt somebody who trusts you, especially by deceiving them or not being loyal to them:She felt betrayed when she found out the truth about him.take somebody in [often passive] to deceive somebody, usually in order to get what you want:I was taken in by her story.trick to deceive somebody, especially in a clever way, in order to get what you want.con (informal) to deceive somebody, especially in order to get money from them or get them to do something for you:They had been conned out of £100000.which word?Many of these words involve making somebody believe something that is not true, but some of them are more disapproving than others. Deceive is probably the worst because people typically deceive friends, relations and others who know and trust them. People may feel cheated/betrayed by somebody in authority who they trusted to look after their interests. If somebody takes you in, they may do it by acting a part and using words and charm effectively. If somebody cheats/fools/tricks/cons you, they may get something from you and make you feel stupid. However, somebody might fool you just as a joke; and to trick somebody is sometimes seen as a clever thing to do, if the person being tricked is seen as a bad person who deserves cheat/fool/trick/con somebody out of somethingto cheat/fool/deceive/betray/trick/con somebody into doing somethingto feel cheated/fooled/deceived/betrayed/tricked/connedto fool/deceive yourselfto cheat/trick/con your way into somethingUsage noteUsage note: sitsit down be seated take a seat perchThese words all mean to rest your weight on your bottom with your back upright, for example on a chair.sit to rest your weight on your bottom with your back upright, for example on a chair:May I sit here? Sit still, will you! Sit is usually used with an adverb or prepositional phrase to show where or how somebody sits, but sometimes another phrase or clause is used to show what somebody does while they are sitting:We sat talking for hours.sit down/sit yourself down to move from a standing position to a sitting position:Please sit down. Come in and sit yourselves seated (formal) to be sitting:She was seated at the head of the table. Be seated is often used as a formal way of inviting somebody to sit down:Please be seated.take a seat to sit down Take a seat is used especially as a polite way of inviting somebody to sit down:Please take a seat.perch (rather informal) to sit on something, especially on the edge of something:She perched herself on the edge of the bed. Perch is always used with an adverb or prepositional phrase to show where somebody is sit/sit down/be seated/take a seat/perch on somethingto sit/sit down/be seated/take a seat in somethingUsage noteUsage note: last / takeLast and take are both used to talk about the length of time that something continues.Last is used to talk about the length of time that an event continues:How long do you think this storm will last? The movie lasted over two hours. Last does not always need an expression of time:His annoyance won’t last. Last is also used to say that you have enough of something:We don’t have enough money to last until next month.Take is used to talk about the amount of time you need in order to go somewhere or do something. It must be used with an expression of time:It takes (me) at least an hour to get home from work. How long will the flight take? The water took ages to boil.