The word ‘take’ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to remove from a particular place or reach out and hold an object.
- Someone has taken my bike. (remove)
- Can you take the groceries? My arms are starting to ache. (hold)
Take is an irregular verb. The past tense is took and the past participle is taken.
idiomatic phrasal verbs
Did you know phrasal verbs are sometimes used in idioms? See if you can spot any. If you don’t know any phrasal verbs with ‘take’, click here to learn them.
idioms list with ‘take’
- it takes two to tango – some activities you can’t do alone and both parties are responsible
e.g. I blamed my personal trainer for tempting me into cheating, but it takes two to tango.
- let nature take its course – allow events to develop naturally, don’t interfere
e.g. I’ve bandaged the baby owl’s leg, now I have to let nature take its course.
- take a leaf out of someone’s book – copy, follow someone’s example as it will be to your advantage
e.g. You should take a leaf out of Reece’s book and study. He got 98% in the last exam.
- take a pounding – suffer a lot of damage
e.g. My city took a pounding during the war, you can still see the damage now.
- take a rain check – a nice way of refusing an invitation on this particular occasion
e.g. Can I take a rain check on drinks after work? I`ve had a really tough day.
- take a shine to – like a lot
e.g. I really took a shine to the cat we found, but then it`s owner came forward.
- take a turn for the worse – one’s illness becomes more serious
e.g. My dog took a turn for the worse and sadly passed away.
- take each day as it comes – don’t worry about the future, deal with things as they happen
e.g. We’re working through our marriage problems and taking each day as it comes.
- take five – have a short break
e.g. Take five, have a drink, go to the toilet and be back in here ready to start chapter 12.
- take it easy – relax and don’t do much
e.g. I took It easy at the weekend, I’ve got a few busy weeks coming up.
- take one’s hat off to someone – salute/congratulate/honour someone
e.g. I can’t believe you travel the world alone, I take my hat off to you.
- take one’s time – not hurry, use as much time as you need
e.g. It’s a 150 mile drive so we’ll take our time and stop a few times.
- take shape – start to develop, become clear/defined
e.g. My business plan is taking shape, I’ve found my niche.
- take sides – give support to one person/group in a dispute
e.g. My kids took sides with their mother, now they don’t want to see me.
- take someone for a ride – trick/cheat/deceive someone
e.g. He left me as soon as his visa came through. He really took me for a ride.
- take someone to the cleaners – unfairly take all someone’s money/property/possessions
e.g. Gordon won the poker night. He took everyone to the cleaners.
- take something by storm – become popular/successful very quickly
e.g. A new technique for plucking eyebrows is taking the beauty world by storm.
- take something on the chin – accept that something bad has happened and don’t complain about it
e.g. Johnny wasn’t picked for the team, He took it on the chin and is going to train harder.
- take something to heart – be deeply affected/hurt by criticism
e.g. I called him an idiot and he took it to heart, we’re not speaking.
- take something with a pinch of salt – something may not be completely accurate
e.g. Penny exaggerates, take what she says with a pinch of salt.
- take the biscuit – emphasise your surprise at something bad/annoying/stupid etc.
e.g. The train is usually a bit late, but an hour late really takes the biscuit.
- take the bull by the horns – confront a problem head on, be brave and direct
e.g. I’ve had enough of his bad attitude, I’ll take the bull by the horns and fire him.
- take the piss out of someone – mock/laugh at/make a joke about someone
e.g. My brother keeps taking the piss out of me because I let in 8 goals.
- take the reins – take control/manage something
e.g. I took the reins at the meeting and bagged a new contract. My boss will be pleased.
- take the wind out of someone’s sails – make someone less confident
e.g. Lever has hit five aces in a row, he’s taken the wind out of Jackson’s sails.
- take to something like a duck to water – have a natural ability
e.g. Hayley has taken to motherhood like a duck to water. She is a natural.
Let’s see these idioms with pictures and meaning using real-life scenarios.
Hey, did you know the verb ‘take’ has many phrasal verbs. Since you like idioms and phrases, you obviously want to improve your fluency and speak like a native.
Am I right?
I thought you might like to learn the phrasal verbs with ‘take’ too. They are very common in informal English and great to know/be able to understand if you happen to be speaking to a native. We use them all the time, like literally ALL the time.