take·​off | \ ˈtāk-ˌȯf How to pronounce takeoff (audio) \

Definition of takeoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a rise or leap from a surface in making a jump or flight or an ascent in an aircraft or in the launching of a rocket
b : an action of starting out
c : a rapid rise in activity, growth, or popularity an economic takeoff
2 : an imitation especially in the way of caricature
3a : a spot at which one takes off
b : a starting point : point of departure
4 : an action of removing something
5 : a mechanism for transmission of the power of an engine or vehicle to operate some other mechanism

take off

took off; taken off; taking off; takes off

Definition of take off (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : remove take your shoes off
2a : to take or allow as a discount : deduct took 10 percent off
b : to spend (a period of time) away from a usual occupation or activity took two weeks off
c : release take the brake off
d : discontinue, withdraw took off the morning train
3 slang : rob

intransitive verb

1a : to start off or away often suddenly : set out, depart took off for her trip
b : to leave the surface : begin flight
c : to spring into wide use or popularity
d(1) : to branch off (as from a main stream or stem)
(2) : to take a point of origin
e : to begin a leap or spring
f : to embark on rapid activity, development, or growth
2 : to take away : detract

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Examples of takeoff in a Sentence


Please remain seated during takeoff. Air Force One, you're ready for takeoff. All the high jumpers had flawless takeoffs.


I can only stay for a few minutes, and then I'll need to take off again. take off your coat and stay awhile
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Rapid growth in global air travel is prompting airlines and airport operators to shake up a decades-old system for allocating takeoff and landing slots at some of the world’s busiest airfields. Doug Cameron, WSJ, "Surging Air Traffic Prompts Rethink of Airport Gate Rights," 6 July 2019 The Federal Aviation Administration identified the plane as a Cessna 172 that lost engine power while the pilot practiced takeoffs and landings before landing southwest of the airport. City News Service, latimes.com, "Small plane makes emergency landing on Buena Park street; no one is hurt," 20 June 2019 That will require the carrier version to sport a robust set of landing gear to handle the shock of carrier takeoffs and landings. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "France Unveils Next-Generation Fighter Jet," 17 June 2019 As YouTube footage of the machine shows below, the Amazon unmanned aircraft does vertical takeoffs and landings, like a chopper, before shifting into airplane mode. Alain Sherter, CBS News, "Amazon shows off new delivery drone that flies like a helicopter and a plane," 5 June 2019 Pilots in the first plane were unaware of the new system and the plane crashed into the sea a little over 10 minutes after takeoff. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "The emergency fix for the grounded Boeing Max needs its own software fix," 26 June 2019 The plane crashed shortly after takeoff Friday at a small airfield used by skydivers and the U.S. Army. baltimoresun.com, "Marylander was among 11 who died in Hawaii crash; safety agency calls for tighter skydiving flight rules," 25 June 2019 Federal officials have said the plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Washington Post, "The Latest: Colorado couple among those on Hawaii flight," 24 June 2019 Eleven Cubesats will be deployed from the dispenser between 19 and 50 minutes after takeoff. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX Falcon Heavy poised for dramatic night launch," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Named after the island off central Cuba, the rum bar’s design is a nod to pre-revolution Cuban high life, a period when tourism was taking off and the country’s capital city was a playground for socialites and celebrities. Shauna Stuart | Sstuart@al.com, al.com, "In Founder’s Station, Cayo Coco Rum Bar & Restaurante is a nod to Cuba’s pre-revolution high life," 12 July 2019 The barrels existed as a promotional item or a mascot suit that never really took off. Ed Masley, azcentral, "KNIX at 50: 'They're not really listeners, they're family,' says Tim Hattrick," 10 July 2019 Unlike traditional rocket systems, which take off vertically from a launch pad, Virgin Orbit proposes to launch rockets horizontally. Samantha Masunaga, latimes.com, "Virgin Orbit drops a rocket from the wing of a plane in critical test," 10 July 2019 Officers and residents of Grand Cay discovered the aircraft, which had taken off at about 2 a.m. local time, overturned in 16 feet of water on Thursday afternoon, police said. NBC News, "Billionaire coal executive and philanthropist Chris Cline dies at 60," 5 July 2019 The Vincennes then mistook Iran Air flight 655, which had taken off from Bandar Abbas, Iran, heading for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, for an Iranian fighter jet. Washington Post, "Rouhani: Iran will enrich uranium to ‘any amount we want’," 5 July 2019 When another officer attempted to pull over the Yamaha R1, the driver took off, traveling at more than 100 mph and weaving in and out of traffic before finally turning south onto Brecksville Road. John Benson, cleveland.com, "Family friend suspected of stealing more than $6,200 worth of tools: Seven Hills Police Blotter," 3 July 2019 Nobody wants to be first to take off the gas mask and find out. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, "Marmalade Sky," 24 June 2019 The 298 people who took off aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Amsterdam expected to land in Kuala Lumpur. The Economist, "Investigators indict the suspected killers of 298 people on flight MH17," 20 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'takeoff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of takeoff


1833, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for takeoff

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for takeoff

The first known use of takeoff was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for takeoff



English Language Learners Definition of takeoff

: the moment when an airplane, helicopter, etc., leaves the ground and begins to fly
: the beginning of a jump
: a sudden increase in size, activity, or popularity


take·​off | \ ˈtāk-ˌȯf How to pronounce takeoff (audio) \

Kids Definition of takeoff

1 : an act or instance of leaving the ground (as by an airplane)
2 : an imitation especially to mock the original
3 : a spot at which something leaves the ground

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More from Merriam-Webster on takeoff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with takeoff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for takeoff

Spanish Central: Translation of takeoff

Nglish: Translation of takeoff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about takeoff

Comments on takeoff

What made you want to look up takeoff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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