take on


took on; taken on; taking on; takes on

transitive verb

: to begin to perform or deal with : undertake
took on new responsibilities
: to contend with as an opponent
took on the neighborhood bully
: to assume or acquire as or as if one's own
the city's plaza takes on a carnival airW. T. LeViness
: to have as a mathematical domain or range
what values does the function take on

intransitive verb

: to show one's feelings especially of grief or anger in a demonstrative way
she cried, and took on like a distracted bodyDaniel Defoe

Example Sentences

will take on his chief opponent in the next political debate decided to take her on as store manager
Recent Examples on the Web The report detailed trips Thomas took on Crow's private plane and luxury yacht, as well as vacations to Crow's private resort in New York and a ranch in Texas. Stefan Becket, CBS News, 7 Apr. 2023 Many drivers began to notice that highways and interstates were taking on a new purple hue lighting scheme. Drake Bentley, Journal Sentinel, 7 Apr. 2023 Nesmith took on Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. Dustin Dopirak, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Apr. 2023 After more than two years as the interim president of GateWay Community College, Amy Diaz will take on the role permanently, officials said Wednesday. Sasha Hupka, The Arizona Republic, 6 Apr. 2023 The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh dealt a blow Wednesday to believers hoping to nosh on franks or chicken fingers while watching the Pirates take on the Chicago White Sox in Pittsburgh’s home opener. Marisa Iati, Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2023 Camilla took on the title of Queen Consort following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband’s accession to the throne. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, 5 Apr. 2023 The Detroit Tigers take on the Boston Red Sox at 1:10 p.m. Thursday at Comerica Park, and loyal fans as well as tailgaters and casual revelers are gearing up for Opening Day festivities. Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press, 5 Apr. 2023 Caplan and Jackson take on the roles of Alex (originally played by Glenn Close) and Dan (Michael Douglas in the film). Town & Country, 4 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'take on.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1567, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of take on was in 1567

Cite this Entry

“Take on.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/take%20on. Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

take on

: to struggle with as an opponent
: employ entry 1 sense 2
took on more workers
: to acquire (as an appearance or quality) as one's own
take on weight
: to make an unusual show of one's feelings especially of grief or anger
don't take on so

More from Merriam-Webster on take on

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