take on


Definition of take on 

transitive verb

1a : to begin to perform or deal with : undertake took on new responsibilities

b : to contend with as an opponent took on the neighborhood bully

2 : engage, hire

3a : to assume or acquire as or as if one's own the city's plaza takes on a carnival air— W. T. LeViness

b : 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 body— Daniel Defoe

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Synonyms & Antonyms for take on


assume, employ, engage, hire, pay, place, recruit, retain, sign (up or on)


ax (or axe), can, discharge, dismiss, fire, sack

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Examples of take on in a Sentence

will take on his chief opponent in the next political debate decided to take her on as store manager

Recent Examples on the Web

But under Trump, Jiménez said her work has taken on a new urgency. Abigail Simon, Time, "'Yes, We Can Change the World.' How One Activist is Fighting for Immigration Reform," 13 July 2018 After Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump, progressives seem to have splintered into different camps with regard to their take on the white working class. WSJ, "Elites Miss the Point on Immigration Politics," 13 July 2018 The restaurant in Orlando’s Dr. Phillips neighborhood serves quintessential brunch beverages, but plates elegant takes on comfort food favorites. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Brunch Punch: Slate in Orlando's Dr. Phillips neighborhood," 13 July 2018 As tennis players, we are always caught up in the conflict of interest of having to pay our coaches, basically to be in charge of us, while expecting them to perform some kind of authoritarian take on our careers and practice schedules. Longreads, "Tennis vs. Tennis," 13 July 2018 Who wouldn’t have loved to see Red Sox era Roger Clemens (how about the 1986 version who went 24-4?) take on a kid making his major league debut in Pittsburgh that same year? Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Some head-to-head dream matchups we wish we could see," 12 July 2018 Wojnarowicz was with him at the end, and in a radically memorializing gesture, took on-the-spot photographs of his friend’s corpse: head, hands, feet. New York Times, "He Spoke Out During the AIDS Crisis. See Why His Art Still Matters.," 12 July 2018 The ultras did themselves no favours by failing to suggest their own solutions to the complex problems that the Chequers compromise took on. The Economist, "What doesn’t kill her makes Theresa May stronger," 12 July 2018 In Florida’s mid-term elections, draining the swamp has suddenly taken on a new and uncomfortable meaning. David Smiley And Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Florida’s politicians use slimy algae to muddy each other," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'take on.' 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 take on

1567, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for take on

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for take on

The first known use of take on was in 1567

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