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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

They could be used for takeoff—the largest energy requirement of a flight—then more traditional batteries could power the majority of the flight. Keith Baker, Quartz, "Four bold visions for the future of flying," 20 Aug. 2019 Federal investigators say a surviving passenger of a deadly floatplane crash in Alaska reported that the aircraft nosed over abruptly after hitting a swell or wave during takeoff, causing the cabin to quickly fill with water. baltimoresun.com, "Report: Floatplane in Alaska crash that killed Annapolis businessman hit swell or wave," 1 Aug. 2019 She was assigned to the supersonic short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth aircraft and sent to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 in Beaufort, South Carolina. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "This woman is the first female Marine to pilot the F-35B combat jet," 15 Aug. 2019 But passengers who get anxious around takeoff may have a new option to calm those nerves. Anna Washenko, Ars Technica, "British Airways testing VR headsets for first-class passengers this year," 14 Aug. 2019 At a 2-ton takeoff weight and six seats in a business-class arrangement, the prototype is currently the world’s largest zero-emission aircraft flying without any fossil fuel support, according to the company. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "This company wants to fill the skies with hydrogen-powered planes by 2022," 14 Aug. 2019 The airport handles 288,000 takeoffs and departures a year, making it the 32nd busiest airport in the U.S., according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Riley Murdock, azcentral, "Mesa lands $5M CAVU Aerospace facility near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, up to 75 jobs," 5 Aug. 2019 The entire trip from takeoff at Wittman International Airport in Oshkosh to Lake Winnebago, scooping up water, then back to the airport takes only two minutes. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Firefighting planes and their crews spotlighted at EAA AirVenture," 27 July 2019 Apollo 12, to be manned by Charles (Pete) Conrad, Richard Gordon and Alan Bean, was booked for a rollout to the launching pad Wednesday in preparation for a September takeoff. Houston Chronicle, "Space Officials Looking to Future As Moon Craft Rockets for Home," 21 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Three minutes after, quarterback Tom Stewart took off with the ball and scored from 10 yards out to tie the game. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Wiley Green injured in Rice's loss to Wake Forest," 6 Sep. 2019 Volunteers will load up to 5,000 pounds of hurricane relief supplies aboard the World War II warbird, which will take off for Sandy Point on Great Abaco Island. Rick Neale, USA TODAY, "A World War II plane takes flight to Bahamas for Hurricane Dorian relief efforts," 6 Sep. 2019 For those unfamiliar with Uber’s early days, the pioneering ride-hailing service took off when the invention of the iPhone delivered a seamless path to beating traffic and the entrenched taxi cab industry. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Uber’s guerrilla tactics and tech-bro parties chronicled in ‘Super Pumped’," 5 Sep. 2019 London has revealed that Lacazette, who was taken off during the second-half of the north London derby, was not withdrawn due to a significant injury and, instead, had his afternoon cut short due to cramp. SI.com, "Arsenal Injury Update: Latest on Alexandre Lacazette, Joe Willock, Hector Bellerin & More," 4 Sep. 2019 U-2 Pilot Frank Powers had taken off from an airstrip in Pakistan with a flight path to Norway that would take him over 2,900 miles of Soviet airspace. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "Why the U-2 Is Such a Badass Plane," 4 Sep. 2019 The no-cook answer to puttanesca!?), there’s one that’s really taken off: senior food editor Andy Baraghani’s new tomato and garlic galette. Emily Schultz, Bon Appétit, "According to Instagram, It’s Tomato Galette Season," 9 Aug. 2019 Maybe my radio show will be something that really takes off, people resonate with and love. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Pat McAfee on media career, missing on Monday Night Football, Peyton Manning's robot brain," 9 Aug. 2019 If so, SpaceX could be forced to stand down until after a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket takes off Thursday morning from nearby pad 41. William Harwood, CBS News, "SpaceX Falcon 9 set to launch Israeli satellite, 3 years after explosion destroyed first one," 6 Aug. 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.

See More

First Known Use of takeoff


1833, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about takeoff

Statistics for takeoff

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for takeoff

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!