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

Noun Please remain seated during takeoff. Air Force One, you're ready for takeoff. All the high jumpers had flawless takeoffs. Verb 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 Here’s one example of such a drone: As the video shows, a VTOL drone doesn’t need a runway for takeoff. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia's Huge Drone Swarms Could Be Unstoppable," 6 Nov. 2019 Porsche and Boeing estimate that commercial passenger drones will hit the market around 2025, and several concept models are supposedly ready for takeoff as early as next year. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Possibility or pipe dream: How close are we to seeing flying cars?," 4 Nov. 2019 The back-and-forth between pilot and machine happened more than 20 times, until eventually the plane crashed into the sea near the capital Jakarta less than 15 minutes after takeoff. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "In the age of automation, the “human error” that dooms a plane isn’t confined to the cockpit," 28 Oct. 2019 McCauley radioed the air traffic controller just five minutes after takeoff to say that the plane was not gaining altitude and there was trouble with the plane’s No. 4 engine. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "NTSB releases preliminary report about crash of B-17 at Bradley International Airport," 15 Oct. 2019 Eyewitnesses told the Hartford Courant newspaper that the plane appeared to be flying at an unusually low altitude just after takeoff and that one of its four propellers did not appear to be turning. John D'anna, azcentral, "No plans to ground Mesa's historic B-17 after fatal vintage warbird crash in Connecticut," 2 Oct. 2019 That incident led the Australian government to conduct a study of pilots entering wrong information for takeoff. Matthias Gafni, SFChronicle.com, "SFO: The typo that almost crashed a plane," 13 Sep. 2019 The pilots had been cleared for takeoff and were communicating with air traffic control before departing for St. Petersburg, said Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Jennifer Emily, Dallas News, "Officials identify 10 Addison plane crash victims, including family of 4," 2 July 2019 The loud noise occurred as Palyok, a T-38C instructor pilot with 376 hours in the jet, including 4.6 hours at night, adjusted the throttles for takeoff during his fifth practice touch-and-go landing. Sig Christenson, ExpressNews.com, "After a loud buzzing, T-38 crew in Del Rio had seconds to act," 17 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There was no time to tarry; the Pistons were scheduled to take off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport at 11 p.m., headed for Miami — which would allow for an acceptable bedtime before playing the Heat on Tuesday night. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' sleep deprivation after road trip not good for 'the health of the game'," 13 Nov. 2019 Conrad and fellow astronaut Alan Bean walked to the unmanned spacecraft, and some of the iconic images from the mission are of Conrad working on the Surveyor craft, including taking off its camera, which was returned to Earth for analysis. Timothy Swindle, The Conversation, "Apollo 12: Fifty years ago, a passionate scientist’s keen eye led to the first pinpoint landing on the Moon," 12 Nov. 2019 Did Not Practice – Refused to take off stormtrooper helmet. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Gisele Bündchen Jokingly Calls Tom Brady Her 'Really Cozy Blanket': 'How I Survive the Cold'," 10 Nov. 2019 My mom died about the time Facebook started to take off. Rebecca Soffer, CBS News, "Book excerpt: "Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief. Beginners Welcome."," 8 Nov. 2019 As the sport began to take off the men dominated the field, but a few women like Biondo became female pioneers in freestyle football. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Fort Lauderdale resident seeking to add world title to freestyle football resume," 31 Oct. 2019 Unlike other waterproof mascaras, the flake-proof formula won’t require a heavy-duty makeup remover or painful tugging to take off. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "Blinc Mascara Is The Best Waterproof Mascara You Can Buy To Avoid Flaking and Smudging," 30 Oct. 2019 But as of October 27, a number of international airlines, like British Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and Finnair, are beginning to take off. Marianna Cerini, Condé Nast Traveler, "Inside Daxing, Beijing’s Massive New International Airport," 29 Oct. 2019 The first Canadian born contestant to play Survivor had to take off, eh? Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Tom Laidlaw says Karishma was not bullied on Survivor," 24 Oct. 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

20 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for takeoff

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

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More Definitions for takeoff


How to pronounce take off (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for takeoff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with takeoff

Spanish Central: Translation of takeoff

Nglish: Translation of takeoff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about takeoff

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to speed up the process or progress of

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