take on

took on; taken on; taking on; takes 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for take on


battle, encounter, engage, face, meet

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

While the Pentagon submits nominations for the Medal of Honor, U.S. presidents have traditionally enjoyed complete discretion on the Medal of Freedom, which has taken on political overtones. David Nakamura, courant.com, "Rejected by sports teams, Trump finds a new method to handpick athletes for White House ceremonies," 17 Sep. 2019 The style served in the tents has changed many times since the first festival in 1810, from Bavarian dunkel to a strong Vienna-style lager to the current golden-colored, lightly hopped malty lagers that take on the name today. BostonGlobe.com, "Here are the two Oktoberfest beers our columnist is drinking in 2019 - The Boston Globe," 17 Sep. 2019 In one of numerous examples of this alleged behavior reported in Sports Illustrated, a doctor who took on Brown as a client has now filed a lawsuit seeking $11,500 from Brown, alleging unpaid bills. Helen Murphy, PEOPLE.com, "Antonio Brown Shares Message About ‘Faith’ After Second Woman Accuses Him of Sexual Misconduct," 17 Sep. 2019 Warren used the speech to situate her campaign in a long history of women reformers and labor organizers who have taken on big corporate interests and won. Charlotte Alter, Time, "'One Woman, and Millions of People to Back Her Up.' How Elizabeth Warren Made Fighting Corruption A Feminist Rallying Cry," 17 Sep. 2019 The move came days after Purdue reached a tentative settlement with many state and local governments of a landmark lawsuit over the toll the opioid epidemic has taken on communities nationwide. CBS News, "Purdue Pharma files for bankruptcy," 16 Sep. 2019 The show was a quiet performer last year, but its juicy, and often hysterical, take on a Murdoch-esque family has now caught the attention of Hollywoodand critics, who have taken to obsessively chronicling the show. Michael Schneider, chicagotribune.com, "Could ‘Fleabag’ and ‘Succession’ be spoilers on Emmy night?," 14 Sep. 2019 Oscar winners and co-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are not likely candidates to take on the story of a singer. Kenneth Turan, Detroit Free Press, "Linda Ronstadt documentary packs an emotional punch," 12 Sep. 2019 The main event will be Friday evening when the Broncos take on the Pointers from Point Loma High School. Pomerado News, "Broncos are celebrating ‘A Sweet Homecoming’," 12 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of take on

1567, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about take on

Statistics for take on

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for take on

The first known use of take on was in 1567

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on take on

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with take on

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for take on

Nglish: Translation of take on for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of take on for Arabic Speakers

Comments on take on

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


a topic to which one constantly reverts

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!