Hot Takes and Spit Takes

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Take is one of the most generic and therefore versatile verbs (and, as a noun, has multiple senses), prompting an extensive collection of idioms, many of which are listed below.

give and take: compromise
hot take: a published reaction or analysis of a recent news event that, often because of the time-sensitive nature, doesn’t offer much in the way of deep reflection
I take it: a synonym for “I understand” as an introduction to expressing that the speaker or writer believes that something has occurred or is true and seeks corroboration
intake: an opening for the collection or passage of fluid; also, input, or something taken in
it doesn’t take: a statement (generally in the past tense) communicating a failure, or the beginning of a statement that some quality is not required to accomplish or understand something (as in “It doesn’t take a genius to realize that John’s dishonest”)
it takes two: two parties are required to achieve a result
on the take: being paid to do favors, or receiving bribes
outtake: something removed from a piece of media, such as a scene from a television program or a film or a song recorded for but not included on an album; also, a flue or vent
retake: the action of filming or recording a scene or a song as an improvement on an earlier instance, or a repeated instance of filming or recording; as a verb, receive or take again, photograph again, or recapture
spit take: an act of suddenly spitting out liquid one is drinking in response to something funny or unexpected
take a back seat: accept a subordinate role (from the notion of being relegated to the back seat of a vehicle)
take a bath: suffer a significant financial loss (from the notion of having one’s wealth cleaned away)
take a chill pill: relax
take (one) to court: sue someone
take (one) to the cleaners: deprive someone of money or possessions (from the notion of having clothes professionally cleaned)
take a hike/walk: leave
take a load off: a slang invitation to sit and relax
take a meeting: participate in a meeting
take a powder: leave quickly (origin obscure)
take a seat: be seated
take a stand: express an opinion on a controversial or divisive issue, or act to defend or attack a status quo
take account of: consider or note
take advantage of: exploit or profit by
take after: resemble in some quality
take aim/take aim at: target
take an interest in: become interested in an activity or issue
take apart: disassemble, or treat harshly or roughly
take care of: attend to or provide for
take care: be careful
take charge: assume command or control
take credit: communicate that one is responsible for an outcome
take effect: become operative or be effective
take exception: object
take five: slang indicating permission to cease an activity, such as a rehearsal, for five minutes
take for granted: assume, or devalue
take (someone) for a ride: cheat or trick (from the notion of offering a person a ride in a vehicle as part of a plot)
take fright: become frightened
take (something) hard: suffer emotional pain from knowledge of an unfortunate or disadvantageous incident or result
take heart: gain confidence or courage
take hold: take effect, or grasp
take in vain: use a name (generally, that of a deity or religious figure) disrespectfully or profanely
take into account: make allowance for
take issue: disagree or dispute
take it easy: slang urging someone to discontinue acting emotionally or violently, or an informal farewell with the notion of “be at peace or relaxed”
take it on the chin: suffer from an occurrence (on the analogy of being struck by a fist)
take it or leave it: expression of an ultimatum
take it out on (one): vindictively punish someone for something they are not responsible for
take kindly to: be inclined to accept or approve
(someone or something) take(s) a load off (one’s mind): relieve(s) pressure or a sense of responsibility
take me for: part of a question (such as “What do you take me for—an idiot?”) with the sentiment “Do you assume that I am not intelligent or perceptive?”
take no prisoners: show no mercy or be relentless
take note/take notice of: observe or pay attention to
take offense: become offended
take office: assume the responsibility of an appointed or elected position
take on (something): accept a responsibility
take pains: go out of one’s way to effect an outcome
take part: participate
take place: occur
take (one’s) place: figuratively or literally position oneself in a role or among others
take root: become established, fixed, or rooted
take shape: become distinctly developed or formed
take shelter: protect oneself from adverse conditions such as a storm
take ship: set out on a voyage
take sides: ally with one of two parties, or advocate for one position in a disagreement
take the blame: accept responsibility for a negative outcome
take the cake: earn a prize (often said sarcastically in reference to outrageous behavior)
(one) take(s) the Fifth: said in reference to refusing to divulge information (from the notion of invoking the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution to protect oneself from self-incrimination)
take the floor: stand to formally address an assembly
take the plunge: pursue an opportunity, from the notion of diving or jumping into water
take the rap: accept responsibility for a mistake or a crime (from underworld slang referring to a criminal charge)
take (one’s time): act leisurely
take to (something): slang referring to adapting to or becoming comfortable with an activity or a person, or to going to or into
take to task: criticize
take the trouble: undertake an activity or begin to effect an outcome
take (one’s) turn: accept an opportunity to undertake something that two or more people are doing in turn
take turns: an admonition to be fair about letting others do something in turn
(someone or something) take(s) some getting used to: expression of the sentiment that someone or something is difficult to accommodate or is a challenge
take water/take on water: figuratively or literally sinking
take (one’s) word for it: believe another’s account or explanation
what’s your take?: A question requesting one’s version of an incident or analysis of or opinion about an issue

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2 thoughts on “Hot Takes and Spit Takes”

  1. I’ve only ever heard “take kindly to” in the negative, as in “we don’t take kindly to that around here.”

    In the positive feels the same as saying some one is “ept” or “kempt.”.

  2. I have wondered about the “take” in the phrase “take a meeting” or “take exercise.” It sounds odd– wrong, even– and I’ve always thought of it as perhaps a Britishism. Where does it come from? You “have” a meeting, AFAIK, you don’t “take” one. Where are you taking it to? And “taking” exercise is even more nonsensical. You just exercise. You don’t need to take it somewhere. I get the idea that you walk in to a gym and there are bunch of exercises laying around, so you take one. Where is this place? Can I take my meeting, to it as well?

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