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take on - definition and synonyms


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90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



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phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theytake on
he/she/ittakes on
present participletaking on
past tensetook on
past participletaken on
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  1. 1
    to start to employ someone

    We’re not taking on any new staff at the moment.

  2. 2
    take on something to develop a particular character or appearance

    Our website is taking on a new look.

    The war took on a different meaning for everyone involved.

  3. 3
    to accept some work or responsibility

    I can’t take on any more work at the moment.

  4. 4
    to fight or compete against someone

    This evening Manchester United take on Barcelona.

  5. 5

    take on


    take upon

    to decide to do something without asking permission from anyone else
    take it on/upon yourself (to do something):

    My mother took it on herself to invite them.

See also main entry: take

sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

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to teach someone

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