Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

take up - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

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.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theytake up
he/she/ittakes up
present participletaking up
past tensetook up
past participletaken up
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to start doing something regularly as a habit, job, or interest
    I took up smoking when I was at school.
    Chris has taken up jogging.
    take up a post/position: The new surgeon will take up her post in May.
  2. 2
    to fill a particular amount of space or time
    These files take up a lot of disk space.
    I’ll try not to take up too much of your time.
  3. 3
    take up something to accept an offer or a challenge (=an offer to fight or compete) that someone has made to you
    Schools are taking up the offer of cut-price computers.
    One of our greatest athletes has taken up a new challenge.
  4. 5
    to continue to discuss or deal with an idea, problem, or suggestion
    She fell silent, and her brother took up the story.
    Mrs Pankhurst took up the cause of women’s rights.
  5. 6
    take up arms formal to start a battle using weapons
    Would you be willing to take up arms for this cause?
  6. 7
    take up residence formal to start living somewhere
    Mice have taken up residence under their floorboards.
See also main entry: take


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog