take off

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See also: takeoff and take-off



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take off (third-person singular simple present takes off, present participle taking off, simple past took off, past participle taken off)

  1. (transitive) To remove.
    He took off his shoes.
    The test grader takes off a point for every misspelled word.
    Tomorrow the doctor will take the cast off her arm.
    • 1980 Charlie's Angels (TV, season 4.23)
      Sounds nice. Has a certain ring to it. Take your shirt off.
    • 1995, Richard Rhodes, quoting Curtis LeMay, “Scorpions in a Bottle”, in Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb[1], New York: Simon & Schuster, →ISBN, page 574:
      The Russian bear has always been eager to stick his paw in Latin American waters. Now we've got him in a trap, let's take his leg off right up to his testicles. On second thought, let's take off his testicles, too.
    • 2024 January 10, Chris Gilson, “RAIL's famous five...”, in RAIL, number 1000, page 27:
      By March 1994, it had moved to Cardiff Canton, and was still allocated there when its nameplates were taken off in March 1997.
  2. (transitive) To imitate somebody, often in a satirical manner.
    • 1978 April 22, Robert Chesley, “The Return Of The Peaches”, in Gay Community News, page 12:
      Yes, the Peaches, on a nearly non-existent budget, lack professionalism. The basic format of this show — taking off on television, with a soap opera, a quiz show , news, a cooking class and commercials for KY and grass, etc. — resembles kids getting up a skit.
    • 1986, John Le Carré, A Perfect Spy, Sceptre, published 2011, page 365:
      Pym would take him off perfectly, thought Brotherhood. Pym would catch that accent to a tee.
  3. (intransitive, of an aircraft or spacecraft) To leave the ground and begin flight; to ascend into the air.
    The plane has been cleared to take off from runway 3.
  4. (intransitive) To become successful, to flourish.
    The business has really taken off this year and has made quite a profit.
    • 2007 July 12, The Guardian, A welcome invasion.
      The message is now the medium – that is powerful and means products can take off practically all by themselves.
    • 2023 November 1, Nick Brodrick talks to Jason Cocker, “A station that "oozes" customer service...”, in RAIL, number 995, pages 52-53:
      As well as the boom in off-peak leisure numbers, "there has been a big spike in passenger assistance - that's really taken off as well", he continues. "We're probably victims of our own success because we promote this more than we ever used to. We promote how accessible the railways are. I think that this area has more than doubled from pre-COVID levels.
  5. (intransitive) To depart.
    I'm going to take off now.
    Take off, loser!
    • 2020, Armando Lazzari, Dinner with the Mafia:
      Ben threw twenty bucks on the table, grabbed the map and took off after the thief, following Susan who had run off before him.
  6. (transitive) To quantify.
    I'll take off the concrete and steel for this construction project.
  7. (transitive, intransitive) To absent oneself from (work or other responsibility), especially with permission.
    If you take off for Thanksgiving you must work Christmas and vice versa.
    He decided to let his mother take a night off from cooking, so he took her and his siblings out to dinner.
  8. (intransitive, slang, dated) To take drugs; to inject drugs.
  9. (transitive, slang, dated) To steal (something) or rob (someone).
  10. (transitive, archaic) To swallow.
    to take off a glass of wine



  • (antonym(s) of remove): don (applies to clothing only), put on
  • (antonym(s) of ascend): land (also applies to spacecraft and some other vessels)
  • (antonym(s) of begin flight): land, touch down

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


take off (plural take offs)

  1. Nonstandard spelling of takeoff.
    • 1986, Ira Katznelson, Aristide R. Zolberg, Working-class Formation, page 45:
      France never experienced a "take off" of the sort hypothesized by W. W. Rostow — a sudden spurt of output that begins sustained industrial growth.
    • 2003, Calin M. Popescu, Kan Phaobunjong, Nuntapong Ovararin, Estimating Building Costs, page 354:
      Therefore, the only sure way to estimate the quantity of lumber required for any particular job is to do a take off of each piece of lumber needed for the work.
    • 2003, N. A. Cumpsty, Jet Propulsion:
      This is virtually equal to the minimum value shown above to be necessary in the case of a total loss in thrust from one of the four engines at take off.