take on

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

  1. To acquire, bring in, or introduce.
    The ship took on cargo in Norfolk yesterday.
  2. (idiomatic) To begin to have or exhibit.
    In the dark, the teddy bear took on the appearance of a fearsome monster.
  3. (idiomatic) To assume or take responsibility for.
    I'll take on the project if no one else will.
  4. (idiomatic) To attempt to fight or compete with.
    I don't recommend taking on that bully, since he's bigger than you are.
  5. (soccer) To (attempt to) dribble round an opposition player.
    • 2016 May 22, Phil McNulty, “Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United”, in BBC[1]:
      He drifted past four Palace players and took on two more before crossing to the far post, where Fellaini touched on for Mata to score. It was a momentum-shifting moment.
  6. (intransitive, colloquial) To catch on, do well; to become popular.
    • 1974, GB Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, New York 2007, p. 225:
      He had enough money to stock it well, and it took on; but the side of the business he did best on was his travelling shop.
  7. (intransitive, idiomatic) To show emotion, to grieve or be concerned (about something or someone).
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 16
      But I am one of those that never take on about princely fortunes, and am quite content if the world is ready to board and lodge me, while I am putting up at this grim sign of the Thunder Cloud.
    • 1955, Patrick White, The Tree of Man, New York: Viking, Chapter 13, pp. 198-199,[2]
      So she hung crying, lopsided and ludicrous on the seat of the buggy [] . People passing looked at her and wondered why she was taking on. There was something almost obscene about a strong, healthy woman blubbering in the sunlight in that public place.
  8. To obtain the services of (a person) in exchange for remuneration; to give someone a job.
  9. (dated, slang) To have sex.