take (someone or something) by (something)
1. To hold onto someone or something by seizing a particular part of them or it. The teacher took the student by the ear and dragged him all the way to the principal's office. He grabbed the bull by the horns and actually managed to wrestle it to the ground.
2. To gain control or possession of someone or something through some particular means. The army took the building by force. The kidnappers took the hostages by gunpoint.
take someone or something by something
to grasp someone or something by holding on to some part. She took him by the hand and helped him up. Tom took the dog by the cottar and led it out.