Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
1. Fig. to leave the ground and begin to fly. (As with a bird or an airplane.) When do we take off? The eagle took off and headed toward the mountains.
2. Fig. [for someone] to leave in a hurry. She really took off from there quickly. I've got to take off—I'm late.
3. Fig. [for something] to start selling well. The fluffy dog dolls began to take off, and we sold out the lot. Ticket sales really took off after the first performance.
4. Fig. to become active and exciting. Did the party ever take off, or was it dull all night? Things began to take off about midnight.
(after someone or something) and take out (after someone or something) to begin to chase someone or something. The bank guard took off after the robber. Did you see that police car take off? It took out after the bank robber's car.
take off(for some place)
1. Lit. to take flight, heading for some place. We took off for Moscow early in the evening. We took off at dawn.
2. Fig. to leave for some place. The girls took off for home when they heard the dinner bell. It's late. I have to take off.
take off (on something)
to start out speaking on something; to begin a discussion of something. My father took off on the subject of taxes and talked for an hour. My uncle is always taking off on the state of the economy.
take someone off
Sl. to kill someone. (Underworld.) The mob took the witness off a week before the trial. Bar-lowe didn't want to have to take off Lefty, but he was afraid he might talk.
take someone or something off
Sl. to rob someone or something. (Underworld.) Weren't you in that bunch that took the bank off in Philly? No, we never took off no bank, did we, Lefty?
take someone or something off (something)
to remove someone or something from the surface of something. Bob helped take his children off the merry-go-round. Please take your books off the table.
take something off
to remove something, such as an article of clothing. Please take your coat off and stay awhile. Please take off your coat.
1. to leave the ground and fly The plane could not take off because of a problem with its fuel tanks.
2. to leave suddenly When he saw me coming, he took off in the other direction.
3. to suddenly succeed The style really took off among teens.
take (something) off
to not work at your job for a period of time I've decided to take next semester off and travel and write. Jim needs to take off for a little while.
1. Remove, as in Take off your coat and stay for a while, or I took my foot off the brake. [c. 1300]
2. Deduct, decrease, as in He took 20 percent off the original price, or I want you to trim my hair, but please don't take off too much. [c. 1700]
3. Carry or take away, as in The passengers were taken off one by one. [Late 1800s]
4. Also, take oneself off. Leave, go away, as in I'm taking off now, or We take ourselves off for China next month, or, as an imperative, Take yourself off right now! [First half of 1800s]
5. Move forward quickly, as in The dog took off after the car.
6. Become well known or popular, or achieve sudden growth, as in That actor's career has really taken off, or Sales took off around the holidays. [Mid-1900s]
7. Rise in flight, as in The airplane took off on time. [Mid-1800s]
8. Discontinue, as in The railroad took off the commuter special. [Mid-1700s]
9. Imitate humorously or satirically, as in He had a way of taking off the governor that made us howl with laughter. [Mid-1700s]
10. Withhold service, as in I'm taking off from work today because of the funeral. [First half of 1900s]
1. To remove something from something that is supporting it: I took the books off the shelf. I took off all the vases from the ledge and dusted them. Please take the clothes off the clothesline.
2. To remove some article of clothing: She took her coat off. I'll take off my boots.
3. To release something that holds or restrains: I took the brake off and the car began to roll. Take the top straps off your boots and you'll be more comfortable. The driving instructor never takes off the seatbelt in the car.
4. To deduct some amount from some quantity: The discount dealer took ten percent off the normal price. The teacher takes off five points for each mistake on the quiz.
5. To leave, especially quickly: As soon as I told them you were coming, they took off. We took off to the beach for the weekend.
6. To rise into the air or begin flight: The plane took off on time.
7. To increase greatly in activity, success, or number: The actor's career took off. That new movie really took off. Sales took off around the holidays.
8. To proceed further on the basis of something; elaborate on something: The writer took off on my story and wrote a whole novel. I started the project, but my sister really took off with it.
9. To begin expressing oneself strongly: I told him about the new tax laws, and he took off about how much more money he would have to pay.
10. To withhold service due, as from one's work: I'm taking off three days during May. I'm taking a couple of days off from work to spend with my children.
11. To stop prescribing or administering to someone some medicine or other corrective that is taken or undertaken routinely: The doctor took me off the medicine when I got healthy.
12. take off on To mock something by imitating it: The comedy show took off on the evening news.
1. in. [for someone] to leave in a hurry. I’ve got to take off—I’m late.
2. in. [for something] to start selling well. The fluffy dog dolls began to take off, and we sold out the lot.
3. n. an imitation of something; a copy of something. (Usually take-off.) This robot is capable of producing 200 circuit board take-offs per hour.
4. n. a parody of someone or something. (Usually with on. Usually take-off.) The comedian did a take-off on the wealthy senator.
5. n. a robbery. (Underworld. Usually take-off.) That was some take-off Lefty pulled, huh?