take someone/something on

take on

1. Of a vessel or vehicle, to become loaded, filled, or burdened with someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "on." We've taken too many passengers on already—we'll be too heavy to fly if we take anymore! The ship began taking on water through the crack in its hull.
2. To accept or undertake some task, burden, or responsibility. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "on." Between your job, the kids, and your volunteer work, I just think you're taking too much on! I've taken on a new project at work in addition to my normal responsibilities.
3. To hire or employ someone; to contract someone for their services. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "on." We take on a number of high-school graduates each year as interns to give them some work experience before they begin college. Thanks to the success of our last product, we've been able to expand our operations and take a bunch of talented new employees on.
4. To fight, argue, or compete against someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "on." We're taking on the national champions next weekend, so we've certainly go our work cut out for us. Sarah's the only one willing to take the professor on in class when he says something wrong. You don't look so tough—I bet I could take you on in a fight!
5. To obtain or acquire certain traits or characteristics. The oracle's words certainly took on new meaning after everything we learned. He has started to take on an aged, worn-out look in recent years.
6. To make an overly passionate emotional display. Usually used in negative formations, and often followed by the word "so." I really wish you wouldn't take on so—it isn't befitting someone of your social status. Please don't take on about such trivial issues.
See also: on, take

take someone/something on

tv. to accept the task of handling a difficult person or thing. I’ll take it on if nobody else will do it.
See also: on, someone, something, take
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