take the fifth (amendment)

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Related to took the fifth: Plead the 5th

take the fifth (amendment)

1. To refuse to testify against oneself in court, in accordance with the right guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights. The defendant took the fifth after every question the prosecution put to him. There is speculation that he will take the fifth amendment if he is asked about his actions under oath.
2. By extension, to refuse to answer a question or provide information, especially if doing so may incriminate or embarrass oneself. Just take the fifth if your mom asks where you've been all night! A: "So, I hear things got pretty messy at the party last night." B: "Yeah, I'm going to have to take the fifth amendment on that one!"
See also: fifth, take

take the Fifth

Refuse to answer on the grounds that one may incriminate oneself, as in He took the Fifth on so many of the prosecutor's questions that we're sure he's guilty. This idiom refers to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself. [Mid-1900s]
See also: fifth, take

take the fifth

(in the USA) exercise the right of refusing to answer questions in order to avoid incriminating yourself.
The reference in this phrase is to Article V of the ten original amendments ( 1791 ) to the Constitution of the United States, which states that ‘no person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself’.
See also: fifth, take

take the fifth

1. and five it tv. to refuse to testify to a U.S. legislative committee under the protection of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The lawyer just sat there and said, “Five it” after every question.
2. tv. to decline to answer any questions. I’ll take the fifth on that one. Ask Fred.
See also: fifth, take
References in periodicals archive ?
Tabern won the fourth set without reply and then took the fifth in a deciding third leg after the Derby man missed two darts to win it.
Cricketers Arms went down to the Travellers Rest and won 3-2 when Colin Orton and Ray King took the fifth game off Nev Edwards and Mick Hutchinson.
However,42-year-oldBaxter took the fifth set 3- 1 and he started off the next with a 170 checkout.
Doreen Smith took the fifth prize, while Mareen Aston, Jean Dell and Doreen Wilson, all of Great Barr, lifted the team prize.
Aussie leg-spinner Shane Warne again had England in a spin as he took the fifth Ashes Test by the throat and moved to fifth on the all-time Test bowling lists with 407, ahead of Curtly Ambrose.
Simpson's lawyers will be prohibited from telling jurors that former Los Angeles Police Department Detective Mark Fuhrman took the Fifth Amendment during the criminal trial.
Sarah Crampton took the fifth place in the under-70 kg category.
25sec effort when landing the odds in the fourth, Hello Superstar took the fifth in 16.