take (something) on (oneself)
take (something) on (oneself)
1. To decide to do something even though it was not one's responsibility. Typically followed by "to do something." I took it on myself to print out some informational packets for the meeting since I knew it might be confusing for some people. We don't have enough time to cover all of this in class, so you'll need to take it on yourselves if you want to learn more.
2. To bear some burden, difficulty, or responsibility on one's own or for oneself. I feel like Tom is taking too many financial responsibilities on himself. You really shouldn't take other people's emotional baggage on yourself. It can be really damaging if you're not careful.
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.
take someone or something on
to accept the task of handling a difficult person or thing. I'll take it on if nobody else will do it. Nobody wanted to take on Mrs. Franklin, but it had to be done.
take someone on
1. to enter into a fight or argument with someone. I pretended to agree because I really didn't want to take him on.
2. to employ someone. I think we could take you on as an assistant editor, but it doesn't pay very well.
take on (so)
to behave very emotionally. (Usually negative.) Stop crying. Please don't take on so. I wish you wouldn't take on about this matter.
1. Undertake or begin to deal with, as in I took on new responsibilities, or She took on too much when she accepted both assignments. [Early 1300s]
2. Hire, engage, as in We take on extra workers during the busy season. [Early 1600s]
3. Oppose in competition, as in This young wrestler was willing to take on all comers. [Late 1800s]
4. Display strong emotion, as in Don't take on so. [Colloquial; early 1400s]
5. Acquire as, or as if, one's own, as in He took on the look of a prosperous banker. [Late 1700s]
1. To acquire some cargo or burden: The freighter took on 1,000 tons of wheat. The bus can't take any more passengers on. We hit an iceberg, and the ship is taking on water.
2. To undertake or begin to handle something: After her husband's death, she had to take on extra responsibilities. Only a few construction companies are big enough to take the project on.
3. To hire someone; engage someone: The farms take on more workers during the harvest. We took him on as a laborer but soon promoted him to supervisor.
4. To oppose someone in competition: The unions were prepared to take on the company bosses. I can't play chess, but I'll take you on in checkers.
5. To acquire some characteristic: Over the years, he has taken on the look of a banker. The competition takes on more importance now that the title is at stake.
6. Slang To display violent or passionate emotion: Don't take on like that.