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1. To raise or lift something to a higher position or location. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "up." Please take these boxes up to your room. I'm having a tailor take up the hem of my dress a couple inches.
2. To pull or lift something up and off of something else; to remove something from a surface. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "up." We'll have to take up the floorboards if we want to see what's causing the leak. You'll need to get the landlord's permission before you take the old carpet up.
3. To occupy or settle into a particular position, place, or post. The guards took up positions along the wall to make sure no one could escape from the prison. The rebels have taken up residence in the city's old textile factory.
4. To adopt or begin something new. I'll be taking up a position as head of IT at an insurance company. We're taking up a new research methodology that should improve the reliability of our results.
5. To begin doing something as a habit, hobby, pastime, or steady practice. My husband has taken up gardening now that he's retired. I'm taking up cycling to work as a way of getting a bit more exercise.
6. To initiate a discussion about something with someone, often regarding a problem or complaint. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "up." We'll take up the issue with the directors at the next board meeting. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but you'll have to take it up with customer support.
7. To occupy or fill a large amount or volume. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "up." I like the way the desk looks, but it takes up too much space in my office. The man traveling next to me took up two seats with all his luggage. I'm supposed to be working on new content, but replying to user comments is taking up all my time.
8. To absorb or use up. We have moss growing in our lawn, which is taking up all the water and killing the grass around it. My brother always takes up all our bandwidth when he starts downloading movies.
9. To resume or start something again after an interruption or hiatus. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "up." And with that, we're out of time. Let's take this discussion up on Monday, shall we? After I came back from London, we took things up again as if I had never left.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
take someone up
to discuss or deal with someone. What are we going to do about Bill? Are we going to take Bill up today at the board meeting? Let's take up the applicants in our next meeting.
take something up (with someone)
to raise and discuss a matter with someone. This is a very complicated problem. I'll have to take it up with the office manager. She'll take up this problem with the owner in the morning.
take something up
1. [for someone or a group] to deliberate something. When will the board of directors take this up? Let's take up that matter now.
2. to raise something, such as the height of a hem. The skirt is too long. I'll have to take it up. Can you take up this skirt for me?
3. to continue with something after an interruption. They took it up where they left off. Let's take up this matter at the point we were at when we were interrupted. We must take up our work again.
4. to begin something; to start to acquire a skill in something. (See also take something up (with someone).) When did you take this hobby up? I took up skiing last fall.
5. to absorb something. This old sponge doesn't take much water up. It used to take up more.
6. to adopt something new. I see you've taken a new lifestyle up. Toby took up the life of a farmer.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Raise, lift, as in We have to take up the old carpet and sand the floor. [c. 1300]
2. Reduce in size, shorten, tighten, as in I have to take up the hem of this coat, or You have to take up the slack in that reel or you'll never land a fish. [c. 1800]
3. Station oneself, settle in, as in We took up our positions at the front. [Mid-1500s]
4. Accept an option, bet, or challenge, as in No one wanted to take up that bet. This usage is often expanded to take someone up on, as in You're offering to clean the barn? I'll take you up on that. Take up dates from about 1700, the variant from the early 1900s.
5. Develop an interest in, begin an activity, as in Jim took up gardening. [Mid-1400s] Also see go into, def. 3.
6. Use up or occupy entirely, as in The extra duties took up most of my time, or This desk takes up too much space in the office, or How much room will your car take up? [c. 1600]
7. Begin again, resume, as in I'll take up the story where you left off. [Mid-1600s]
8. Deal with, as in Let's take up these questions one at a time. [c. 1500]
9. Absorb, as in These large trees are taking up all the water in the soil. [Late 1600s]
10. Support, adopt as a protegé, as in She's always taking up one or another young singer. [Late 1300s] Also see the subsequent entries beginning with take up.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To bear or convey something to a higher place: Please take these books up to the attic. When you go to the attic, don't forget to take up those old lamps.
2. To remove something from a surface: He took up the rug so that the dog's muddy paws wouldn't stain it.
3. To absorb or adsorb something: Leaves take up carbon dioxide from the air. There's a wine stain on the rug, but this absorbing cleaner will take it up.
4. To assume or adopt some character or manner: He later took up a friendly attitude, but he was still unhappy.
5. To assume some position, structure, or method: The soldiers took up positions along the river. The executive took up a new post as CFO. The statistical technique developed by physicists was taken up by economists.
6. To reduce some article of clothing by some amount in size; shorten or tighten something: I'll need to take these sleeves up about a half inch. The tailor took up the hem two inches.
7. To accept some offer or challenge: I took up the offer to go out to dinner. He took her challenge up, and they agreed to meet that night to play darts.
8. take up on To accept from someone some offer or challenge: I am going to take you up on that invitation to your cottage on the lake.
9. To resume something; pick up something: The narrator took up the story at the point where she had stopped for a break.
10. To use up, consume, or occupy some period of time or space: Homework took up most of the kids' afternoons. The chores took all my time up. My suitcase takes up too much space.
11. To develop an interest in some activity and devote time to it: Later in life they both took up mountain climbing. I took yoga up because it relaxes me.
12. To enter into some profession or business: She took up engineering after college. He took chemistry up after realizing he didn't like physics.
13. To deal with something: Let's take up each problem one at a time. We'll take each issue up separately.
14. take up for To support some person or group in an argument: The politician took up for the protesters and pleaded their case before the committee.
15. take up with To bring something to someone for advice: I'm going to take the matter up with my lawyer.
16. take up with To begin to associate with some person or group; consort with some person or group: She's taken up with a fast crowd and no longer calls me.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.