Definition 2023


take off

See also: takeoff and take-off



take off (third-person singular simple present takes off, present participle taking off, simple past took off, past participle taken off)

  1. (transitive) To remove.
    He took off his shoes.
    The test grader takes off a point for every misspelled word.
    Tomorrow the doctor will take the cast off her arm.
  2. (transitive) To imitate, often in a satirical manner.
    They love to take off all the politicians' mannerisms.
  3. (intransitive, of an aircraft or spacecraft) To leave the ground and begin flight; to ascend into the air.
    The plane has been cleared to take off from runway 3.
  4. (intransitive) To become successful, to flourish.
    The business has really taken off this year and has made quite a profit.
    • 2007 July 12, The Guardian, A welcome invasion.
      The message is now the medium – that is powerful and means products can take off practically all by themselves.
  5. (intransitive) To depart.
    I'm going to take off now.
    Take off, loser!
  6. (transitive) To quantify.
    I'll take off the concrete and steel for this construction project.
  7. (transitive) To absent oneself from work or other responsibility, especially with permission.
    If you take off for Thanksgiving you must work Christmas and vice versa.
    He decided to let his mother take a night off from cooking, so he took her and his siblings out to dinner.

Usage notes

Only in sense 1 and 7. can the object appear before or after the particle. If the object is a pronoun, then it must be before the particle. In all other transitive senses, the verb-particle unit cannot be split.



  • (remove): don (applies to clothing only), put on
  • (ascend): land (also applies to spacecraft and some other vessels)
  • (begin flight): land, touch down


Related terms

See also

  • to lift off