- take (v.)
- late Old English tacan, from a Scandinavian source (e.g. Old Norse taka "take, grasp, lay hold," past tense tok, past participle tekinn; Swedish ta, past participle tagit), from Proto-Germanic *tækanan (cf. Middle Low German tacken, Middle Dutch taken, Gothic tekan "to touch"), of uncertain origin, perhaps originally meaning "to touch."
Gradually replaced Middle English nimen as the verb for "to take," from Old English niman, from the usual West Germanic *nem- root (cf. German nehmen, Dutch nemen; see nimble). OED calls it "one of the elemental words of the language;" take up alone has 55 varieties of meaning in that dictionary's 2nd print edition. Basic sense is "to lay hold of," which evolved to "accept, receive" (as in take my advice) c.1200; "absorb" (she can take a punch) c.1200; "to choose, select" (take the long way home) late 13c.; "to make, obtain" (take a shower) late 14c.; "to become affected by" (take sick) c.1300.
Take five is 1929, from the approximate time it takes to smoke a cigarette. Take it easy first recorded 1880; take the plunge "act decisively" is from 1876; take the rap "accept (undeserved) punishment" is from 1930. Phrase take it or leave it is recorded from 1897.
- take (n.)
- 1650s, "that which is taken in payment," from take (v.). Sense of "money taken in" by a single performance, etc., is from 1931. Movie-making sense is recorded from 1927. Criminal sense of "money acquired by theft" is from 1888. The verb sense of "to cheat, defraud" is from 1920. On the take "amenable to bribery" is from 1930.