Take Off

Meaning of Idiom ‘Take Off’

1. To leave or go away. Also expressed ‘take oneself off.’ 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Usage note: Also expressed as a command similar to beat it or buzz off, as in the example “Take off. I don’t have time for your complaints right now.”

2. To move forward quickly or leave suddenly. 2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,3Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.

3. As an airplane, to leave the ground and achieve flight. 4Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,5Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.

4. To suddenly succeed and become popular and well-known; to grow suddenly. 6Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,7Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.

Examples Of Use

“OK, I’m going to take off now. I’ve got to get home in time to meet the plumber.”

“Time to take off. We can finish this tomorrow.”

“I’m taking off for Hawaii tomorrow. I can’t wait!”

“My dog took off after a squirrel in the park today. It took me two hours to find him.”

“A police car just took off following some firetrucks. I wonder what is going on.”

“We’ve been waiting for the plane to take off for over an hour.”

“What time does your plane take off?”

“Orders are taking off! I think the new website design is working.”

“His career really took off after he was featured on that morning show.”

“Sales always take off around Christmas time.”

Origin

The earliest meaning, meaning to leave, dates from the first half of the 1800s. The latest, to move forward quickly, etc. dates from the mid-1900s. 8Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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Sources   [ + ]

1, 2, 4, 6, 8. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3, 5, 7. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.