take to: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘take to’ mean?

The idiom "take to" means to develop a liking or affinity for something or someone. It refers to one's natural inclination or willingness to engage in or enjoy a particular activity or person.

Idiom Explorer

Unveiling the Essence

The idiom "take to" is used to indicate that someone develops a liking or preference for something or someone. It is a phrasal verb that consists of the verb "take" and the preposition "to." The use of this idiom dates back to at least the 17th century.

One possible origin of the idiom "take to" comes from the idea of embracing someone or something as if they were a friend or companion. This can be seen in phrases like "take to one's heart" or "take to one's bosom," which convey a sense of acceptance and fondness towards someone or something. The idiom "take to" can be seen as a shorter, more casual version of these expressions.

Another possible origin comes from the notion of taking up a new activity or interest. When someone "takes to" a hobby or pastime, it implies that they have developed an affinity or inclination towards it. This sense of adopting or embracing something new can be observed in phrases like "take to gardening" or "take to painting," which indicate the act of engaging in such activities willingly and enthusiastically.

The idiom "take to" is often used in a positive context, suggesting that the person feels a natural connection or attraction towards what they are taking to. It can be used to describe a gradual process of becoming accustomed or familiar with something, as in "He took to his new job quickly" or "She took to the city life with ease."

Furthermore, "take to" can be used to describe an immediate liking or affinity for someone or something. For example, if someone says "I took to her immediately," it indicates that they formed a positive impression right from the start. This immediate attraction or fondness is a common usage of the idiom.

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It is worth noting that the idiom "take to" is often used in the continuous form, such as "taking to" or "taken to," to convey an ongoing process or to describe the current state of someone's liking or preference. This usage suggests that the person's attraction or fondness for something or someone has developed and is continuing to grow.

The idiom "take to" is related to the idiomatic expressions "cotton to," "take to something like a duck to water," and "take to heart." These related idioms further highlight the concept of developing a liking or preference for someone or something.

The expression "cotton to" is similar to "take to," as it also conveys the sense of developing a fondness or familiarity towards something or someone. It is often used to describe a positive reaction or attraction to a particular person or thing. For example, someone might say "I really cotton to that new restaurant" to express their liking or preference for it. This idiom emphasizes the idea of forming a connection or affinity, much like "take to."

"Take to something like a duck to water" is another idiom that captures the idea of quickly and naturally adapting to or excelling at a new activity or situation. It implies that someone has a natural talent or aptitude for something and can easily pick it up or become skilled in it. For instance, one might say "He took to playing the piano like a duck to water" to describe someone's effortless ability to learn and excel at playing the piano. This expression adds a layer of emphasis to the concept of "taking to" something, highlighting the ease and proficiency with which one embraces it.

The saying "take to heart" is yet another idiom related to "take to" that focuses on the emotional aspect of forming a liking or preference for something. When someone takes something to heart, they internalize it deeply and let it affect their emotions or thoughts. It often implies that someone has been deeply impacted by something, whether it be a piece of advice, criticism, or an experience. For example, if someone says "I took his words to heart," it suggests that the person has been deeply affected by the words spoken to them. "Take to heart" highlights the emotional connection and impact that can be associated with "taking to" something.

The idiom "take to" is a versatile expression that captures the essence of developing a liking or preference for someone or something. Whether it describes a gradual process of becoming familiar or an immediate liking, this idiom encompasses various contexts and expressions. It highlights the affinity or connection that can be formed, and its usage can vary from expressing a general attraction or inclination to embracing a new interest or activity. With related idioms like "cotton to," "take to something like a duck to water," and "take to heart," this idiom expands our understanding of the different nuances and forms of "taking to" something, making it a valuable part of the English language.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "take to" can be used in a sentence:

  1. I took to running every morning to improve my fitness.
  2. Once she tried knitting, she quickly took to it and now she's an expert.
  3. He didn't take to the new teacher immediately, but eventually, they developed a good relationship.

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