v. (st.)

Gaw past sg tok, infin. tan, pres. 3 sg. tas, pres. pl tan, imp. ta(s), pp. tan(e), tone; Pe pres. takeʒ, pres 3 sg. totʒ, past toke, pp. taken, tan; Cl pres. 3 sg. takeʒ, takes, past 3 pl. token, tok, imper. sg. take, imper. pl. takeʒ, tatʒ, pp. taken, tan; Pat pres. pl. subj. ta, past pl. token ; Erk past sg. toke, past pl. tokenWA pres. 1 sg. take, pres. 3 sg. takis, tas, takez, takys, imp. pl. tak, take, tas, past sg. toke, tuke, past pl. toke, tuke, tuk, taken, pp. taken, tokentane

'to take, accept, receive; capture; detect; acquire; assign, give; commit; undertake, begin’ (and various idiomatic phrases)

(Modern English take)


Always derived from ON, cp. OIcel taka ‘to take’, with which it uniquely shares its str. VI conjugation. MLG tacken and MDu tāken seem to represent wk. formations on the same root (PGmc *tak-). There are no clear cognates in OE (on the late OE (ge)tæc in wæpen(ge)tæc 'wapentake, hundred', usually regarded as Norse derived, see further SPS 75–6).  The lateness of its appearance in OE for a word lexicalizing such a basic concept supports the argument for loan from ON. Loss of /k/ in some forms is usually explained by analogy with maken (see further e.g. Jordan-Crook §178 Remark 4).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

taka ‘to take’ 
(ONP taka (2) (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far taka, Icel taka, Norw taka, Dan tage, OSw taka, tagha, Sw taga

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



Occurs several times in late OE (earliest in ChronD: see Hofmann §389, Peters 98, SPS 326), and is widespread and frequent throughout ME (see esp. Rynell 1948).  

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 350, 383, 413 etc.; Pe 414, 513, 539 etc.; Cl 154, 330, 401 etc.; Pat 78, 236; Erk 57, 168, 297 etc.; WA 55, 123, 127, etc.

On the form totʒ in Pe, see EVG 513n. Goll identifies it as a separate v. from OE tēon, glossing 'betakes himself' (and in his 1891 ed. prints tocz 'fares').

Emerson (1922: 386) reads Gaw 1333 <out token> as an instance of the prep. outtaken 'except for', but editors agree in interpreting it as the phrase <out token> 'took out' (see outtaken).


MED tāken (v.) , OED take (v.) , HTOED , HTOED HTOED , HTOED , HTOED , HTOED , Dance take, Bj. 221-2, SPS 74–6, 326, de Vries tak, Mag. taka, Bj-L ta, Seebold tak-a-, Orel *takanan, Kroonen *takan- ~ *tēkan-, AEW tacan