take late . tacan, from a . source (. taka "take, grasp, lay hold," past tense tok, pp. tekinn; Swed. ta, pp. tagit), from . *tækanan (cf. tacken, . taken, Goth. tekan "to touch"), of uncertain origin, perhaps originally meaning "to touch." Gradually replaced . nimen as the verb for "to take," from . niman, from the usual . *nem- root (cf. Ger. nehmen, Du. nemen), also of unknown origin. OED calls it "one of the elemental words of the language;" take up alone has 55 varieties of meaning in that dictionary. Basic sense is "to lay hold of," which evolved ... to "accept, receive" (as in take my advice) ; "absorb" (she can take a punch) ; "to choose, select" (take the long way home) late 13c.; "to make, obtain" (take a shower) late 14c.; "to become affected by" (take sick) . 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.