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The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.



take vb


1 a : to obtain control, custody, or possession of often by assertive or intentional means
b : to seize or interfere with the use of (property) by governmental authority
: to acquire title to for public use by eminent domain
2 a : to undertake the duties of [ office]
b : to bind oneself by [ an oath]
3 : to get in writing
4 a : to accept the tender of (as a promise)
b : to accept (as an oath, affidavit, or deposition) in a legal capacity (as by administering or witnessing)
5 a : to set in motion [ an appeal]
b : to claim or exercise as an option or right [ depreciation]
6 : to put or set forth [ an exception]
: to obtain ownership or possession of property [ free of a security interest]
: to receive the title to an estate [ as an heir]

take the Fifth
: to exercise the privilege against self-incrimination based on the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

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