We can take them.

I have often heard this said in movies, but I can't find a definition on it. Does it mean "we can defeat them" or "we can kill them"? Could it mean both?


2 Answers 2


To take a castle is to capture it. To take prisoners is to capture them. Either way you need to defeat them (the prisoners or the castle's defenders) first. To take in the sense you have used is an extension of this meaning; it means to defeat the group. There is no implication of killing them, though possibly they won't all survive to be prisoners.


It means we can defeat them.

"We can take them" is used in both sports and the military. Obviously one doesn't get far in sports if they actually kill the opposing team. In the military, some of the defeated may be dead, but the intent isn't to exterminate them, it's to defeat them.

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