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I have a question about the verb phrase "take in" here:

If present, hygroscopic salts in any sample material and the porous material itself will take in moisture from the moist air in the chamber.

I cannot find a dictionary definition that fits this usage of "take in" in a technical article. Could it be technical jargon?

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    Many English phrasal verbs rely upon the innate cognitive ability to derive the meaning from a physical metaphor. How much money did the casino take in last night? Her eyes took in the room. He fell overboard and has taken in a lot of salt water. The hotel is full and is no longer taking guests in. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 18 '15 at 10:40
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That's a phrasal verb. This is one of the most difficult parts of English since there are many phrasal verbs which have meanings independent of their elements.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find an exact match for phrasal verbs. Consider using Onelook.com as your starting place for word lookups. I noticed that wordnik.com site has a good definition:

  • suck or take up or in
  • take up as if with a sponge

Wordnik can be hit-or-miss. It actually got that from WordNet which can be fascinating once you get used to it. Here's a line from WordNet's entry for take-in:

  • S: (v) absorb, take in (suck or take up or in) "A black star absorbs all matter"
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I think the definition you are looking for is absorb.

absorb

  1. To suck up or drink in (a liquid); soak up
  2. To take in and utilize

Source: Dictionary.com

No, it is not technical jargon.

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  • But, I cannot find a definition for "take in" that fits the usage. – meatie Jun 18 '15 at 2:15
  • If present, hygroscopic salts in any sample material and the porous material itself will absorb moisture from the moist air in the chamber. The meaning of absorb in this case means to take in moisture. – CipherBot Jun 18 '15 at 2:18
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    @CipherBot you did not provide OP with the definition of "take in". You provided another definition which employed OP's phrase "take in". That's like me asking about the definition of jelly and you referencing the definition of peanut butter and jelly. – CoolHandLouis Jun 18 '15 at 4:38
  • @CoolHandLouis I cannot find a dictionary definition that fits the usage of 'take in' clearly this means he wants a dictionary definition that fits the usage of 'take in'. Thus I came up with a word that has the required definition to fit within the definition. Nice reference to the jelly though, but in this case, no you must have somehow misinterpreted the question. :) If I am wrong, can meatie confirm this dilemma? – CipherBot Jun 18 '15 at 5:36
  • CipherBot Welcome to ELL, "Nicest Stack of 'em All" (I made that up). I have to apologize: my analogy wasn't totally fair since you did find a synonym AND you're new. Typically if a user says they cannot find a definition of X, it behooves us to find a def of X. @meatie didn't find any def of "take in" that directly indicted "absorb". That gets us curious/eager to find why meatie was having trouble, and sure enough, some/many defs of "take in" just don't include that. That itself can be puzzling: how else are people to learn meanings of things that "should be" fairly standard? (continued) – CoolHandLouis Jun 18 '15 at 23:19

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