Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language

Article excerpt

`GIVE me your take on jazz in the 1990s,' Sue Lawley asked Stan Tracey on Desert Island Discs. `Simon Hoggart will be giving his take on the week in politics,' Andrew Rawnsley announced on that programme on Sunday evenings - The Westminster Hour, isn't it?

Take, take, take, that's all we get these days (when it isn't kick in). Perhaps it is a meaning which appeals to a particularly subjective mood of our times, just like the popular adjectival perceived, as in 'a perceived injustice'. Perhaps not, though. These things come in waves, like jellyfish, for no discernible reason. Remember situation, 20 years ago? I thought it would be with us always, but it has subsided.

Take is one of those handy words, like set or go, that acquire a thick foliage of meanings. The lush growth of take is mostly verbal, but nouns of various meanings have been adapted from the verb since the 16th century. It naturally came to mean an amount of money taken, like takings. …

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