Does 'take off' simply mean to leave? Does it imply a sudden leave?

I heard people used the term at the end of a party, but not a sudden leave.


Cambridge: take off - to suddenly leave somewhere, usually without telling anyone that you are going
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TAKE OFF (from www.dictionary.com)

[*]To remove, as clothing: take one's coat off; take off one's galoshes.
[*]To release: took the brake off.
[*]To deduct as a discount: took 20 percent off.
[*]To carry off or away.
[*]Slang To go off; leave: took off in a hurry.
[*]To achieve wide use or popularity: a new movie that really took off.
[*]To rise into the air or begin flight: The plane took off on time.
[*]To discontinue: took off the commuter special.
[*]To withhold service due, as from one's work: I'm taking off three days during May.

from www.dictionary.com
Hello M2L

It would usually imply a perception on the speaker's part that the departure was sudden; but I've no doubt it's sometimes used as little more than a synonym for "depart".

Can you remember a sentence in which you've heard it, at the end of a party?

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Hi MrP,

What's the difference between "we're leaving" and "we're taking off" if guests say this at the end of a party?

Is it true that when people say "we're taking off" it is more hurried than "we're leaving" as the Cambridge dictionary suggests?

Or, both "we're taking off" and "we're leaving" pretty much mean the same?

Thanks for your reply.
Hello M2L

If you say of someone else "he took off at the end of the party", it would usually suggest some suddenness or hurriedness on his part: you're describing what you saw.

However, if you say of yourselves, "we're taking off", it probably only means you want your departure to sound more interesting than it is!

Thanks, MrP.
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I feel the phrase "taking off" has more the suggestion of "going forward" rather than "leaving behind". When people are "taking off", they leave a question hanging in the air: Where are you headed?
To me, "take off" is used when there's somewhere else that the person needs to go.

I hope everyone realizes that 'take off' is informal, and primarily used by people at least under 30. I imagine it's seldom said by the Queen of England. (ha-ha)

It can also be said, informally of course, to tell other people to go away.

Guy: Hey, baby, how about coming back to my place?

Girl: Take off !

Best wishes, Clive
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