One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘I walked up to the horse, but he took off at a great speed’
run away, run off, flee, abscond, take flight, decamp, disappear, leave, go, depart, make off, bolt, make a break for it, make a run for it, take to one's heels, beat a hasty retreat, make a quick exit, make one's getaway, escape, head for the hills
informal split, beat it, clear off, clear out, skedaddle, vamoose, hightail it, light out
2‘the plane took off’
become airborne, leave the ground, take to the air, take wing
be launched, lift off, blast off
land, touch down
3‘the idea really took off’
succeed, do well, become popular, catch on, progress, prosper, flourish, thrive, boom, turn out well, work, work out
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