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take liberties

Behave improperly or disrespectfully; also, make unwanted sexual advances. For example, He doesn't allow staff members to take liberties, such as calling clients by their first names, or She decided that if Jack tried to take liberties with her she would go straight home. This idiom uses liberties in the sense of “an overstepping of propriety,” and thus differs markedly from take the liberty of [ c. 1700 ]
Make a statement or take an action not warranted by the facts or circumstances, as in Their book takes liberties with the historical record.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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  • They take liberties, damnable liberties, because I am easy-going.

    The Yellow Claw Sax Rohmer
  • I will not have you take liberties with her name to me; and this is not the first time I have told you so.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • It was dark in there and I was afraid this young man might take liberties.

  • You know that it does not do to take liberties in a position like mine.

    Fantmas Pierre Souvestre
  • “But I notice that you take liberties with my name,” he said, quickly.

    The Girl from Sunset Ranch Amy Bell Marlowe
  • If He give me further liberty, I must not take liberties with it.

  • He's beginning to take liberties with what he thinks is his reputation.'

    The Light That Failed Rudyard Kipling
  • Do you not realize that you cannot take liberties with this climate?

    The Crossing Winston Churchill
  • I'll take liberties with it, for, without doubt, our host will not object.

    The Young Cavalier Percy F. Westerman

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