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take the field

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Enter a competition, as in The country's best spellers took the field in the national spelling bee. This term originated around 1600 when it meant “to open a military campaign.” The field here is the field of battle. The term has been used figuratively almost as long, the first recorded use being in 1614.

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QUIZ YOURSELF ON "WAS" VS. "WERE"!

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Question 1 of 7
“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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