take for granted
or took or taken for granted [teyk] or [too k] or [tey-kuh n fer grant-id]
What does take for granted mean?
The expression to take for granted means “to accept without question or objection,” and often implies a lack of appreciation or gratitude. (E.g., “Many of us may take for granted the fact that we have access to clean drinking water.”)
When it come to people, to take someone for granted means to take advantage of, show no appreciation for, or undervalue them.
Where does take for granted come from?
We didn’t just take for granted what the expression take it for granted means—we did our research.
Beginning in the 1300s, the verb grant came to mean “to admit to be true,” or “to acknowledge.” This meaning still exists; think of when someone says I grant you that, meaning, “You’re right on that point.”
In the 1600s, the expression to take for granted arose to mean “to consider true without requiring proof.” The phrase appeared early on in religious texts.
If Steven Hillenburg has taught me anything, it's that an idea's success is not made by mere normality. Spongebob's weirdness is a thing we take for granted nowadays, but it was definitely bizarre and out of left field for its time. Always keep that in mind with your own life. pic.twitter.com/cPsTpuWspv
— Carltoons (@CarlsAmateurHr) November 28, 2018
As early as the 1620s, take for granted had taken on a negative connotation, implying that someone was assuming something without or not in evidence.
By the 1800s, the expression take for granted began to take on the sense of assuming that someone or something would exhibit certain qualities without express instructions. An example comes from an essay from an 1880 issue of Fraser’s Magazine: “That she would acquire a thorough knowledge of the best art of cookery, I take for granted.”
The phrase’s past-participle form, taken for granted, became more widespread in the 19th century. At the time, it was ideas or things that were taken for granted.
By the 20th century, people were being taken for granted in the sense that they were assumed to have certain qualities or would do certain things for people (without thanks).
Around the same time, the expression taken for granted came to refer to someone who was taken advantage of or whose value was under-appreciated.
Examples of take for granted
Who uses take for granted?
These days, take for granted (and its variants) are very widely used in English speech and writing around the world.
The expression take for granted can still means what it meant in the 1600s–to assume something as a fact without requiring proof, e.g., “The psychologist took it for granted that mental illness was a factor when, in reality, it was a learning disability.”
The expression taking (something or someone) for granted can also be used to express a general lack of gratitude for a situation or person. E.g., “We take for granted that the government will provide free schooling for children.”
Taken for granted, as we’ve seen, especially applies to people who feel they’ve been treated in a careless or indifferent manner: e.g., “Teachers are taken for granted and deserve higher wages.”
This is not meant to be a formal definition of take for granted like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of take for granted that will help our users expand their word mastery.