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Take a hike

  • Take a hike is an idiom that has been in use since the nineteenth century. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions that native speakers understand such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, eye to eye, barking up the wrong tree, hit the nail on the head, kick the bucket, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom take a hike, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    Take a hike is a suggestion that someone leave, that someone go away or someone depart the area. Take a hike is a rude phrase, usually spoken to a pest or spoken by a bully. The origin of the word hike is not definite, though the word hyke, meaning to take a vigorous walk, was in use at the turn of the nineteenth century. By 1830, hike was used to tell someone in a rough manner to depart the area. Today, take a hike is a phrase that is often used humorously in advertising campaigns aimed at extolling the virtues of relaxing in nature. Related phrases are takes a hike, took a hike, taking a hike.

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    Examples

    General Motors should tell the UAW to take a hike (The Washington Examiner)

    While addressing the United Nations Security Council in New York, Pence looked directly at Venezuela’s U.N. Ambassador Samuel Moncada and essentially told him to take a hike. (The Week Magazine)

    One of the best things that ever happened to me was when Aaron Carter told me to take a hike, and then blocked me on Twitter. (The Phoenix New Times)

    As Sanford spoke with reporters, attendees waving Trump/Pence signs surrounded him, some chanting, “Trump! Trump!” and “Go take a hike,” a reference to Sanford’s 2009 disappearance to visit a mistress in Argentina while telling his gubernatorial staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. (The Asheboro Courier Tribune)


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