Take a beat


What is the meaning of the phrase ‘Take a beat’?

Take a pause. (Or stop a while, usually to calm down.)

What is the origin of the phrase ‘Take a beat’?

Oftentimes when people look up the phrase ‘take a beat’ they are met instead with details surrounding another phrase entirely, specifically that of ‘take a beating’. However, it is important to note that these phrases have not only two very different meanings but also two very different origins.

For the purpose of this webpage, we’re going to concentrate on the phrase ‘Take a beat’. If you want to know about the meaning and the origin of the phrase ‘Take a beating’ please use the link provided.

While the precise origin of the term is still largely unknown, there is speculation that it is derived from music, where a very short pause may be described as a beat.

By suggesting that someone ‘Take a beat’ you are suggesting that they take a short pause. This may occur when someone is upset, anxious, or angry. Taking a short pause under such circumstances can help a person to take stock of their reaction and recalibrate themselves so that they don’t appear to overreact, and it gives them the opportunity to think, and possibly reassess, before they speak, which can be valuable in many difficult situations.

It’s a phrase that’s frequently used in everyday life, and in popular culture, such as on TV, film, and in literature. Common uses occur in coaching, business meetings, and public speaking.

What are some notable uses of the phrase ‘Take a beat’?

One TV show that frequently uses the phrase ‘Take a beat’ is American show Grey’s Anatomy’ which predominantly takes place in a hospital setting. Characters use the phrase to advise colleagues to pause momentarily before making a potentially life and death decision.

The phrase is also used in the films ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Moneyball’.

Trend of take a beat in printed material over time

Cari Mayhew - Author at Phrase Finder

Cari Mayhew

Lifelong learner, phrase fanatic, and lover of literature across multiple genres. Cari Mayhew has a passion for expression, and a keen curiosity for how phrases begin and how their use transforms over time. She is often found looking for the ideal idiom to convey her thoughts and musings.