What does it really mean "to take the opponent down." I have looked it up in several dictionaries and none had other meanings of take down than dismantle, shoot/hit someone, write or criticise.

In the article: https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/tennis-pro-cuts-her-own-hair-on-court-in-a-bid-to-win-143555907.html there's this sentence: "Kuznetsova returned to the court, and proceeded to take down her opponent and win 7-5, 1-6, 7-5."

My personal conclusion is that it somply means "she beat her opponent." However, I am not sure if it's just clear "beat" or it expresses something more emotional like "beat someone badly" or something. Can anybody help?

  • It can mean anything from defeat to kill - take down someone
    – Mick
    Oct 26, 2016 at 9:59
  • The sense is as in a boxing or wrestling match, where the opponent is knocked off his feet.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 26, 2016 at 12:02
  • @HotLicks In the sport's parlance, a boxer is "decked" (knocked to the deck) or "knocked down" to the canvas, but never taken down. That's more appropriate to street fighting on the cobbles, not the noble art as per the Marquis of Queensbury rules. Oct 26, 2016 at 14:52
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    @PeterPoint - I concur that "take down" isn't appropriate for boxing, because to "take" someone you have to go with them: suitable for wrestling where you go down too but (hopefully) you're in control, not suitable for boxing where you are only punching the opponent, not using your whole body, and hence should remain standing.
    – AndyT
    Oct 26, 2016 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


To take down an opponent is a term derived from wrestling.

being brought to the mat from a standing position; "a takedown counts two points"

As such, it is dramatic and unequivocal. When applied to other struggles, it implies a decisive victory.

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    This looks good, but you need to attribute your quote. If you can also find an authority to support your final sentence, so much the better, though you may not be able to; it sounds entirely plausible. Oct 26, 2016 at 14:23

In the example of the OP's tennis match, the use of the expression, "Kutnetsova returned to the court, and proceeded to take down her her opponent...", connotes the manner in which the tennis player eventually inflicted a defeat upon her opponent. Evidently, in the third and final set, after returning to the court from a 1-6 drubbing in the second-set, she set about defeating her opponent in winning ways that were so incisive, so overwhelming and surgical that her opponent had no answer or riposte to Kutnetsova's game in the final set. That said, the third-set's scoreline, 7-5, might mislead the reader into thinking that the game was close. The sports writer's report, that "Kutnetsova... proceeded to take down her opponent" in the final set, indicates otherwise.

Macmillandictionary.com gives us numerous definitions but the the one most suited to the OP is as follows: "to criticise [defeat] someone devastatingly so that it is difficult for them to recover...[as in] Barack Obama just took down Donald Trump".

  • It did mislead me ( I mean the score 7-5).
    – Peter
    Oct 27, 2016 at 10:06

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