take for a ride


take for a ride


  • to trick somebody
  • to lie to somebody to deceive them
  • to abduct someone with the intention of murdering them


  • cheat
  • deceive
  • swindle
  • trick
  • con

Example Sentences

  1. I paid for the package but it was never delivered. After two weeks I realized that I had been taken for a ride.
  2. I paid him $3000 as a deposit but he still has not fixed my car. I think he has taken me for a ride.
  3. His new girlfriend is taking him for a ride. She is not as sweet as she looks.
  4. When his boss found out that he had stolen the drugs, he was taken for a ride. He never returned.


The origin of the phrase seems to be quite sinister. It can be traced back to the 1920s. It was used to describe the car trip and intended killing of enemies of crime bosses in America in the late 1920s. The person would be placed in a car and moved to a different location with the intent of killing them and burying the body.

It is unclear when the phrase was first used to describe being swindled, usually for money. It is possible that the origins are closely related, as you are promised one thing and then something else, or nothing, is delivered.

Share your opinions1 Opinion

Perhaps the more widespread use of “take him for a ride,” in connection with murder, was prompted by the phrase’s use in the 1928 film LIGHTS OF NEW YORK. This was considered a very poor movie (both then and now) but it holds the distinction of being the very first “all-talking” motion picture (I.e., without any silent sequences). Everyone seemed to come away remembering the film’s “take him for a ride” exchange.

‒ kt July 6, 2019

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