Understanding the Idiom: "take something in one's stride" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: English

When faced with challenges or unexpected situations, some people have a remarkable ability to remain calm and composed. They seem to take everything in their stride, effortlessly adapting to new circumstances without getting upset or overwhelmed. This idiom is often used to describe such individuals who possess this admirable quality.

The phrase “take something in one’s stride” means to deal with a difficult situation calmly and confidently, without letting it affect your emotions or disrupt your plans. It implies that the person is able to handle any obstacle that comes their way with ease, as if they were simply taking another step forward.

This idiom can be applied in various contexts, from personal relationships to professional settings. For example, someone might take criticism from a boss or colleague in their stride by using it constructively instead of becoming defensive or discouraged. In other cases, individuals might face unexpected setbacks like losing a job or experiencing health problems but still manage to stay positive and resilient.

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “take something in one’s stride”

The idiom “take something in one’s stride” is a commonly used expression that refers to someone who handles a difficult situation with ease, without being overly affected by it. The phrase has its roots in equestrian sports, where a horse takes obstacles such as fences or ditches in its stride, meaning that it approaches them calmly and confidently.

Over time, the term has evolved to encompass more than just physical obstacles. Today, it is often used to describe how people handle various challenges and setbacks in their personal or professional lives. Whether it’s dealing with a difficult boss at work or navigating through a tough relationship issue, taking things in your stride means facing these challenges head-on without getting too overwhelmed.

The origins of this idiom can be traced back to the early 20th century when horse racing was popularized across Europe and North America. Jockeys would use the phrase “in his stride” to describe how their horses approached jumps during races. This eventually led to the development of the modern-day expression we know today.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “take something in one’s stride”

When using idioms, it is important to understand their variations and how they can be used in different contexts. The idiom “take something in one’s stride” has several variations that can be used to convey a similar meaning.

Variations of the Idiom

  • Take something in your step
  • Take something on the chin
  • Roll with the punches
  • Bounce back from something
  • Rise above something

Each variation conveys the idea of facing a challenge or difficulty without letting it affect you negatively. They all imply an attitude of resilience and strength when dealing with adversity.

Usage Examples

The idiom “take something in one’s stride” can be used in various situations. Here are some examples:

  1. If someone loses their job, they may choose to take it in their stride by looking for new opportunities instead of dwelling on their misfortune.
  2. If a student receives a poor grade on an exam, they may choose to take it on the chin by studying harder for future exams instead of giving up.
  3. If an athlete experiences setbacks during training, they may choose to roll with the punches by adjusting their training regimen instead of quitting.
  4. If someone faces criticism or negativity from others, they may choose to rise above it by focusing on positive aspects and not letting negative comments bring them down.
  5. If someone experiences a setback or failure, they may choose to bounce back from it by learning from their mistakes and trying again.

In each example, taking something in one’s stride implies resilience and determination despite challenges. It is an attitude that can help individuals overcome obstacles and achieve success.

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Idiom “take something in one’s stride”


There are several other phrases that convey a similar idea to “take something in one’s stride.” One common synonym is “handle something with ease,” which suggests that the person is able to manage a difficult situation without much effort or stress. Another related phrase is “roll with the punches,” which implies that someone is flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances and can take setbacks in stride.


On the other hand, there are also antonyms of “take something in one’s stride” that describe an inability or unwillingness to cope with challenges effectively. For example, someone who becomes easily overwhelmed by problems might be described as being unable to “keep their head above water.” Alternatively, if someone reacts strongly and emotionally when faced with adversity, they may be said to have a tendency towards drama or overreaction.

Cultural Insights:

The concept of taking things in stride is not unique to English-speaking cultures; many languages have idiomatic expressions that convey a similar idea. For instance, in Spanish there is a saying: “tomar las cosas con calma,” which translates roughly as “to take things calmly.” Similarly, Japanese has an expression: “shikata ga nai,” which means roughly: “it cannot be helped.” These phrases reflect cultural values around resilience and emotional control, emphasizing the importance of staying calm and collected in difficult situations.

Practical Exercises for Mastering the Idiom “Take Something in One’s Stride”

In order to truly understand and effectively use the idiom “take something in one’s stride,” it is important to practice incorporating it into everyday conversations. Here are some practical exercises to help you master this common phrase.

Exercise 1: Conversation Practice

Find a conversation partner and take turns using the idiom “take something in one’s stride” in different contexts. Try using it when discussing personal challenges, work obstacles, or even minor inconveniences. See how natural you can make it sound within your conversation.

Exercise 2: Writing Practice


– Don’t overuse the idiom; try using other synonyms such as “handle with ease” or “manage gracefully.”

– Pay attention to how native English speakers use this phrase in real-life situations.

– Practice makes perfect! Keep practicing until you feel confident using this idiom in any situation.

By incorporating these practical exercises into your language learning routine, you’ll soon be able to take anything life throws at you in your stride!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Idiom “take something in one’s stride”

When using idioms, it is important to understand their meanings and usage. The idiom “take something in one’s stride” means to handle a difficult situation calmly and without letting it affect you too much. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when using this idiom.

One mistake is using it in situations where it doesn’t apply. For example, saying “I took my morning coffee in my stride” doesn’t make sense because drinking coffee isn’t a difficult situation that needs to be handled calmly.

Another mistake is using the idiom incorrectly by adding unnecessary words or changing its form. For instance, saying “I took the exam in my strides” instead of “I took the exam in my stride” is incorrect because the latter form is already pluralized.

Lastly, some people misuse this idiom by taking it too literally. It doesn’t mean that you should ignore or dismiss a problem altogether; rather, it means handling it with composure and confidence.

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