Definition of Take One For The Team

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What does the term "take one for the team" mean? What is meant by the term "take one for the team"?

In a team sport like hockey or football, players are asked to sacrifice their bodies for the greater good of the team.

A body check in hockey can sometimes be considered taking one for the team.This can include delivering a punishing block in football or taking a bone-crushing hit in hockey to advance the puck up the ice.

This is "taking one for the team" - meaning, you are accepting some sort of physical punishment in exchange for helping out your team.


This term can apply to "real life" as well.

Let's say that you want in a restaurant as a server. Half of the other servers are out due to illness, so you are asked to work double shifts.

You are being asked to "take one for the team" - you are sacrificing your personal time and putting your body through a tremendous amount of a grind in order to help out your employer.

This is "taking one for the team".