to take the fifth

Idiom Definition

"to take the fifth"

to remain silent regarding a particular subject or circumstance in order to not incriminate yourself

Idiom Definition - to take the fifth


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to take the fifth

Steve was arrested by the police yesterday.  They thought he might have robbed a bank.  Steve did not rob a bank but knew better than to say anything that might cause him trouble. 

When the police began to question Steve, he would only say, "I take the fifth."

Wisely, Steve remained silent until he could talk to his lawyer.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to take the fifth

Johnny is a 14 year old teenage boy.  His mother comes home one day to discover that her favorite lamp in the living room has been smashed.  Johnny's mother asks Johnny if he knows anything about the broken lamp in the living room. 

Johnny replies, "I take the fifth."

Did Johnny break the lamp?  We do not know.  In fact, Johnny had been playing in the living room with his friends but did not break the lamp.  Johnny is worried that if he tells his mother this fact that he will be incriminated and his mother will believe that he did break the lamp.

to take the fifth - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   147   click for frequency by country

to take the fifth - Gerund Form:

Taking the fifth can sometimes be the best course of action.

to take the fifth - Examples:

1)  I take the fifth when I do not want to incriminate myself.

2)  You take the fifth when an explanation would be useless.

3)  He takes the fifth until he can talk to his lawyer.

4)  She takes the fifth when her husband questions her about the credit card bill.

5)  We take the fifth when the referee asks if we are guilty of a foul.

6)  You (all) take the fifth when you (all) are questioned by police.

7)  They take the fifth if they think they are in trouble.

8)  Well, I'll just have to take the fifth on that one!

9)  Also likely is that lawyers will be present advising their clients to take the Fifth.

10)  He had available to him the right to take the Fifth Amendment, which is what many people did, including Paul Robeson.

11)  I've suspected he'll do little more than take the Fifth, at this point, as anything else might come close to perjury.

12) He has to resign and take the fifth

13)  She has every right to take the Fifth in this non-story with which the media and the Dems are obsessed.

14)  DOJ officials set to testify before congress has indicated that she will " take the Fifth ", and not answer on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate her.

15)  If they are wise, they will follow the advice of counsel and take the 5th, refusing to answer any questions in this witch-hunt.

16)  On reviewing them, I think I will take the 5th and only answer some, but out of order and context.

17) He could take the 5th or maintain the status-quo like he had always done in the past. 

18)  The rest, I'll just take the 5th.

19) He may have to take the 5th amendment to comply with the commitment he made to never divulge secret information. 

20)  Get your subpoena ready and then listen to him take the 5th because crimes have been committed.