I believe брать is used when something physical is taken and принимать is used when something is ingested (such as medicine) and получать is used when something is accepted. Is this too simple? Are there occasions when you could use any of the above i.e. they are synonyms?

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    don't dictionaries provide enough information on their English counterparts? брать sometimes can be a colloquial принимать Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 12:04
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    It might be better if you provide some examples in which you don't know which of them to use, otherwise you can just consuult a dictionary as suggested.
    – V.V.
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 17:27
  • To answer this specific question of yours: "Are there occasions when you could use any of the above i.e. they are synonyms?" - I don't think so. I've tried for a while and couldn't come up with a single example. That is, you can probably come up with a phrase where either of the verbs can be used and will sound naturally but they won't be synonymous.
    – tum_
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 4:53

3 Answers 3


In dictionaries these words may have many numbered meanings. Here is what comes first to mind when we compare these words in the most often used meanings.

If you doing this (брать-принимать-получать) action:

Брать - you make your own effort and take/grab something into your hands.

Брать книгу со стола.

Принимать - the same as брать but with the preceding action that somebody gives/offers it to you, and you take it from him/her/ I.e. you accept it, and take it into your hands.

Принимать подарки. Принимать поздравления.

(Принимать лекарство - is a special case, looks like idiom to me, means take/ingest medicine. Принимать решение - also an idiom.)

Получать - similar to receive or obtain. It is on the other side of send. If something was sent to you, you can receive it (получить). Получать hints on somewhat passive role of yourself. Somebody (or nature) sent something into your direction and then you received it.

Получать письмо. Получить удар по голове. Получил эту роль. Получил много денег. Получил урок. Получил удовольствие.

  • There's also "принимать участие [в чём-то]" – 'to take part [in something]'.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 10:06
  • "Принимать" has a lot of related idioms. "Принимать близко к сердцу", "принимать позу" etc.
    – Alexander
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 16:45

Брать, взять - acquire smth proactivly. Not only phisical: "я брал у него несколько уроков танцев" (means it was my initiative to study dancing). "Забрать победу в последний момент".

Принимать - has little to do with ingesting (you may "принимать" (take) your medicine non-oraly). Means acquire smth to youself more or less voluntarily. "Принимать гостей" - (voluntarily) accept guests. "Принять своё несовершенство и жить дальше".

Получать - acquire smth passively, as a target. "Получать удар за ударом" - you can not translate this to English using "accept".


Брать = take
Принимать = get
Получать = receive, obtain.

  • Not really - "to take pills" = "принимать таблетки", "to get approval = "получать подверждение" and so long.
    – VaNdal
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 23:11
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    Languages do not work that way. You can only translate direct meaning with confidence. "take pills" and "get approval" are indirect use of verbs so all bets are off the table. Otherwise the answer is sound.
    – alamar
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 23:29

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