Where does the expression “to take for a ride” come from and What does it mean?

This may he jocular or serious; one is sometimes taken for a ride when he suffers nothing more severe than being kidded, made the butt of some joke.

But in a sinister and the original sense the person taken for the ride rarely returns.

The expression was of underworld origin, coined in the United States during the wave of criminality after World War I, when rival gangs of law-breakers waged warfare on each other.

Anyone incurring the displeasure of a gang chieftain was likely to be invited by a henchman to go for a ride in the car of the latter, ostensibly to talk matters over and clear up the misunderstanding.

The victim rarely returned from such a trip; his body might later be found by the police, or might not.