One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small songbird that searches acrobatically for insects among foliage and branches.
- ‘No wonder the tits and finches were so noisy and active.’
- ‘Lovebirds, barbets, tits and finches warm themselves in the cozy chambers built by the weavers.’
- ‘He pointed out that not only pigeons live in the South Parade area, but ravens, jackdaws, collared doves, blackbirds, thrushes, wagtails, tits and the now-endangered house sparrow.’
- ‘Scurrying about in the woodland fringes, hedges and feeding sites are finches, tits and thrushes keep your eyes open for the occasional hen harrier, merlin and sparrowhawk.’
- ‘This behavior is especially prevalent among chickadees and tits that scatter hoard food items in foliage, branches, and bark of trees.’
- 1.1 Used in names of birds that are similar or related to the tits, e.g. penduline tit, New Zealand tit.
Mid 16th century: probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Icelandic titlingur ‘sparrow’; compare with titling and titmouse. Earlier senses were ‘small horse’ and ‘girl’; the current sense dates from the early 18th century.
2military slang A button that is pushed to fire a gun or release a bomb.
get on someone's tits
vulgar slang Irritate someone intensely.annoy, vex, make angry, make cross, anger, exasperate, bother, irk, gall, pique, put out, displease, get someone's back up, put someone's back up, antagonize, get on someone's nerves, rub up the wrong way, try someone's patience, ruffle, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise, raise someone's hacklesView synonyms
tits and ass
vulgar slang Used in reference to the use of crudely sexual images of women.
Old English tit ‘teat, nipple’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tit and German Zitze. The vulgar slang use was originally US and dates from the early 20th century.
nounin phrase tit for tat
The infliction of an injury or insult in return for one that one has suffered.as modifier ‘the conflict staggered on with tit-for-tat assassinations’
retaliation, reprisal, counterattack, counterstroke, comebackView synonyms
- ‘Whether these deaths are all linked, tit for tat, is a point of debate in Melbourne.’
- ‘It was tit for tat on the field of play with numerous players catching the eye of their managers.’
- ‘But if they want to escalate the fight, we will respond tit for tat.’
- ‘But we do use the passes a lot and this seems a bit tit for tat.’
- ‘It was tit for tat throughout a memorable semi final, and while no one could question the merits of the champion's victory the great pity was that either side to had to endure the disappointment of defeat.’
- ‘The sides went tit for tat with scoring opportunities, and midway through the second half the game really picked up a Championship flavour.’
- ‘I can't say this enough: deterrence is not tit for tat.’
- ‘I thought about opening the window and gargling back, tit for tat, but concern for my neighbors discouraged me.’
- ‘But this somehow became tit for tat, and evaluation times for marketed drugs was accelerated.’
- ‘I usually put my comments in a general, not individual context, because I don't want to do the tit-for-tat insult thing many commentators do.’
- ‘In ranking events you generally find it's tit for tat.’
- ‘Not just a football match, it was a wonderful example of tit for tat as both teams set out to prove that anything one could do, the other could do better.’
- ‘I'm not advocating tit for tat, or cheating out of spite.’
- ‘At first glance this may seem a justified tit for tat.’
- ‘Reciprocity is not tit for tat, keeping score or revenge.’
- ‘It was tit for tat all through the first half with the sides trading some fine scores.’
- ‘After this it was tit for tat but in the few remaining minutes of injury time Ballinakill managed to score two points to give them a two point victory on a score of 3-12 to 3-10.’
- ‘But ‘bump and run’ is a gray area, where tactical tit for tat, perhaps motivated by momentary anger and revenge, may come into play despite the overall ethic of mutual respect.’
- ‘My appeal on Friday was on behalf of good old shameless commerce, quid pro quo, tit for tat, bucks for books.’
- ‘You know, I think it's going to be real tough, and I think the reason is that we're seeing now a tit for tat.’
Mid 16th century: variant of obsolete tip for tap.
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