Main definitions of bit in English

: bit1bit2bit3bit4

bit1

noun

  • 1A small piece, part, or quantity of something.

    ‘give the duck a bit of bread’
    ‘he read bits of his work to me’
    • ‘Certainly there are bits of the concert on the dvd which I didn't remember, but you would expect a bit of that.’
    • ‘Other than that, I've managed to put the finishing touches on some bits of music I've been working on.’
    • ‘The force of its landing literally exploded it into little pieces, and tiny bits of bark covered my clothes.’
    • ‘He made a telephone call to the Observer and with readers' help slowly began to piece bits of the puzzle together and build up the museum.’
    • ‘So for history's sake, check out these closeted bits of celluloid for a bit of perspective on how far we've come.’
    • ‘One of the outfits means I will be baring bits of skin that don't usually see the light of day.’
    • ‘There are also files and other bits of correspondence littering every available surface and the whole area is generally a bit of a mess.’
    • ‘We both study things in minute detail and piece bits of evidence together and it is very similar with scenes of crime work.’
    • ‘I've been trying to identify what bits of the blog work well (that these bits should even exist may come as a bit of a shock to some of you, I'm sure) and what bits don't work so well.’
    • ‘His is an impressive collection of rusty coins and nails, corroded bullets and belt buckles, pieces of swords and knives, shards and bits of broken bottles.’
    • ‘Reaching my chosen spot I dropped some bits of bread across to the far bank, watching it float downstream then across the current to our bank.’
    • ‘Individual elements such as pieces of driftwood or bits of furniture retained traces of their former life, but also melted into the larger organic whole.’
    • ‘A bit of rain she can cope with but a deluge of hard, stinging pingy bits of ice is too much even for Dolly the Mega Cat.’
    • ‘It was piecing together different bits of conversations.’
    • ‘In more prepared circumstances I might have added some bite sized bits of chicken.’
    • ‘With a few bits of cardboard, a light and a bit of plastic, Pratt's little model echoes both the reality and the dream.’
    • ‘Also, there are some really sad bits and some manipulative bits of very dubious taste.’
    • ‘With its clear chicken broth, bits of green onion, finely shredded cabbage and artfully fastened dumplings, said soup is a fine way to begin your feast.’
    • ‘You can't expect your role models to be perfect at everything, you have to piece them together from bits of everybody you admire for different reasons.’
    • ‘Otherwise, the piece had some good bits of news.’
    small portion, small piece, piece, portion, segment, section, part
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1a bit A short time or distance.
      ‘I fell asleep for a bit’
      ‘can you move over a bit?’
      • ‘If this means staying off the usual glass or three of wine per evening for a bit, so be it.’
      • ‘And if so, we can say that it merely happened that the seed dropped where it did and not a bit further on.’
      • ‘As this is something of a landmark survey may we be excused for pushing the boat out a bit?’
      • ‘Nanna was there so we all hung out for a bit and then she helped me dye my hair black for the party.’
      moment, minute, second, little while, short time
      soon, in a while, in a little while, in a second, in a minute, in a moment, in a trice, in a flash, shortly, in a short time, in no time, in less than no time, in no time at all, before you know it, before long, directly
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2a bit A fairly large amount.
      ‘working in a foreign country took quite a bit of getting used to’
      • ‘Most jobs that will earn you a good amount of money involve a fair bit of training.’
      • ‘A bit of research suggests my initial guess was correct, and it's some Indian Reservation.’
      • ‘It would get them out of the house and earn them a bit of extra cash at the same time.’
      • ‘Yes, I mean, even though, I mean, the media has overblown some of the problems a fair bit.’
      • ‘Online betting is big business and it is now a very simple job to splash a bit of cash on a flutter.’
      • ‘So right now, in China, there is a good bit of activity going on trying to control this problem in a very aggressive way.’
      • ‘I started to cry a bit but there were other people in the room so I had to get a hold of myself.’
      • ‘Like all cliches, there was a good bit of truth attached to this comical declaration.’
      • ‘So it's, you know, he probably had to scrape a bit to get that amount up.’
      • ‘We are entitled to expect a fair bit of intersubjectivity in judged verdicts.’
      • ‘I did a bit of acting in Liverpool then moved down here to try and make it as an actress.’
      • ‘They are teenage lads and they need a bit of ego to get up on stage but they take it in their stride.’
      • ‘We're getting some fair bit of sales through and we haven't advertised.’
      • ‘Ian Moore has been doing well and the lads have all been telling him to calm down a bit.’
      • ‘It was very unusual to be from a divorced family then and yes, there was a bit of stigma.’
      • ‘Once you take off all the stuff above you'd at least have a bit of time to do other things.’
      • ‘There are still a few too many bulls by comparison but we can move them given a bit of time.’
      • ‘The down side was that, well, Mr. B. and I fought a fair bit in those first months.’
      • ‘I remember too that he did a bit of dealing in ponies and usually had one or two in the field.’
      • ‘Kathleen, it does look like there's a good bit of activity on the streets.’
  • 2informal with adjective A set of actions or ideas associated with a specific group or activity.

    ‘Miranda could go off and do her theatrical bit’
    • ‘I'm not sure about the getting married bit, but the idea of them going off somewhere holds a certain appeal.’
    • ‘The only really entertaining bit was the thing with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.’
    • ‘Charles and crew follow him for eight months as he works one five-minute bit into a full hour of worthy material.’
    • ‘There's a stunning, uncredited sax solo and a quirky contrapuntal bit for the trombones.’
    • ‘Each main dancer got to do a little solo bit in the middle of the semi-circle.’
    • ‘John's issue page seemed a bit beefier than George's bit about his agenda.’
  • 3informal A girl or young woman.

    ‘he went and married some young bit half his age’
    • ‘Or you have to sit right there and some young bit who has no training or teaching is letting their children scream for the sake of screaming!’
    • ‘He must have a young bit on the side.’
    • ‘I was a grown woman, with children of my own, not a young bit thing with little experience of life.’
  • 4bitsBritish informal A person's genitals.

    ‘You could see everything! All her bits!’
  • 5North American dated, informal A unit of 121/2 cents (used only in even multiples).

    • ‘Jim paid the four bits and ate in the dining room.’
    • ‘Abbey skipped up to the house, a silver bit and four coppers jingling in her apron pocket.’
    • ‘A lad with tousled fair hair came out of the livery, and Ben handed over the horse and two bits for feed and a rub down.’

Phrases

  • a bit

    • Somewhat; to some extent.

      ‘he came back looking a bit annoyed’
      • ‘The weather at the Oval is looking a bit overcast but may hold long enough for us to do the biz.’
      • ‘If you take a leg off of the spider, put it back on the table and tell it to walk, it walks a bit wobbly.’
      • ‘They are a good side but we were a bit better and hopefully this result shows we are now on our way.’
      • ‘Petrol usage would be a bit higher but not by so much that it equals the rent we would have paid.’
      • ‘I'm now a bit stiff and have a big lump on my right foot where I caught a guy on the elbow.’
      • ‘Then he said he had a proposal for me, which made me a bit worried about what was coming up.’
      • ‘This goes some way to explaining why my cupboard is a bit bare when it comes to clothes.’
      • ‘I must admit to finding it a bit slow to begin with and rather drawn out in some places.’
      • ‘My little boy is not speaking to me on the phone at the moment, which is a bit upsetting.’
      • ‘Using it as a saw works a bit better, but it appears the faults in the blade help here.’
      rather, a little, fairly, slightly, somewhat, relatively, quite, to some degree, to some extent, comparatively, moderately
      View synonyms
  • bit by bit

    • Gradually.

      ‘bit by bit the truth started to emerge’
      • ‘This got wilder and wilder until, bit by bit, the entire drum set was collapsing onto the floor under the fury of this onslaught.’
      • ‘Left with the core essence of his basically decent character, he then sets about rebuilding his life, bit by bit.’
      • ‘The lesson is, undo communism slowly, bit by bit, and don't expect democracy overnight.’
      • ‘My family moved house while I was in London, and I've been going through the boxes from the old house bit by bit.’
      • ‘When we are replenished in our spirit, we go back into the liberal culture, changing it bit by bit.’
      • ‘But if there are more films like Promises, perhaps, bit by bit, awareness will grow.’
      • ‘He had received medical help, was in counselling, had been given a flat and was trying bit by bit to put his life back together again.’
      • ‘When you meet your goals bit by bit, you will no doubt feel a sense of accomplishment which will be an incentive to move on.’
      • ‘We gave away a big chunk of our sovereignty in 1972, and since then, bit by bit, we have been ceding more and more of it.’
      • ‘With that I go on again, begin to build, and fail, and learn another thing, and so it goes on, as bit by bit what I learn rises up like a stone wall.’
      assist, help, lend a hand, be of service, give one's support, give one's backing, contribute, chip in, throw in one's lot
      View synonyms
  • a bit of a —

    • 1Used to suggest that something is not severe or extreme, or is the case only to a limited extent.

      ‘I have had a bit of an accident’
      ‘he's a bit of a womanizer’
      • ‘I'd forgotten to mention but I had a bit of an accident with Dad's car whilst he was away.’
      • ‘He's a bit of an extremist - congratulating the Islamic thugs that beat him up in Afghanistan.’
      • ‘A bit of an unknown quantity for GB, Brent has plenty of pace and is a prolific try-scorer.’
      • ‘He is simply a bit of an idiot, and to an extent a victim of his times.’
      • ‘Although this procedure is not extremely difficult, it does require a bit of an experienced hand.’
      • ‘I mean, isn't that a bit of an extreme way to describe the detention centres?’
      • ‘That he is here at all, in this lovely parkland rising to the church in the trees, is a bit of an accident.’
      • ‘It was a bit of an accident going there in the first place.’
      • ‘Because we knew that it was a bit of a fiefdom at that point in time.’
      • ‘I was in severe leg trouble, so the trip to Taunton was a bit of an ordeal.’
      1. 1.1Used to denote a young person or one of slight build.
        ‘the lad was a wee bit of a thing’
        • ‘I was just a bit of a lass back then.’
        • ‘When I was nearly four years old I was just a mere bit of a girl.’
        • ‘She was just a bit of a girl.’
  • a bit of all right

    • informal A pleasing person or thing, especially a woman regarded in sexual terms.

      ‘that blonde's a bit of all right’
      • ‘You're a bit of all right you know.’
      • ‘Well I must admit he was a bit of all right, but he was very fair and explained he couldn't give me a refund, and that's not what I was looking for anyway.’
      • ‘Of course, considering the financial consequences of being ‘done’ by Oprah, maybe she'd decided being ‘done’ by any club was a bit of all right.’
      • ‘‘She's a bit of all right,’ Barry remarked over his brother's shoulder.’
      • ‘‘He's a bit of all right,’ sighed the girl in the green belly top.’
      • ‘However, Arthur turns out to be a bit of all right - if you like the smell of Dentugrip - so Colleen ends up agreeing to a date!’
      • ‘Gotta say, the car chase at the beginning of the Professional was a bit of all right.’
      • ‘With Roge and a host of sixties bikini-babes warming up the brown leather a DBS was finally seen as a bit of all right.’
      • ‘You're a bit of all right, if you don't mind me saying that.’
      • ‘It might not have been a wonderful contest but he is a bit of all right and I'm thinking more towards the spring rather than Christmas with him.’
  • bit of fluff (or skirt or stuff)

    • informal A woman regarded in sexual terms.

      • ‘I was afraid of committing to one person, I'm a flighty, teasing bit of fluff.’
      • ‘I saw you and your bit of stuff at a bar last night.’
      • ‘I loved the way she turned out to be a ruthless undercover agent and not a bit of fluff after all.’
      • ‘The fact that they can do this is due to (amongst other things) the glass ceiling, and the fact that many positions of authority are occupied by sleazy old men who see women as nothing more than a nice bit of skirt.’
      • ‘We are his fallback, his bit of stuff until something better comes along.’
      • ‘Mind you, last time I went to a match I was with my dad and it could be that I was mistaken for his bit of stuff (it's happened before).’
      • ‘I could've gone there with this girl called Pearl who was a great bit of stuff.’
      • ‘Fella will become a symbol, showing that even an average schlub can land a sizzling bit of skirt.’
      • ‘They wouldn't want a ruler with a bit of stuff on the side.’
      • ‘There is so much stuff you get put up for where you are obviously just the bit of fluff, even if you have brains and wear trousers all the time.’
  • bit on the side

    • 1informal A person with whom one is unfaithful to one's partner.

      • ‘It's his girlfriend as in the bit on the side he hopes his wife doesn't know about.’
      • ‘I know you're in love with Michael, so I'm not asking to be your boyfriend or even your bit on the side.’
      • ‘I was visited by my ‘bit on the side’ (actually, I'm his bit on the side!) before I went out to meet some friends in the usual haunts.’
      • ‘Jane, Leon's bit on the side, recently separated and refusing to accept that her lover treats their casual liaison as if it was a one-night-stand, feels trapped in sexual limbo, all confidence gone.’
      • ‘You can bring your bit on the side, and I'll bring one of mine!’
      • ‘There is rakish Andy; dear old Gran; long-suffering Liz; grumpy Phil; auntie Maggie whose been around a bit; Wills the teenage love interest and Chas with his bit on the side.’
      • ‘And I don't think people will want her to be his bit on the side - his mistress, either.’
      • ‘It turns out, he is not simply fond of a bit on the side (another mistress emerged this week).’
      • ‘What easier way to send a grudging acknowledgement of your lover/spouse / bit on the side than down the computer wire?’
      • ‘If you're going to be damned anyway, even for being faithful, you might as well have a bit on the side.’
    • 2informal Money earned outside one's normal job.

      ‘I'd like to make a bit on the side’
      • ‘The pocket money will not be enough to cover all living expenses, and most apprentices will therefore have to earn a bit on the side on Saturdays.’
      • ‘Marlowe obliquely tells the tale of her life from the bright New Jersey kid who made it to Harvard to her time as a needle-popping rock journalist who earned a bit on the side as a drugs money launderer.’
      • ‘He earns a bit on the side by making photoreports on the film set.’
      • ‘Everyone needs to make a bit on the side once in a while!’
  • bits and pieces

    • An assortment of small items.

      • ‘Your poor pal has just made a terrifying investment and, as you say, is having to shell out for new furnishings and other bits and bobs.’
      • ‘On top of all of that I discovered numerous bits and pieces of farm equipment scattered around the place.’
      • ‘So the Guru and I wandered off to Ikebukuro for the afternoon to nose, buy some bits and pieces, that sort of thing.’
      • ‘There was a large collection of tools and other bits and bobs to look at, including the splendid generators.’
      • ‘So far I have written 4 complete songs, with bits and bobs for another couple more; this is since last Sunday.’
      • ‘The actual textiles seemed to be of all kinds, a few whole garments, old socks, hankies, torn-off sleeves, j-cloths, rags, babies' stuff, bits and bobs.’
      • ‘However there are other equally interesting bits and pieces on display.’
      • ‘We have called in to pick up a few bits and pieces, and to collect a rather expensive lamp for K's mother.’
      • ‘It's an epidemic, I thought, standing in the sun outside while I sorted my bag of bits and pieces.’
      • ‘I had to pick up a couple of bits and bobs in Sainsbury, so didn't get started in the kitchen until almost half seven.’
      odds and ends, oddments, stuff, paraphernalia, things, miscellanea, bric-a-brac, sundries, knick-knacks, souvenirs, keepsakes, mementoes, lumber, flotsam and jetsam
      View synonyms
  • do one's bit

    • informal Make a useful contribution to an effort or cause.

      ‘I was persuaded to do my bit for the environment’
      • ‘The refugees who made it were clearly keen to do their bit in the war effort and the factory went on to produce 66 per cent of the leather required in the whole British war effort.’
      • ‘In that time the couple has served on a number of committees in an effort to do their bit for the Geraldton.’
      • ‘Models of a responsible society would have marketers doing their bit to contribute towards a just and fair society, alongside the contributions of other institutions such as the family and the Church.’
      • ‘The majority of them are ordinary people, keen to do their bit for charity.’
      • ‘The idea is to do your own small bit, in whatever way, in checking the growing intolerance in people.’
      • ‘He has also done his own bit to distance his current squad from their glorious recent past and the haphazard unsettled last season.’
      • ‘The Goddard Arms Hotel in Old Town was packed on Friday night with people all eager to do their bit for the relief effort.’
      • ‘It is appreciated that those who are involved in the development of two projects in the parish, the ball alley and the GAA pitches, are doing their bit.’
      • ‘Everybody is asked to do their bit and make an effort to recycle as much of their waste as possible.’
      • ‘And I'll be doing my bit to contribute to the development of its ideology.’
      assist, help, lend a hand, be of service, give one's support, give one's backing, contribute, chip in, throw in one's lot
      View synonyms
  • in bits

    • informal Very upset or emotionally affected.

      ‘she found out he was two-timing her—she's in bits, really she is’
      • ‘I won by seven there, but the week before I was in bits, and the week after I was in bits.’
      • ‘By the end, I was in bits.’
      • ‘But it left me in bits, and I need someone to blame.’
      • ‘A neighbour who did not want to be identified said: ‘Everybody has been left in bits and there was nothing anyone could do.’’
      • ‘She initially refused to give her details but later told police nothing happened between them and said: ‘My head is in bits.’’
      • ‘At the end of his performance of Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin with pianist Helmut Deutsch, the audience was in bits and pandemonium broke out, leaving Kaufmann looking slightly bemused at the sensation he had caused.’
      • ‘I'm still in bits and I'm generally out of the firing line.’
      • ‘I thought it was fantastic and spent much of the last half hour in bits crying.’
      • ‘I'll leave it there for now, because I'm in bits tonight, on and off, off and on.’
      • ‘I know this is probably taking all the fun out of it, but I have just read the instructions for installation and my head is in bits!’
  • not a bit

    • Not at all.

      ‘I'm not a bit tired’
      • ‘Ignorant of this process, they worried not a bit.’
      • ‘But little Risheek, a class IV student, is not a bit unnerved.’
      • ‘But at the same time it didn't surprise me, not a bit.’
      • ‘Yet this time, those falls didn't hurt me, not a bit.’
      • ‘I'm not a bit surprised that other people are interested in Steve, not a bit.’
      • ‘It matters not a bit to the agitators that great uncle Lazaro has two convictions for drunk driving, and the other, Delfin, has been in drunk-driving accidents.’
      • ‘And as our bill is tabulated by the fresh-faced high school boy behind the register, we would grab all the Safety-Pops we could and not feel guilty, not a bit.’
      • ‘Compared with those jokes, I think it is not a bit exaggerated to suggest that lawyers, after defending so many people, should really sit down to think about doing something in their own defence.’
      • ‘He just tossed the papers aside, not a bit interested.’
      • ‘The fact that none of these matched the dates of her royal lover, Solomon, King of Israel and Judah from 966 to 926 bc, mattered not a bit.’
  • not a bit of it

    • Not at all.

      ‘Am I being unduly cynical? Not a bit of it’
      • ‘You would think after 20 years he would be jaded, but not a bit of it.’
      • ‘When the Express closed, and then later the ill - fated Scottish Daily News, you'd have thought the bar would close but not a bit of it.’
      • ‘It sounds like a recipe for gross self-indulgence, but not a bit of it: ‘I've actually lost nearly a stone and a half since coming here.’’
      • ‘After the torrential rain on Saturday, we had thought the event might be a bit of a wash-out, but not a bit of it.’
      • ‘You might think, therefore, that he would welcome a move to reduce the taxes paid by those having their first child, but not a bit of it!’
  • to bits

    • 1Into pieces.

      ‘both cars were smashed to bits’
      • ‘By now anything that was going to be ripped into little pieces by the bomb had already vanished to bits smaller than even the best eye could see.’
      • ‘She and her little piece of flotsam were going to be smashed to bits on the rocks!’
      • ‘Standing in front of him, he longed to slowly carve Jaegar to pieces and burn those pieces to bits.’
      • ‘All serious race cars have the prop shaft balanced, otherwise it shakes the car to bits.’
      • ‘It always seems that a bunch of men get together on the bumper cars and take great joy in bashing each other to bits for the entire day!’
      • ‘MATZILATION - Smashing a piece of matzo to bits while trying to butter it.’
      • ‘Yin Yan, a lawyer at Beijing Jingyi Lawyer's Office, said knocking the car to bits was definitely the wrong thing to do.’
      • ‘There's nothing different about our clown acts though, same car that falls to bits when we drive in.’
      • ‘So I stumble down to the garage to see the back rear window of my car has been smashed to bits, and the inside of my car totally ransacked.’
    • 2Very much; to a great degree.

      ‘Vicky was thrilled to bits’
      ‘I just love him to bits’
      • ‘I love it to bits, all of it, especially the wonderfully ingenious and gorgeous to look at early optical devices, and the engravings of such inventions.’
      • ‘Obviously we are thrilled to bits.’
      • ‘I loved it to bits, although a little let down by the end.’
      • ‘I have always been a bit of a daddy's girl, I love him to bits.’
      • ‘She's great, I love her to bits, but wow, she's so smart and you can't just dodge questions from her, she doesn't let up.’
      • ‘I love her to bits and quite simply I could not see myself being with anyone else.’
      • ‘To be honest up until the last 4 years I loved it to bits.’
      • ‘I own perhaps a third of the series (just drawn to a close at the 300th issue) and just love it to bits.’
      • ‘He's not a smart dog, he can't do any tricks, he doesn't come when he's called but he's my Harry Pup and I love him to bits.’
      • ‘He meant everything to me and I loved him to bits.’

Origin

Old English bita ‘bite, mouthful’, of Germanic origin; related to German Bissen, also to bite.

Pronunciation

bit

/bɪt/

Main definitions of bit in English

: bit1bit2bit3bit4

bit2

Pronunciation

bit

/bɪt/

Main definitions of bit in English

: bit1bit2bit3bit4

bit3

noun

  • 1A mouthpiece, typically made of metal, which is attached to a bridle and used to control a horse.

    • ‘The leather was dull and dusty, and the metal of the bits and stirrups of the English saddle seemed to be tarnished.’
    • ‘We'll still put bits in our horses' mouths, but they'll be made from temperature sensitive materials and will mould to the individual shape of the horse's inner mouth.’
    • ‘Iron components of the chariot were found in a good state of preservation, including the two wheel rims and hub - hoops, the yoke fittings, harness and horse bits.’
    • ‘She puts her head right in the hackamore but won't stand still for the bit.’
    • ‘A vet or an equine dental specialist can address any oral problems that may cause the horse to lean or grab onto the bit.’
    • ‘The reason is probably not the bit, but the way in which the horse is schooled.’
    • ‘It will help as he collects up the horse and allows the horse to hold the bit better as it tucks it head and stretches over its poll.’
    • ‘Malloy grabbed her wrist as she reached to place the bit in the horse's mouth.’
    • ‘In the tackroom where the bridles, bits, snaffles, girths and whips were hanging on the wall, Jackson asked me about everything.’
    • ‘He knew she was very upset when she couldn't get her horse to accept its bit.’
    • ‘Spahis rode hardy little barb stallions, which they controlled with severe bits.’
    • ‘For example, a collection of bits for horses, at least seven of them, are presented on a piece of felt that has seen better days.’
    • ‘There were two saddles, an English and a racing, as well as two different bridles, with interchangeable bits.’
    • ‘It seems there are different opinions as to whether the rein attached to the bit should be left on, in addition to the direct one.’
    • ‘You don't need a big bit to get the horse's attention and you don't need a big bit to get the horse stopped.’
    • ‘Her new owners said the only remaining evidence of her old life had been a fear of having a bridle bit placed in her mouth.’
    • ‘There was more speech amongst the Danes, and movement of horses, and jingling of bridle bits.’
    • ‘However, what I am saying, is there are different ways to achieve more harmony and control than by using one of these bits.’
    • ‘Most of the time he'll go in, check for the general health of the mouth, then file down teeth both for comfort and so the bridle bit sits well.’
    • ‘You can also go shopping at the C Quarter Circle Saddlery for saddles, bridles, bits, spurs and much more!’
  • 2A tool or piece for boring or drilling.

    ‘a drill bit’
    • ‘Several attendees shared what they have done at their facilities regarding reprocessing drill bits.’
    • ‘Nowadays, most tool purchases involve replacing the expendable items such as drill bits, sanding belts and specialty taps and anything else that wears out.’
    • ‘He's wearing a belt with screwdrivers, drill bits, spanners, hacksaws and nails lodged in every pocket.’
    • ‘Start the holes off by turning the drill bit where centre of the markings are.’
    • ‘Look for drills described as high-speed drill bits.’
    • ‘Most boring bits, at first glance, may look the same except for size.’
    • ‘If you've ever drilled a hole through a relatively thick piece of steel, you know that drill bits tend to wander quickly.’
    • ‘You drill out small holes in the outer cortex in two lateral skull locations with custom drill bits at the incision site.’
    • ‘It is made from granite roughbacks and discarded drill bits.’
    • ‘It has a church and a bar, a welding shop, and a small ironworks that manufactures bits for oil drilling.’
    • ‘The family-run store in Texas that's been mixing drill bits and Limoges boxes for more than 60 years.’
    • ‘Diamond drilling bits were used in prospecting, and thermal ore processing allowed winter panning in placer mines.’
    • ‘However, this could be minimized if every tunnel is bored with a road header with extremely strong drill bits.’
    • ‘Switch bits, and drill the hole in the door's edge.’
    • ‘An existing underground pipe was ruptured by a drill bit from a digging machine.’
    • ‘During the same month, a Makita drill and drill bits, in their original case were also found and never claimed.’
    • ‘Drilling can be done with many of the same tools you use for drilling wood or metal, including twist drills, brad point drill bits, spade bits or a hole saw with a pilot bit.’
    • ‘The trail down to the foot of the falls was all but vertical, a white-knuckle descent by means of chains and old drill bits hammered into the rock.’
    • ‘And they planned to modify the drill bits to make them less susceptible to jamming from the rocks.’
    • ‘Drill bits are not an easy tool to sharpen correctly.’
    1. 2.1 The cutting or gripping part of a plane, pincers, or other tool.
      • ‘The hole is right above the bit for virtually dust-free routering, and the connector is a friction fit so it can be removed in an instant.’
      • ‘Turn on the router and position the stock, angled so that the back of the piece rests on the table, but the front of the piece is just above the bit at the first mark.’
      • ‘The way to change the cutting depth of the bit varies among different router types, makes, and models.’
      • ‘Align the pilot bit of the hole saw with the center point you marked earlier in the face of the door, and begin drilling.’
      • ‘It is a good idea to also cut out a small opening above the bit for air-flow, and leave sufficient room in your table opening for sawdust to escape the cut.’
      • ‘They were Rris-built devices, requiring two Rris to power the treadle turning the shaft, but the bits and cutting blades were of improved carbon steel.’
      • ‘Start your router with the piece raised above the bit and the lines positioned like this, and then push the stock down onto the bit and then keeping the stock against the fence, push the stock from right to left till the bit pops out the back.’
    2. 2.2 The part of a key that engages with the lock lever.
      • ‘To take the impression the bit of a flat blank key of the correct size was covered with a layer of wax.’
      • ‘It has lever tumblers that require a key with a bit, or projecting part, of proper depth and position.’
      • ‘The next step in the evolution of locks was the invention of the "bit".’
    3. 2.3 The copper head of a soldering iron.
      • ‘The soldering iron bit should be cleaned.’
      • ‘The bit may be heated in many different ways.’
      • ‘The bit then fits over or inside the heating element dependent on the design of the soldering iron.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Put a bit into the mouth of (a horse).

    • ‘What Is The Best Way To Bit A Horse?’
    • ‘However, they can experience behavioral problems when ridden, many coming back to bad experiences with what type of bit was used and how they were initially bitted.’
    • ‘I began long-lining him and bitting him up, teaching him that there was more to life than galloping in a straight line.’
    1. 1.1figurative Restrain.
      ‘my own hysteria was bitted by upbringing and respect’
      • ‘My own hysteria was bitted by upbringing and respect.’
      • ‘If it hadn’t been for this fellow here who disclosed it all, they’d have bitted me and led me along with their tricks till the end of time.’

Phrases

  • above the bit

    • (of a horse) carrying its head too high so that it evades correct contact with the bit.

      • ‘Their horses often wind up above the bit; become pullers; develop a ewe-neck; a stiff, tight back; travel heavy on the forehand or any combination.’
      • ‘Further in front of that point the horse will be above the bit, and the action of the reins will not be able to go through because of stiffness.’
      • ‘The horse went above the bit means an absence of contact with the rider's hands, legs, and seat, also leading to loss of impulsion.’
      • ‘He's above the bit, and your legs are a hair too far forward.’
      • ‘This results in jerky movements, problems with rhythm, being behind or above the bit, general dissatisfaction or resistance.’
      • ‘This is a harder evasion to correct than going above the bit.’
  • behind the bit

    • (of a horse) carrying its head with the chin tucked in so that it evades contact with the bit.

      • ‘It would also be a mistake to let the horse lag behind the bit; the trainer must, therefore, create and maintain the proper tempo and rhythm.’
      • ‘When the horse comes too low and behind the bit, there must be something else going on at the same time.’
      • ‘Such riders should be able to get a colt to yield without gimmicks because there is always danger of getting a horse behind the bit through their use.’
  • get (or take or have) the bit between one's teeth

    • Begin to tackle a problem or task in a determined or independent way.

      • ‘I've got the bit in my teeth with this show and I'm very determined to take it as far as it will go.’
      • ‘But I will warn you I have the bit between my teeth today.’
      • ‘Mencken believed that the human race would accomplish greater things if the halt and lame were left to themselves and the bright and swift took the bit between their teeth.’
      • ‘They were all heroes because they worked very, very hard and have the bit between their teeth right now.’
      • ‘In the end, I don't see that happening because I feel Brazil now have the bit between their teeth.’
      • ‘They seem to have the bit between their teeth regarding a property.’
      • ‘I think there's a real sense right across Government of having the bit between our teeth and wanting to get on with it.’
      • ‘I have the bit between my teeth now, and shall not finish the project until I've been through every nook and cranny of cupboards, drawers and shelves, rooting out stuff I really do not need to keep on paper.’
      • ‘They will have the bit between their teeth again and we will really have to pull something out of the top drawer to qualify for the semi-final.’
      • ‘And one of the big questions is whether he's going to be able to really get the bit in his teeth.’
  • off the bit (or bridle)

    • (of a horse) ridden on a loose rein to allow it to gallop freely.

      • ‘Unfortunately I got trapped behind Royal Rebel for a while, when he was on and off the bridle a bit, but five out I got on the tail of Westerner and followed him.’
      • ‘At home, he'd only work as well as the horse beside him but we'd never take him off the bridle at home either.’
      • ‘Norman knew he would stay and even though he was a bit off the bridle round the turn he just kept on galloping.’
      • ‘Just over two furlongs out he sneaked a glance behind and the sight of everything else off the bridle was all he needed.’
      • ‘But, not for the first time, he didn't find a lot off the bridle and was a length adrift at the line.’
      • ‘Nicky Richard's horse looked like winning last time over this course and distance, but did not find as much as expected off the bridle.’
      • ‘He was making a bit of a run coming to the turn, but when Frankie Dettori shifted out, we ended up copping a bit of a bump, just when I was letting Media Puzzle off the bit, and that was the end of us.’
      • ‘He was the first horse off the bridle, but he kept coming on ground which certainly wasn't ideal for him.’
      • ‘‘He came off the bit,’ Johnson said of Perfect Drift's momentary pause.’
      • ‘Most of the runners are off the bridle while Shergar is cantering.’
  • on the bit (or bridle)

    • (of a horse) ridden with a light but firm contact on the mouth.

      • ‘The third horse home looked to be going like the winner three furlongs out as he swept into the lead on the bit but he could not match the winner's stamina over the final quarter of the two-mile trip.’
      • ‘‘He was never on the bridle and wasn't happy about the whole thing,’ trainer Pat Kelly said of Evening Attire.’
      • ‘He was on the bridle with me the whole way and he dug in gamely.’
      • ‘But no sooner had he given his supporters real hope than Adamant Approach came cantering in behind on the bridle.’
      • ‘Barry Geraghty, on Kicking King, had been cruising in behind the lead from the off, and he was still on the bridle as he cantered clear going to the home turn.’
      • ‘To see a Gold Cup winner being schooled with a long leg and going on the bit was a revelation.’
      • ‘It takes a lot of practice, but eventually you'll be able to advance to a faster trot and even a canter and still keep your horse on the bit without getting into a pulling match.’
      • ‘Not since Arkle won his second Gold Cup have I seen a horse coming down the hill still on the bridle like that.’
      • ‘How many horses can come to the last still on the bridle in the Champion Hurdle?’
      • ‘‘My horse left the gate and was on the bit,’ Berry said.’

Origin

Old English bite ‘biting, a bite’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch beet and German Biss, also to bite.

Pronunciation

bit

/bɪt/

Main definitions of bit in English

: bit1bit2bit3bit4

bit4

noun

Computing
  • A unit of information expressed as either a 0 or 1 in binary notation.

    Compare with byte
    • ‘How do we turn these unique numbers - known as code points in the Unicode universe - into bits and bytes?’
    • ‘The interesting thing is to watch them write a subroutine that counts all the bits in a byte, then ask them to make it much, much faster.’
    • ‘I now know there are eight bits in a byte, and 1024 megabytes in a gigabyte.’
    • ‘For example, is it important to discuss computer bits, bytes, disk drives and the like in an agricultural mechanics textbook?’
    • ‘It's complex because you're talking about bits and bytes of software, radio frequencies, protocols and a litany of technical items.’

Origin

1940s: blend of binary and digit.

Pronunciation

bit

/bɪt/