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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Other than that, I've managed to put the finishing touches on some bits of music I've been working on.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With a few bits of cardboard, a light and a bit of plastic, Pratt's little model echoes both the reality and the dream.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Certainly there are bits of the concert on the dvd which I didn't remember, but you would expect a bit of that.’
    • ‘So for history's sake, check out these closeted bits of celluloid for a bit of perspective on how far we've come.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are also files and other bits of correspondence littering every available surface and the whole area is generally a bit of a mess.’
    • ‘Also, there are some really sad bits and some manipulative bits of very dubious taste.’
    • ‘It was piecing together different bits of conversations.’
    • ‘One of the outfits means I will be baring bits of skin that don't usually see the light of day.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In more prepared circumstances I might have added some bite sized bits of chicken.’
    • ‘Otherwise, the piece had some good bits of news.’
    • ‘The force of its landing literally exploded it into little pieces, and tiny bits of bark covered my clothes.’
    • ‘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.’
    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?’
      • ‘Nanna was there so we all hung out for a bit and then she helped me dye my hair black for the party.’
      • ‘As this is something of a landmark survey may we be excused for pushing the boat out 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.’
      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
      momentarily
      in a jiffy, in two shakes, in two shakes of a lamb's tail
      in a tick, in two ticks, in a mo
      in a snap
      anon
      ere long
      moment, minute, second, little while, short time
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2a bit A fairly large amount:
      ‘working in a foreign country took quite a bit of getting used to’
      • ‘It was very unusual to be from a divorced family then and yes, there was a bit of stigma.’
      • ‘We're getting some fair bit of sales through and we haven't advertised.’
      • ‘The down side was that, well, Mr. B. and I fought a fair bit in those first months.’
      • ‘Most jobs that will earn you a good amount of money involve a fair bit of training.’
      • ‘Online betting is big business and it is now a very simple job to splash a bit of cash on a flutter.’
      • ‘Like all cliches, there was a good bit of truth attached to this comical declaration.’
      • ‘I did a bit of acting in Liverpool then moved down here to try and make it as an actress.’
      • ‘It would get them out of the house and earn them a bit of extra cash at the same time.’
      • ‘Ian Moore has been doing well and the lads have all been telling him to calm down a bit.’
      • ‘A bit of research suggests my initial guess was correct, and it's some Indian Reservation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I started to cry a bit but there were other people in the room so I had to get a hold of myself.’
      • ‘Yes, I mean, even though, I mean, the media has overblown some of the problems a fair bit.’
      • ‘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 remember too that he did a bit of dealing in ponies and usually had one or two in the field.’
      • ‘They are teenage lads and they need a bit of ego to get up on stage but they take it in their stride.’
      • ‘We are entitled to expect a fair bit of intersubjectivity in judged verdicts.’
      • ‘So it's, you know, he probably had to scrape a bit to get that amount up.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘Charles and crew follow him for eight months as he works one five-minute bit into a full hour of worthy material.’
    • ‘John's issue page seemed a bit beefier than George's bit about his agenda.’
    • ‘There's a stunning, uncredited sax solo and a quirky contrapuntal bit for the trombones.’
    • ‘I'm not sure about the getting married bit, but the idea of them going off somewhere holds a certain appeal.’
    • ‘Each main dancer got to do a little solo bit in the middle of the semi-circle.’
    • ‘The only really entertaining bit was the thing with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.’
  • 3informal A girl or young woman:

    ‘he went and married some young bit half his age’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’
  • 4British bitsinformal A person's genitals:

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

    • ‘Abbey skipped up to the house, a silver bit and four coppers jingling in her apron pocket.’
    • ‘Jim paid the four bits and ate in the dining room.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They are a good side but we were a bit better and hopefully this result shows we are now on our way.’
      • ‘My little boy is not speaking to me on the phone at the moment, which is a bit upsetting.’
      • ‘Petrol usage would be a bit higher but not by so much that it equals the rent we would have paid.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This goes some way to explaining why my cupboard is a bit bare when it comes to clothes.’
      • ‘Using it as a saw works a bit better, but it appears the faults in the blade help here.’
      • ‘The weather at the Oval is looking a bit overcast but may hold long enough for us to do the biz.’
      • ‘I must admit to finding it a bit slow to begin with and rather drawn out in some places.’
      rather, a little, fairly, slightly, somewhat, relatively, quite, to some degree, to some extent, comparatively, moderately
      pretty, sort of, kind of, kinda, a tad, ish
      View synonyms
  • bit by bit

    • Gradually:

      ‘bit by bit the truth started to emerge’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But if there are more films like Promises, perhaps, bit by bit, awareness will grow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This got wilder and wilder until, bit by bit, the entire drum set was collapsing onto the floor under the fury of this onslaught.’
      • ‘When we are replenished in our spirit, we go back into the liberal culture, changing it bit by bit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My family moved house while I was in London, and I've been going through the boxes from the old house bit by bit.’
      • ‘The lesson is, undo communism slowly, bit by bit, and don't expect democracy overnight.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Left with the core essence of his basically decent character, he then sets about rebuilding his life, bit by bit.’
      gradually, little by little, in stages, step by step, slowly, one step at a time
      piecemeal
      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’
      • ‘It was a bit of an accident going there in the first place.’
      • ‘I'd forgotten to mention but I had a bit of an accident with Dad's car whilst he was away.’
      • ‘I was in severe leg trouble, so the trip to Taunton was a bit of an ordeal.’
      • ‘That he is here at all, in this lovely parkland rising to the church in the trees, is a bit of an accident.’
      • ‘I mean, isn't that a bit of an extreme way to describe the detention centres?’
      • ‘Because we knew that it was a bit of a fiefdom at that point in time.’
      • ‘Although this procedure is not extremely difficult, it does require a bit of an experienced hand.’
      • ‘He is simply a bit of an idiot, and to an extent a victim of his times.’
      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1Used to denote a young person or one of slight build:
        ‘you're just a bit of a girl yourself’
        • ‘When I was nearly four years old I was just a mere bit of a girl.’
        • ‘I was just a bit of a lass back then.’
        • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘He's a bit of all right,’ sighed the girl in the green belly top.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You're a bit of all right, if you don't mind me saying that.’
      • ‘‘She's a bit of all right,’ Barry remarked over his brother's shoulder.’
      • ‘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.’
  • bit of fluff (or skirt or stuff)

    • informal A woman regarded in sexual terms.

      • ‘We are his fallback, his bit of stuff until something better comes along.’
      • ‘I loved the way she turned out to be a ruthless undercover agent and not a bit of fluff after all.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was afraid of committing to one person, I'm a flighty, teasing bit of fluff.’
      • ‘I could've gone there with this girl called Pearl who was a great bit of stuff.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I saw you and your bit of stuff at a bar last night.’
      • ‘Fella will become a symbol, showing that even an average schlub can land a sizzling bit of skirt.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘They wouldn't want a ruler with a bit of stuff on the side.’
  • bit of rough

    • informal A male sexual partner whose toughness or lack of sophistication is a source of attraction:

      ‘he could play the part of the noble savage or the bit of rough’
      • ‘If anyone ever needs proof that he is more than a meat-fisted warrior and rather attractive bit of rough, they should watch this film.’
      • ‘So, whilst many gay men like a bit of rough there are obviously many who like a bit of posh.’
      • ‘‘They've cottoned on to me as a bit of northern erotica,’ he has jokingly said of the women that turn up to his readings, ‘a bit of rough.’’
      • ‘But Bourne creates a parallel story in which the hero's neglected fiancée, Glenda, is picked up by a check-shirted, trumpet-playing bit of rough.’
      • ‘So what, she's his little bit of rough on the side?’
      • ‘Beers not cocktails are the order of the day but you might pick up a nice bit of rough on the way out.’
      • ‘The heroine of Martinu's Mirandolina seduces a self-confessed misogynist, only to reconfirm his prejudices when she dumps him for a bit of rough.’
      • ‘And she switches expertly from the upper crust wife yearning for a bit of rough to the cold company strategist.’
      • ‘This reading implies that the tragedy could have been averted if only Beatrice had recognised her longing for a bit of rough, and had not pretended to fancy the aristocratic squares a woman of her class was expected to marry.’
      • ‘I always knew I'm just a bit of rough while you rebound from the divorce.’
  • bit on the side

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

      • ‘What easier way to send a grudging acknowledgement of your lover/spouse / bit on the side than down the computer wire?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you're going to be damned anyway, even for being faithful, you might as well have a bit on the side.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It turns out, he is not simply fond of a bit on the side (another mistress emerged this week).’
      • ‘And I don't think people will want her to be his bit on the side - his mistress, either.’
      • ‘It's his girlfriend as in the bit on the side he hopes his wife doesn't know about.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You can bring your bit on the side, and I'll bring one of mine!’
      • ‘I know you're in love with Michael, so I'm not asking to be your boyfriend or even your bit on the side.’
    • 2informal Money earned outside one's normal job:

      ‘I'd like to make a bit on the side’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • bits and pieces (or britishbobs)

    • 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was a large collection of tools and other bits and bobs to look at, including the splendid generators.’
      • ‘However there are other equally interesting bits and pieces on display.’
      • ‘So far I have written 4 complete songs, with bits and bobs for another couple more; this is since last Sunday.’
      • ‘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.’
      odds and ends, oddments, stuff, paraphernalia, things, miscellanea, bric-a-brac, sundries, knick-knacks, souvenirs, keepsakes, mementoes, lumber, flotsam and jetsam
      junk
      odds and sods, gubbins, clobber
      crap, shit
      rummage, truck
      knick-knackery
      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’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘And I'll be doing my bit to contribute to the development of its ideology.’
      • ‘In that time the couple has served on a number of committees in an effort to do their bit for the Geraldton.’
      • ‘The Goddard Arms Hotel in Old Town was packed on Friday night with people all eager to do their bit for the relief effort.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The majority of them are ordinary people, keen to do their bit for charity.’
      • ‘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.’
      assist, help, lend a hand, be of service, give one's support, give one's backing, contribute, chip in, throw in one's lot
      participate, take part, join in, get involved
      pitch in, play ball, tag along, get in on the act
      muck in, get stuck in
      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’
      • ‘But it left me in bits, and I need someone to blame.’
      • ‘I thought it was fantastic and spent much of the last half hour in bits crying.’
      • ‘She initially refused to give her details but later told police nothing happened between them and said: ‘My head is in bits.’’
      • ‘I'll leave it there for now, because I'm in bits tonight, on and off, off and on.’
      • ‘A neighbour who did not want to be identified said: ‘Everybody has been left in bits and there was nothing anyone could do.’’
      • ‘I'm still in bits and I'm generally out of the firing line.’
      • ‘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 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!’
      • ‘By the end, I was in bits.’
      • ‘I won by seven there, but the week before I was in bits, and the week after I was in bits.’
  • not a bit

    • Not at all:

      ‘I'm not a bit tired’
      • ‘I'm not a bit surprised that other people are interested in Steve, not a bit.’
      • ‘But at the same time it didn't surprise me, not a bit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ignorant of this process, they worried not a bit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But little Risheek, a class IV student, is not a bit unnerved.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yet this time, those falls didn't hurt me, not a bit.’
      • ‘He just tossed the papers aside, not a bit interested.’
  • not a bit of it

    • Not at all:

      ‘Am I being unduly cynical? 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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You would think after 20 years he would be jaded, but not a bit of it.’
  • to bits

    • 1Into pieces:

      ‘both cars were smashed to bits’
      • ‘All serious race cars have the prop shaft balanced, otherwise it shakes the car to bits.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘MATZILATION - Smashing a piece of matzo to bits while trying to butter it.’
      • ‘She and her little piece of flotsam were going to be smashed to bits on the rocks!’
      • ‘There's nothing different about our clown acts though, same car that falls to bits when we drive in.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yin Yan, a lawyer at Beijing Jingyi Lawyer's Office, said knocking the car to bits was definitely the wrong thing to do.’
      • ‘Standing in front of him, he longed to slowly carve Jaegar to pieces and burn those pieces to bits.’
    • 2Very much; to a great degree:

      ‘Vicky was thrilled to bits’
      ‘I just love him to bits’
      • ‘I loved it to bits, although a little let down by the end.’
      • ‘I love her to bits and quite simply I could not see myself being with anyone else.’
      • ‘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 it to bits, all of it, especially the wonderfully ingenious and gorgeous to look at early optical devices, and the engravings of such inventions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have always been a bit of a daddy's girl, I love him to bits.’
      • ‘To be honest up until the last 4 years I loved it to bits.’
      • ‘Obviously we are thrilled 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.’

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.

    • ‘There was more speech amongst the Danes, and movement of horses, and jingling of bridle bits.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There were two saddles, an English and a racing, as well as two different bridles, with interchangeable bits.’
    • ‘You can also go shopping at the C Quarter Circle Saddlery for saddles, bridles, bits, spurs and much more!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He knew she was very upset when she couldn't get her horse to accept its bit.’
    • ‘Malloy grabbed her wrist as she reached to place the bit in the horse's mouth.’
    • ‘She puts her head right in the hackamore but won't stand still for the bit.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The leather was dull and dusty, and the metal of the bits and stirrups of the English saddle seemed to be tarnished.’
    • ‘In the tackroom where the bridles, bits, snaffles, girths and whips were hanging on the wall, Jackson asked me about everything.’
    • ‘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 seems there are different opinions as to whether the rein attached to the bit should be left on, in addition to the direct one.’
    • ‘However, what I am saying, is there are different ways to achieve more harmony and control than by using one of these bits.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Spahis rode hardy little barb stallions, which they controlled with severe bits.’
  • 2A tool or piece for boring or drilling:

    ‘a drill 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.’
    • ‘If you've ever drilled a hole through a relatively thick piece of steel, you know that drill bits tend to wander quickly.’
    • ‘The family-run store in Texas that's been mixing drill bits and Limoges boxes for more than 60 years.’
    • ‘And they planned to modify the drill bits to make them less susceptible to jamming from the rocks.’
    • ‘He's wearing a belt with screwdrivers, drill bits, spanners, hacksaws and nails lodged in every pocket.’
    • ‘Most boring bits, at first glance, may look the same except for size.’
    • ‘Start the holes off by turning the drill bit where centre of the markings are.’
    • ‘You drill out small holes in the outer cortex in two lateral skull locations with custom drill bits at the incision site.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Look for drills described as high-speed drill bits.’
    • ‘However, this could be minimized if every tunnel is bored with a road header with extremely strong drill bits.’
    • ‘It has a church and a bar, a welding shop, and a small ironworks that manufactures bits for oil drilling.’
    • ‘Diamond drilling bits were used in prospecting, and thermal ore processing allowed winter panning in placer mines.’
    • ‘During the same month, a Makita drill and drill bits, in their original case were also found and never claimed.’
    • ‘An existing underground pipe was ruptured by a drill bit from a digging machine.’
    • ‘Nowadays, most tool purchases involve replacing the expendable items such as drill bits, sanding belts and specialty taps and anything else that wears out.’
    • ‘Drill bits are not an easy tool to sharpen correctly.’
    • ‘It is made from granite roughbacks and discarded drill bits.’
    • ‘Switch bits, and drill the hole in the door's edge.’
    • ‘Several attendees shared what they have done at their facilities regarding reprocessing drill bits.’
    1. 2.1 The cutting or gripping part of a plane, pincers, or other tool.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Align the pilot bit of the hole saw with the center point you marked earlier in the face of the door, and begin drilling.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The way to change the cutting depth of the bit varies among different router types, makes, and models.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2 The part of a key that engages with the lock lever.
      • ‘The next step in the evolution of locks was the invention of the "bit".’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 2.3 The copper head of a soldering iron.
      • ‘The bit may be heated in many different ways.’
      • ‘The soldering iron bit should be cleaned.’
      • ‘The bit then fits over or inside the heating element dependent on the design of the soldering iron.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Put a bit into the mouth of (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.’
    • ‘What Is The Best Way To Bit A Horse?’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My own hysteria was bitted by upbringing and respect.’

Phrases

  • above the bit

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

      • ‘This results in jerky movements, problems with rhythm, being behind or above the bit, general dissatisfaction or resistance.’
      • ‘He's above the bit, and your legs are a hair too far forward.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is a harder evasion to correct than going above the bit.’
      • ‘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.’
  • behind the bit

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • get (or take or have) the bit between (or north americanin) one's teeth

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

      • ‘They were all heroes because they worked very, very hard and have the bit between their teeth right now.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And one of the big questions is whether he's going to be able to really get the bit in his teeth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I think there's a real sense right across Government of having the bit between our teeth and wanting to get on with it.’
      • ‘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've got the bit in my teeth with this show and I'm very determined to take it as far as it will go.’
  • off the bit (or bridle)

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

      • ‘But, not for the first time, he didn't find a lot off the bridle and was a length adrift at the line.’
      • ‘Just over two furlongs out he sneaked a glance behind and the sight of everything else off the bridle was all he needed.’
      • ‘Norman knew he would stay and even though he was a bit off the bridle round the turn he just kept on galloping.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of the runners are off the bridle while Shergar is cantering.’
      • ‘He was the first horse off the bridle, but he kept coming on ground which certainly wasn't ideal for him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘He came off the bit,’ Johnson said of Perfect Drift's momentary pause.’
  • on the bit (or bridle)

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

      • ‘‘He was never on the bridle and wasn't happy about the whole thing,’ trainer Pat Kelly said of Evening Attire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But no sooner had he given his supporters real hope than Adamant Approach came cantering in behind on the bridle.’
      • ‘How many horses can come to the last still on the bridle in the Champion Hurdle?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was on the bridle with me the whole way and he dug in gamely.’
      • ‘Not since Arkle won his second Gold Cup have I seen a horse coming down the hill still on the bridle like that.’
      • ‘‘My horse left the gate and was on the bit,’ Berry said.’
      • ‘To see a Gold Cup winner being schooled with a long leg and going on the bit was a revelation.’

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?’
    • ‘For example, is it important to discuss computer bits, bytes, disk drives and the like in an agricultural mechanics textbook?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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/