Main definitions of nit in English

: nit1nit2

nit1

noun

informal
  • 1The egg or young form of a louse or other parasitic insect, especially the egg of a human head louse attached to a hair.

    • ‘Apply once a day for athlete's foot; for nits, comb through hair and leave overnight, then reapply in 10 days.’
    • ‘The white lice nits were found on 76% of birds and are easily seen.’
    • ‘Lice lay nits on hair shafts close to the skin's surface, where the temperature is perfect for keeping warm until they hatch.’
    • ‘Vinegar or vinegar-based products that are applied to the hair for three minutes before combing help loosen the nits attached to the hair shaft.’
    • ‘Enzymatic shampoos that claim to dissolve the glue that attaches nits to hair are also available.’
    • ‘In the first trial, parents were instructed to remove nits (lice eggs) with a nit-removal comb during step two, and in the second trial parents skipped this step.’
    • ‘There were three blankets to cover us, all covered with fleas, nits and insects.’
    • ‘Combing with a special nit comb can be a very effective, if time-consuming, way to combat nits and head lice - when used in conjunction with a natural or pharmaceutical remedy.’
    • ‘I've been pulling nits from her hair 2-3 times a day.’
    • ‘Every month the lice are still there, with their sticky white nits glued to Joelle's hair like rice burned to the side of a saucepan.’
    • ‘Presumably mineral oil is acting like petroleum jelly to smother the live lice and loosen nits.’
    • ‘The use of chemical preparations to kill the nits and lice is controversial.’
    • ‘Infested people usually have no more than 10 to 12 live head lice at a time but can harbor hundreds of eggs and nits.’
    • ‘Parents generally discover head lice by seeing the nits in a child's hair, or when children complain of itching.’
    • ‘For an effective treatment for nits and hair lice, soak at least 20 seeds for an hour in warm water.’
    • ‘If you do not want to use these products, you have to pick the lice and nits out of the hair by hand or use a special comb to remove them.’
    • ‘Vacuuming is recommended to pick up fallen hairs with nits attached from upholstered furniture, carpets and beds.’
    • ‘You can tell if your child has lice by checking his hair for nits.’
    • ‘Patients were considered cured if they experienced no increased scratching and itching, and there were no visible lice or nits after a wet combing test.’
    • ‘There are products to loosen the ‘cement’ attaching nits to hair shafts.’
  • 2British A foolish person.

    ‘you stupid nit!’
    idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • pick nits

    • Look for and criticize trivial faults; nit-pick.

      ‘the press will stop picking nits once the next president is in office’
      • ‘As long as we're picking nits, let's say that she didn't kill herself.’
      • ‘I intend to pick nits and I'll not be ashamed of anal retentive or obsessive behaviour!’
      • ‘Although I've been picking nits with the handling of Carell's character Andy, the fact still remains that the actor is a naturally funny guy, and even through the problems, still finds comedic ways to shine.’
      • ‘Normally, I wouldn't even mention it but as a reviewer I have to pick nits and be as anal retentive as possible.’
      • ‘Perhaps a few more trips to the free throw line are in order, but that seems to be picking nits.’
      • ‘Not to pick nits, but the phrase, ‘Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness’, is from the New Testament.’
      • ‘And while I'm picking nits, I must add my opinion of Furst's female characters.’
      • ‘It's hard to pick nits when a movie throbs with as much energy as this one does.’
      • ‘Some Dublin critics have been predictably quick to pick nits.’
      • ‘But these ideas would require a boldness and ingenuity that cannot come from candidates shackled to the very interests that profit from today's regressive tax policies, leaving the candidates to think small and pick nits.’

Origin

Old English hnitu, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch neet and German Nisse.

Pronunciation

nit

/nɪt/

Main definitions of nit in English

: nit1nit2

nit2

exclamation

Australian
informal
  • Used as a warning that someone is approaching.

Phrases

  • keep nit

    • informal Keep watch or act as a guard.

      • ‘I'll keep nit for you if you want.’
      • ‘Well, I started it, and I say that we keep nit here, and not turn it into a separate board.’
      • ‘Brandy breaks the equipment down to see Joe again and Phyllis keeps nit.’
      • ‘Lesbians sat in the front window keeping nit for anyone with a police or armed forces haircut or demeanor and with a yell from one of them, the place would clear out a back entrance in a flash.’
      • ‘If you keep nit while a burglary is conducted, you're guilty of the burglary even though you haven't even entered the property.’
      • ‘Their caution, if slight, remained, each kept nit by rote, all had their something to contribute though.’
      • ‘He had kept nit, even though he had entered with it strapped to his back.’

Origin

Late 19th century: probably from nix.

Pronunciation

nit

/nɪt/