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.

    • ‘There were three blankets to cover us, all covered with fleas, nits and insects.’
    • ‘The use of chemical preparations to kill the nits and lice is controversial.’
    • ‘Lice lay nits on hair shafts close to the skin's surface, where the temperature is perfect for keeping warm until they hatch.’
    • ‘Enzymatic shampoos that claim to dissolve the glue that attaches nits to hair are also available.’
    • ‘For an effective treatment for nits and hair lice, soak at least 20 seeds for an hour in warm water.’
    • ‘You can tell if your child has lice by checking his hair for nits.’
    • ‘Parents generally discover head lice by seeing the nits in a child's hair, or when children complain of itching.’
    • ‘Presumably mineral oil is acting like petroleum jelly to smother the live lice and loosen nits.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The white lice nits were found on 76% of birds and are easily seen.’
    • ‘Apply once a day for athlete's foot; for nits, comb through hair and leave overnight, then reapply in 10 days.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I've been pulling nits from her hair 2-3 times a day.’
    • ‘Infested people usually have no more than 10 to 12 live head lice at a time but can harbor hundreds of eggs and nits.’
    • ‘There are products to loosen the ‘cement’ attaching nits to hair shafts.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Vacuuming is recommended to pick up fallen hairs with nits attached from upholstered furniture, carpets and beds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Not to pick nits, but the phrase, ‘Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness’, is from the New Testament.’
      • ‘Normally, I wouldn't even mention it but as a reviewer I have to pick nits and be as anal retentive as possible.’
      • ‘I intend to pick nits and I'll not be ashamed of anal retentive or obsessive behaviour!’
      • ‘And while I'm picking nits, I must add my opinion of Furst's female characters.’
      • ‘Perhaps a few more trips to the free throw line are in order, but that seems to be picking nits.’
      • ‘It's hard to pick nits when a movie throbs with as much energy as this one does.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As long as we're picking nits, let's say that she didn't kill herself.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some Dublin critics have been predictably quick to 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.

Origin

Late 19th century: probably from nix.

Pronunciation:

nit

/nɪt/