Main definitions of pit in English

: pit1pit2

pit1

nounPlural pits

  • 1A large hole in the ground.

    • ‘The excavations have exposed two Norman rubbish pits containing twelfth-century ceramics and animal bones.’
    • ‘On Michael's instructions, Barry had dug a pit two feet deep and two feet square.’
    • ‘All bodies should be buried in deep pits outside of the village and their clothes should also be burnt.’
    • ‘He accidentally fell into a pit and suffered multiple fractures in his spinal cord.’
    • ‘The burial pits contain approx. 6,000 life size figures.’
    • ‘Edwards is attacked and thrown into some sort of pit.’
    • ‘The other child fell into an open slurry pit.’
    • ‘The huge pit, 30 metres deep and the size of ten football pitches, will be crammed full of household and business waste and will take just two years to fill up.’
    • ‘Others excavated rifle pits where the ground was soft enough for digging.’
    • ‘He promptly drove into a huge, open manure pit.’
    • ‘Squeezing through the hole we entered an even larger cave filled with burial pits.’
    • ‘First he put a bunch of stones in a big fire, then he put the stones in a pit dug in the ground, put stones over the top, and covered it with moss, sticks and sand.’
    • ‘A pit is dug in the ground and filled with rocks, and meat and vegetables are placed into it.’
    • ‘I do not see any risk of these pits becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes.’
    • ‘Freed, he swung his legs up and over the pit's edge, breaking the ankle of the would-be killer.’
    • ‘He gulped as he crawled down the side of the deep pit.’
    • ‘Two black bear skulls were recovered from deep roasting/refuse pits located only about 20 m apart.’
    • ‘Below, the stream tumbles noisily into a large pit broken by an enormous spike of rock.’
    • ‘Imagine two roads: one smooth, well-paved, well-maintained, the other lumpy and full of cracks and pits.’
    • ‘The pit is very deep and is always filled to the brim with leaves.’
    hole, ditch, trench, trough, hollow, shaft, mineshaft, excavation, cavity, pothole, rut
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A large deep hole from which stones or minerals are quarried.
      ‘a gravel pit’
      • ‘The trailer park is set around some flooded gravel pits.’
      • ‘For the next six months while the pit was being mined, Green Hill produced about 180 specimens of wire gold on crystallized quartz.’
      • ‘Each hollow is the partly infilled remains of an extraction pit or mine shaft cut through the chalk to reach seams of flint below.’
      • ‘With hand tools we worked into the banks of the broad, shallow, open pits that exploited the deposit.’
      • ‘After the arrival of Westerners, the tar from these pits was mined and used for roofing.’
      • ‘Most of my fishing with this float is on large gravel pits that tend to be rather deep, demanding the use of a sliding float.’
      • ‘New gravel pits have been excavated along the Hudson Bay coast to supply material for road and runway construction.’
      • ‘When the season for quarrying began, the pits sprang to life and the pace continued rapidly until the first deep frost at which time quarrying ceased.’
      • ‘The quarry pits aroused the curiosity of the first European-American settlers on the ridge at the beginning of the nineteenth century.’
      • ‘I also intended fishing another small gravel pit, a pit hardly fished but from which I'd heard rumours of tench to over 8 pounds.’
      • ‘The lake, irregularly shaped and nearly ninety feet deep in some spots, was formerly a gravel pit.’
      • ‘A wetlands conservation project in old quarries and gravel pits in North Yorkshire has won a national award.’
      • ‘Grown on a disused china clay pit, the project has helped regenerate the area.’
      • ‘As quarrying expanded, five pits were eventually opened.’
      • ‘The gravel pit was dug in the river's flood plain.’
      • ‘We do have 40 acres of land containing overgrown colliery shale, fly tipping and flooded clay pits.’
      • ‘Stone from this pit was a deep, rich chocolate brown and was certainly the most popular stone with both the contractor and the public.’
    2. 1.2 A coal mine.
      as modifier ‘the recent protests over planned pit closures’
      • ‘The lack of regulation and enforcement of safety standards led to thousands of deaths in coal pits.’
      • ‘Before the establishment of regular roads and a turnpike system the transportation of coal from the pit was the main impediment to expansion.’
      • ‘The first of Selby's three deep pits, Wistow, is due to close by Christmas, followed by the other two, Stillingfleet and Riccall, next year.’
      • ‘Anyone who has ever been down a pit returns to the surface with deep respect for those who make a career of mining.’
      • ‘By this time next year there will only be seven deep coal mining pits left in this country.’
      • ‘We also had a mining industry until the pit closures.’
      • ‘Their lives are governed by steam whistles that summon them to the pits.’
      • ‘A grim future awaits the area if the pits are allowed to go under.’
      • ‘In 1759 he was put in charge of the duke of Bridgwater's canal between his coal pits at Worsley and Manchester.’
      • ‘In the last 18 months alone, it is understood the pit has lost an average of £1m each month.’
      • ‘Just nine deep pits survive in operation today.’
      • ‘Seven pits are scheduled for closure in the region, and 35,000 jobs will be lost.’
      • ‘We surveyed 16 large collieries, each with many pits and a working force of at least 100 miners.’
      • ‘We launched a campaign to persuade the Government and UK Coal to keep the pits open, but it seems to have failed.’
      • ‘Slag heaps from dozens of coal pits dot the countryside.’
      • ‘In the field on top of the brow was a ventilation shaft which descended to the depths of the coal pit below.’
      • ‘A decade ago, 15,000 miners worked in the coal pits; today there are less than 4,000.’
      • ‘The pit closures that followed the strike saw communities dispossessed of their living.’
      • ‘Union leaders claim there are at least 90m tonnes of unworked coal still in the pit that could take the best part of 20 years to mine.’
      • ‘Theirs is an uncomplicated life of going down the pit, entertaining at working men's clubs, and hard drinking.’
      coal mine, colliery, quarry, workings, diggings
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A sunken area in a workshop floor allowing access to a car's underside.
      • ‘Some autos are held upright in pits five feet deep, trunk end down.’
      • ‘One of the staff comes out into the carpark, without putting the car over the pit.’
      • ‘The double garage is fitted with an inspection pit for car servicing.’
      • ‘When I had it over the pit the exhaust seemed to have been cobbled together from a few different bits.’
      • ‘The mechanic's pit in the garage had been converted into a bomb shelter.’
      • ‘He told how he had spent many years on the workshop floor, often in the pit, as this was the time before rafts and lifts.’
    4. 1.4 A low or wretched psychological state.
      ‘a black pit of depression’
      • ‘This throws Carrey's character, Joel, into a pit of despair.’
      • ‘I have to be careful not to throw the self-destruct switch when I get in a mood like this, wallowing in a pit of self-pity.’
      • ‘The bright sun today has made a great deal of difference to my mood though - if today had been like yesterday, I think I would have finally sunk into a pit of despondency.’
      • ‘It seems time to finally try and come out of the dark pit of sorrow I have dug for myself.’
      • ‘I was in a pit of despair.’
      • ‘She has not seen her husband for months and knows if he comes back she will lose her benefits and fall back into the pit of poverty and hopelessness.’
      • ‘It takes me a little bit of time, but soon I am slipping back into the pit of grief, and drinking in the sorrow of the world.’
      • ‘With each word I sunk deeper and deeper into the pit of despair.’
      • ‘Let her know that she doesn't have to fight her way out of the black pit of sadness by herself.’
      • ‘Without him, the slow dive into the pit of despair would be relentless.’
      • ‘You end up wallowing in a pit of your own self pity.’
      • ‘All middle-aged people suffer from slowed-up powers of cognitive ability, but that does not mean that we are all going to descend into the pit of Alzheimer's.’
      • ‘Lee had pulled Ella out of the pit of depression she had been in so long.’
      • ‘I don't know how to tell you how deep the pit is that I go into when I hear that I have failed.’
      • ‘My heart stopped beating and my stomach fell into a bottomless pit of despair.’
      • ‘Get out of the pit of negativism, I want you to be real.’
      • ‘The harder I worked to dig myself out of the pit of self-pity, the more I got involved in activities that took me outside of myself.’
      • ‘Graduate school is a bottomless pit of paranoia and defensiveness.’
      • ‘He would have slowly made his way back into his dark pit of depression and left everybody behind.’
      • ‘What they really seek to know is, how do they find someone who can actually exert some traction to help pull them out of the pit of depression.’
    5. 1.5the pitliterary Hell.
      • ‘God only knows how many lost souls they've saved from the fiery pit of damnation.’
      • ‘This had been God's great mistake, he reflected, banishing him to the deepest pits of the world below: he had given him his own world to play with.’
      • ‘If we do it with both eyes on ourselves, the devil will cast us into the deepest of pits.’
  • 2A hollow or indentation in a surface.

    • ‘The external surface texture is similar to that of the carapace, and consists of subtle low, rounded bosses with scattered small pits and thin grooves.’
    • ‘The diminutive monkey in front of me puts a hard palm nut, the size of its fist, into one of the many small pits on the rock surface.’
    • ‘The outer surface has pits, grooves, and perforations that represent traces of vascular structures.’
    • ‘The rock skipped off the hood and made a pit in the windshield, but no one came yelling out of his room.’
    • ‘In these cases, the dorsal surface of the bone will often be roughened and show pits and channels.’
    • ‘Stones whose surfaces have shallow pits about the size of a quarter are often unearthed at archaeological sites, but nobody is sure what their function was.’
    • ‘Dental microwear analysis investigates the microscopic scratches and pits that form on a tooth's surface as a result of its use.’
    • ‘Another technique for estimating age was applied to the woman: the pits on the inner surface of her skull were counted and she was estimated to be around 50 years old when she died.’
    • ‘Some contain rounded surface pits, and show other irregularities, and grains intermediate between the two groups are present.’
    • ‘Even if the child brushes regularly and carefully, it can be impossible to clean out the grooves and pits on certain teeth.’
    • ‘Tiny pits occur in the nails, sometimes causing the nail to separate from the nail bed.’
    • ‘What had once been a set of four horrible, deep pits in her hand - two on her palm and two on the back - had turned into a scabrous mass of clotted blood.’
    • ‘Blood gushed from a deep pit in his shoulder and several jagged cuts were gouged in his torso, soaking his ceremonial robe to his skin.’
    • ‘Some people also have pits in their nails or arthritis which may be part of the disease.’
    • ‘The exoskeleton of the cranidium shows minute pits in the central area, pits which are not visible in either of Clark's specimens.’
    • ‘On the ventral surface of the skull, there is a deep pit on each side of the rear of the palate.’
    • ‘The pits, and other marks on the gun, give it the look of a casting, rather than a machined part.’
    pockmark, pock, mark, hollow, indentation, depression, dent, dint, concavity, dimple
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A small indentation left on the skin by a pustule or spot; a pockmark.
      • ‘Sometimes, popping a pimple will cause a brown or red scar to form that could last months; and scars, in the form of dents and pits, can last forever.’
      • ‘I have many acne pits of varying sizes on my face.’
      • ‘Dozens of deep scars and pits ran across the length its snout.’
      • ‘If you don't have problem skin, you're missing out on something really special; pits and blemishes add such character, don't they?’
      • ‘Dents or pits in the skin can easily become filled with bits of skin and hair, and infected with bacteria.’
      pockmark, pock, mark, hollow, indentation, depression, dent, dint, concavity, dimple
      View synonyms
  • 3usually the pitsAn area at the side of a track where racing cars are serviced and refuelled.

    ‘he had a flat tyre when he came into the pits’
    as modifier ‘the pit lane’
    • ‘When I was called into the pits on lap 43 there was a small fire but that was okay.’
    • ‘I had to drive it back to the pits on three wheels, but it was fun to always be in contention.’
    • ‘I came into the pits after one clear lap and we made some changes.’
    • ‘As most races are won and lost in the pits, Ferrari now have the advantage over every other team.’
    • ‘David had an incident at the start which forced him to come into the pits after the first lap for a new nose cone.’
    • ‘Sadly, Harvey's amazing opening was not destined to bring a reward as he was forced into the pits after nine laps.’
    • ‘Tommy climbed back on board and nursed the car back to the pits, losing several laps.’
    • ‘He pulls into the pits when there's nothing wrong with his car.’
    • ‘People walking through the pits often stop to check out the cars because they don't all look the same.’
    • ‘At the start of the race he was helped when several cars stalled on the grid and had to start from the pits.’
    • ‘She rejoined the track but was forced back to the pits as the problem remained.’
    • ‘We were able to pass a few guys, but I was not very quick coming in and out of the pits, and that's where we lost our lap.’
    • ‘The run-off areas are too short, the pits are cramped and the paddock facilities are, by a long way, the worst of the season.’
    • ‘To truly experience this benefit you need to drop your passenger in the pits and grab yourself a few solo laps.’
    • ‘My car had a gearbox problem towards the end of my ‘out’ lap and I had to come back to the pits.’
    • ‘I also found it very difficult on the first lap out of the pits on new tyres.’
    • ‘This caused a slow puncture, forcing me into the pits after the first lap.’
    • ‘Break the speed limit in the pits, overtake when the yellow flags are out or cut a corner in qualifying and you'll find yourself facing the wrath of your team when you get back to the garage.’
    • ‘My crew did a great job getting me back out there, and I'm happy that we were able to finish the race on the track and not in the pits.’
    • ‘However, on the second lap he slowed and headed for the pits, knowing that there was a problem.’
  • 4An orchestra pit.

    • ‘The show goes ahead come rain or shine, the fourth wall is constantly broken and those in the pit are almost on-stage.’
    • ‘The excellent orchestra in the improvised pit was in fine form and added enormously to the show.’
    • ‘Mark then rejoined the orchestra in the pit and prepared to play.’
    • ‘I covered the whole of the width of the stage in front of the curtains and also filled the pits.’
    • ‘The only weak point in the engineering is the lack of distinction between the chamber orchestra in the pit and the larger orchestra in the back.’
    • ‘Coordination between pit and stage is very good, and the tempi are usually sprightly.’
    • ‘The High School's orchestra sat in the pit waiting to play their pieces.’
    • ‘The members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the pit did a great job, but their reduced numbers mean naturally a reduced sound produced.’
    • ‘There was nothing makeshift or provisional about it, it was a proper theatre in Georgian style, with a pit, a gallery and boxes.’
    • ‘However, both covered and uncovered pits can colour an orchestra's sound, and the usually cramped space forces the players into awkward positions.’
    • ‘From now on, the only people in the music business wearing suits will be orchestras in the pit, playing live.’
    1. 4.1the pitBritish dated The seating at the back of the stalls of a theatre.
      • ‘What's it like to sit in the pit in the Chicago Theater?’
      • ‘There were still tip up wooden seats in the pit and benches in the gallery.’
      • ‘The amorous fops in the box are more refined and distant from the show than the working class audience in the pit.’
      • ‘At ten to eight, the house doors opened, and there was a rush for the sixpenny seats in the pit.’
  • 5A part of the floor of a stock exchange in which a particular stock or commodity is traded.

    ‘pooled commodity funds liquidated positions in the corn and soybean pits’
    ‘the trading pit of the Singapore International Monetary Exchange’
    • ‘Most traders trade in a pit, sitting almost on top of each other where everyone can be seen and heard and all calls traced and deals marked.’
    • ‘Flat-screen displays ring the pits set up with trading data.’
    • ‘Even now, many traders make electronic trades on handheld devices when they're in the pits.’
    • ‘Although no one expects the euro to collapse, the debate is contributing to an uncertain atmosphere in foreign-exchange trading pits.’
    • ‘Trading was conducted by traders on the floor of the pit calling out and signalling to each other.’
  • 6historical An enclosure in which animals are made to fight.

    ‘a bear pit’
    • ‘This rough, loose, prickly coat allowed the Shar-Pei to wriggle out of its opponent's grasp while fighting in the dog pits.’
    • ‘In such contests, according to law-enforcement officials, two dogs are placed in a pit or similar area enclosed with plywood walls.’
    • ‘At each fighting session, the animals are paired off against each other in a small pit or arena, enclosed by plywood or galvanised walls.’
    • ‘Perhaps we should bring back badger-baiting, cock-fighting, the bear pit, and all of those other traditional English pursuits.’
    • ‘I heal the animals that fight in the pit… so long as there's enough left to heal.’
  • 7British informal A person's bed.

    • ‘Assuming you can drag yourself out of your pit by about 10am, you should be in reasonable shape.’
    • ‘Get up out of your pit you lazy woman.’
    • ‘I’d relaxed in my illness and wallowed in my pit and on the sofa.’
    • ‘Once home we shuffled off to our respective pits, I surfaced at 10.30 am.’
    • ‘Mark was still in his pit, although he was awake.’
  • 8informal A person's armpit.

    • ‘When she lifts her arms, she has a big old bushy pit!’
    • ‘The cashier had sweaty pits and greasy hair.’
    • ‘She turned up at a premiere with hairy pits.’
    • ‘The skin in my pits started peeling off!’
    • ‘Make sure your pits are very dry before applying deodorant!’

verbpits, pitted, pitting

[with object]
  • 1pit someone/something againstSet someone or something in conflict or competition with.

    ‘you'll get the chance to pit your wits against the world champions’
    • ‘The students are to take part in a national debating competition pitting their skill against students from over 200 schools and colleges all over Ireland.’
    • ‘It's going to be a great occasion for my players to pit their wits against certainly the best squad in the division.’
    • ‘He pitted his skills against six others vying for the title of chef of the year.’
    • ‘The competition, which will pit American gymnasts against gymnasts from Russia, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Canada, Italy, Brazil, and Mexico, is being held in the Arrowhead Pond.’
    • ‘It was a great night for the organizers and there was a full house present to pit their wits against the question makers and test their knowledge on many a subject.’
    • ‘We're playing a team two divisions up in a great stadium and it's a good opportunity for us to pit our wits against them and see if we can compete.’
    • ‘In all, 10 matches were contended on the day pitting Thai boxers against foreign competitors.’
    • ‘He seems keen on conflict, pitting the countryside against the city.’
    • ‘He will represent Ireland and will have the chance to pit his skills against 19 of the best freestylers in the world.’
    • ‘Now Mrs Barker is to pit her products against strong competition at the Great Yorkshire Cheese and Dairy Show, which is sponsored by Morrisons supermarkets.’
    • ‘But we are faced with the madness of a system that pits one worker against another.’
    • ‘I enjoyed pitting my wits against other coaches.’
    • ‘The announcement was clearly designed to pit workers at the two factories against one another.’
    • ‘She will have a chance to pit her skills against the best soon as the European Championships have been scheduled for February 16-21.’
    • ‘That pits gas against diesel in a feverish battle for the lowest consumption and the cleanest exhaust at the cheapest price.’
    • ‘Redistributing the bird nuisance often pitted one agricultural region against another.’
    • ‘Puzzle Planet is the latest attraction at the centre where you can pit your wits against a series of mazes, brainteasers and puzzles to see if you've got the brains to be an astronomer.’
    • ‘This conflict pitted guerrilla forces against the national government.’
    • ‘The chance to pit your wits against the best players in the country, in the most sumptuous and atmospheric of football arenas, just doesn't get any better for a professional footballer.’
    • ‘Triathlon is arguably the toughest branch of athletics around, pitting competitors against each other across three very different fitness categories in an utterly exhausting combination.’
    set against, match against, put in opposition to, put in competition with, measure against
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1historical Set an animal to fight against (another animal) for sport.
      ‘there were usually three dogs pitted against one lion’
      • ‘The Romans are famous for their wild beast shows in the public arenas, where animals were pitted against one another for entertainment.’
      • ‘Ancient Romans pitted dogs against each other in gladiatorial contests.’
      • ‘The captive badger is taken to the ‘sporting’ venue - a trench covered by Perspex - and pitted against terriers.’
      • ‘Early in his reign he took his family to watch a lion pitted against a bear.’
      • ‘When animals were pitted against each other, the Romans often tied them together with a chain to make sure that they would fight.’
      • ‘Increasingly exotic animals were pitted against each other.’
  • 2Make a hollow or indentation in the surface of.

    ‘rain poured down, pitting the bare earth’
    • ‘The road leading up to the bridge is pitted with large, deep potholes.’
    • ‘The road surface is pitted with potholes and strewn with potentially dangerous objects.’
    • ‘Shrapnel scars still pitted the walls and sandbags were stacked around every home.’
    • ‘The dirty, white stone front of the shop, which stocked boxes of beer cans, was pitted with bullet holes, while a car and lorry parked in the protected courtyard outside were badly damaged in the attack.’
    • ‘The 22 tiny patches of Martian surface revealed a barren landscape pitted with craters, like the Moon.’
    • ‘The tip of the stick is often driven into the cloth with force, weakening the structure of the weave, and pitting the playing surface.’
    • ‘Much her chagrin she saw that through the ravages of time it was pitted with holes, some small others rather large.’
    • ‘The way was often both deeply pitted and stony.’
    • ‘His face was pitted with pockmarks and his beady eyes had come to rest a little below Ashley's throat, making his intentions perfectly clear.’
    • ‘By pitting metal surfaces, it provides a habitat for scale and bacteria to form.’
    make holes in, make hollows in, hole, dent, indent, depress, dint, pothole
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1no object Sink in or contract so as to form a pit or hollow.
      • ‘The skin becomes swollen and puffy, and pits on being pressed.’
      • ‘It is distinguished from other swellings by pitting under pressure.’
      • ‘My skin pits when pressed.’
  • 3no object Drive a racing car into the pits for fuel or maintenance.

    ‘he pitted on lap 36 with sudden engine trouble’
    • ‘He eventually pitted for gearbox repairs, but rejoined on the 47th lap - just as Button crashed.’
    • ‘I limped round for another lap, but the radiator was leaking and I pitted to save the engine.’
    • ‘He lost his front wing in the collision and dropped to last after pitting for a new nose.’
    • ‘He was hit on the first lap, pitted for a new right-front tire and returned to the race near the back of the field, only to be hit again.’
    • ‘He climbed the leaderboard to run in as high as 7th position and lapped consistently until pitting for a driver change.’
    • ‘Miguel drove the first stint but was forced to pit early to resolve a brake problem.’
    • ‘He pitted for his compulsory pitstop at the end of lap thirteen in ninth position and when the field regained shape he was back to ninth.’
    • ‘Lewis would relinquish the lead but maintained second until pitting on lap 48.’
    • ‘He took the lead briefly before pitting for fuel at the end of the race.’
    • ‘We had to pit under green and got a couple laps down.’
    • ‘We don't have to pit for tires anymore.’
    • ‘He began to pick up the pace and managed to climb to 6th during the first hour before pitting for fuel and fresh tyres.’
    • ‘Which laps were you supposed to pit for your second stop?’
    • ‘We certainly wouldn't have pitted if we'd known we were going back to green on the next lap.’
    • ‘I did some very quick laps when he pitted, so probably I made a lot of time then.’
    • ‘His time in the car was extended when he was able to pit for fresh tyres and fuel during a safety car period.’
    • ‘He was forced to pit again when gas was available and lost two laps.’
    • ‘Fearing a puncture, he called in that he would pit on the following lap.’
    • ‘When I pitted, we put a lot of fuel on board as this was the best strategy for us.’
    • ‘However, they elected not to pit for fuel during an early caution period, and that cost them time against their rivals.’

Phrases

  • be the pits

    • informal Be extremely bad or the worst of its kind.

      • ‘The training was held in Pyrmont, meaning that parking was the pits.’
      • ‘As boring as daytime stakeout seemed, nighttime surveillance was the pits.’
      • ‘Then having to ask him for a ride home is the pits, man.’
      • ‘He said: ‘The thought that I set up and put someone in prison, whether a friend or not, is the pits.’’
      • ‘Working as a kitchen maid is the pits.’
      • ‘Not many people would have the nerve to tell their new boss that they thought the company's headquarters was the pits.’
      • ‘This is hard work and it's frustrating, because losing is the pits.’
      • ‘How could the rest of the world be so happy when my life was the pits?’
      • ‘Mr Beeston said the prices of broccoli and cauliflower were the pits.’
      • ‘The reader pointed out that the city is the pits - dirty, lots of poverty, lots of unrest, no shops no industry, absolutely nothing for anyone.’
      the worst, the lowest of the low
      View synonyms
  • the pit of one's (or the) stomach

    • The lower abdomen regarded as the seat of strong feelings, especially anxiety.

      • ‘Going back to school after the long summer break always left me with a leaden feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.’
      • ‘He has been well trained for it but you do get a fear in the pit of your stomach when you think about what could happen to him.’
      • ‘It obviously hits the pit of your stomach when a tragedy like this happens and it involves people you work with on a daily basis.’
      • ‘It's that feeling one gets in the pit of one's stomach, a combination of embarrassment and anger at the idiocy of it all.’
      • ‘Why was the nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach so strong he felt nauseous?’
      • ‘I wish I could get rid of this horrible knotted feeling in the pit of my stomach.’
      • ‘I am not being patronising, far from it, because I know exactly what their fans must be enduring and it leaves a terrible emptiness at the pit of your stomach.’
      • ‘You get a queasiness in the pit of your stomach, because you're going to deliver some really tough news.’
      • ‘When you wake up on a Sunday morning, you can feel the loneliness gnawing at the pit of your stomach.’
      • ‘Although I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach there is a bright side’

Origin

Old English pytt, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch put and German Pfütze, based on Latin puteus ‘well, shaft’.

Pronunciation

pit

/pɪt/

Main definitions of pit in English

: pit1pit2

pit2

nounPlural pits

North American
  • The stone of a fruit.

    • ‘Young children can choke on certain foods (such as meats, nuts, seeds, candy, fruit pits, and popcorn).’
    • ‘Cherry pits are known to be deadly, and other fruit pits may contain trace amounts of cyanide and are dangerous to your birds.’
    • ‘While swallowed fruit pits are more common than was once thought, they rarely cause symptoms and intestinal obstruction.’
    • ‘To cut an avocado, hold it in your hand and slice through the skin and the flesh to the pit all the way around, lengthwise.’
    • ‘Chefs suggest pressing on the olive with your thumb firmly to split open the olive and loosen the pit.’
    • ‘She hurriedly picked at the dangling cherries from the tree, and put them in her basket while at the same time eating them, spitting the pits onto the rocky ground.’
    • ‘Before crushing, the fruit is separated for quality and the stems, leaves, seeds, and pits are removed.’
    • ‘The fruit's peel and pit are also of medical use.’
    • ‘I raise my face, even as a peach pit hits my forehead.’
    • ‘The fruits have a pit at the end away from the stem.’
    • ‘Carefully trim off the skin and cut the flesh from around the oval pit.’
    • ‘Some are made from coal, wood, or sawdust, while others are made from peach pits, olive pits, or coconut shells.’
    • ‘The peels of apples, pears and most fruits with pits add interesting texture to recipes and contain added nutrients and fiber.’
    • ‘John kicked a fruit pit across the road into a door.’
    • ‘I took a ripe avocado and rolled it between my hands until the skin became a green case for the soft mashed fruit inside, hard pit at the core.’
    • ‘The bones, shells, and fruit pits found in the privy suggest a household well supplied with food and drink.’
    stone, pip, seed
    View synonyms

verbpits, pitted, pitting

[with object]North American
  • Remove the pit from (fruit).

    • ‘Wash fruits well, pit and peal peaches and core pears.’
    • ‘If you're pitting cherries, do it inside a Ziploc bag.’
    • ‘I cut the cherries in half and pitted them.’
    • ‘Leave some cherries whole so people can see later on how hard you worked pitting real cherries.’
    • ‘Just before serving, peel and pit the avocado.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: apparently from Dutch; related to pith.

Pronunciation

pit

/pɪt/