Main definitions of tit in English

: tit1tit2tit3

tit1

noun

  • 1A small songbird that searches acrobatically for insects among foliage and branches.

    Also called titmouse or (in North America) chickadee
    • ‘This behavior is especially prevalent among chickadees and tits that scatter hoard food items in foliage, branches, and bark of trees.’
    • ‘He pointed out that not only pigeons live in the South Parade area, but ravens, jackdaws, collared doves, blackbirds, thrushes, wagtails, tits and the now-endangered house sparrow.’
    • ‘Lovebirds, barbets, tits and finches warm themselves in the cozy chambers built by the weavers.’
    • ‘Scurrying about in the woodland fringes, hedges and feeding sites are finches, tits and thrushes keep your eyes open for the occasional hen harrier, merlin and sparrowhawk.’
    • ‘No wonder the tits and finches were so noisy and active.’
    1. 1.1 Used in names of birds that are similar or related to the tits, e.g. penduline tit, New Zealand tit.

Origin

Mid 16th century: probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Icelandic titlingur ‘sparrow’; compare with titling and titmouse. Earlier senses were ‘small horse’ and ‘girl’; the current sense dates from the early 18th century.

Pronunciation

tit

/tɪt/

Main definitions of tit in English

: tit1tit2tit3

tit2

noun

  • 1vulgar slang A woman's breast.

    mammary gland, mamma
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British informal A foolish or ineffectual person.
      idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
      View synonyms
  • 2military slang A button that is pushed to fire a gun or release a bomb.

Phrases

  • get on someone's tits

    • vulgar slang Irritate someone intensely.

      annoy, vex, make angry, make cross, anger, exasperate, bother, irk, gall, pique, put out, displease, get someone's back up, put someone's back up, antagonize, get on someone's nerves, rub up the wrong way, try someone's patience, ruffle, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise, raise someone's hackles
      View synonyms
  • tits and ass

    • vulgar slang Used in reference to the use of crudely sexual images of women.

Origin

Old English tit ‘teat, nipple’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tit and German Zitze. The vulgar slang use was originally US and dates from the early 20th century.

Pronunciation

tit

/tɪt/

Main definitions of tit in English

: tit1tit2tit3

tit3

noun

in phrase tit for tat
  • The infliction of an injury or insult in return for one that one has suffered.

    as modifier ‘the conflict staggered on with tit-for-tat assassinations’
    • ‘But this somehow became tit for tat, and evaluation times for marketed drugs was accelerated.’
    • ‘I can't say this enough: deterrence is not tit for tat.’
    • ‘After this it was tit for tat but in the few remaining minutes of injury time Ballinakill managed to score two points to give them a two point victory on a score of 3-12 to 3-10.’
    • ‘I usually put my comments in a general, not individual context, because I don't want to do the tit-for-tat insult thing many commentators do.’
    • ‘I'm not advocating tit for tat, or cheating out of spite.’
    • ‘In ranking events you generally find it's tit for tat.’
    • ‘Not just a football match, it was a wonderful example of tit for tat as both teams set out to prove that anything one could do, the other could do better.’
    • ‘Whether these deaths are all linked, tit for tat, is a point of debate in Melbourne.’
    • ‘But if they want to escalate the fight, we will respond tit for tat.’
    • ‘But we do use the passes a lot and this seems a bit tit for tat.’
    • ‘It was tit for tat on the field of play with numerous players catching the eye of their managers.’
    • ‘Reciprocity is not tit for tat, keeping score or revenge.’
    • ‘But ‘bump and run’ is a gray area, where tactical tit for tat, perhaps motivated by momentary anger and revenge, may come into play despite the overall ethic of mutual respect.’
    • ‘You know, I think it's going to be real tough, and I think the reason is that we're seeing now a tit for tat.’
    • ‘The sides went tit for tat with scoring opportunities, and midway through the second half the game really picked up a Championship flavour.’
    • ‘It was tit for tat all through the first half with the sides trading some fine scores.’
    • ‘At first glance this may seem a justified tit for tat.’
    • ‘My appeal on Friday was on behalf of good old shameless commerce, quid pro quo, tit for tat, bucks for books.’
    • ‘I thought about opening the window and gargling back, tit for tat, but concern for my neighbors discouraged me.’
    • ‘It was tit for tat throughout a memorable semi final, and while no one could question the merits of the champion's victory the great pity was that either side to had to endure the disappointment of defeat.’
    retaliation, reprisal, counterattack, counterstroke, comeback
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 16th century: variant of obsolete tip for tap.

Pronunciation

tit

/tɪt/