Definition of sit in English:



  • 1no object Adopt or be in a position in which one's weight is supported by one's buttocks rather than one's feet and one's back is upright.

    ‘you'd better sit down’
    ‘I sat next to him at dinner’
    • ‘And everyone who gives is also becoming active in our support, rather than sitting at home frustrated at the media coverage.’
    • ‘Janine needed to sit down after taking everything in, so she grabbed a chair and sat next to him.’
    • ‘Leo helped me to sit upright on the floor while supporting my back with his elbow.’
    • ‘The patient used her arms while sitting to support the weight of the trunk in order to avoid pressure on the sacrum.’
    • ‘A lady sitting at a desk wore an expression that told her to sit down and bide her time, so that was what she did.’
    • ‘If he is not actually working, he would vastly prefer to putter outside or in a shed rather than to sit about getting under her feet.’
    • ‘He only shook his head, looking rather pathetic as he sat at the kitchen table.’
    • ‘Eventually she drifts off to sleep and then I can usually sit down, but only by keeping her lying on my chest while I sit there trying not to make any sudden moves.’
    • ‘People who need to use a chair for meditation should sit upright with their feet touching the ground.’
    • ‘He sits rather still on his couch, rarely gestures, and speaks in a relaxed yet expressive tone.’
    • ‘Travelling north to Edinburgh last weekend, I got talking to the rather mumsy woman sitting next to me.’
    • ‘She needs special chairs to support her back as she slowly learns to sit upright, as well as sensory equipment and a walker to help her develop.’
    • ‘As the man entered through the windows, she changed her position and sat upright on the bed.’
    • ‘The design encourages children to sit upright rather than slumped.’
    • ‘For a start you're sitting over a foot higher than your neighbour in the regular car.’
    • ‘Many make the pilgrimage to sit worshipfully at his feet.’
    • ‘Make sure you have good back and foot support when you sit.’
    • ‘When you are sitting straight with your feet flat on the floor your arms should be at a 90-degree angle when typing on the computer.’
    • ‘A soldier sitting at the foot of the bridge pushed himself upright and picked up his musket.’
    • ‘Boyle sits upright, looking askance at my brick-like tape recorder.’
    take a seat, seat oneself, settle down, be seated, take a chair
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Cause (someone) to sit.
      ‘sit yourself down and I'll bring you some coffee’
      • ‘To settle me down, Hank would sit me down for a couple of hours after the game, have a beer and talk baseball.’
      • ‘Having been in the same position for who knows how long, I struggled to sit myself up.’
      • ‘Just sit yourself down, and I'll bring you some refreshment.’
      • ‘Sit your baby on your lap and show him chunky board books that he can safely put in his mouth.’
      • ‘Now, sit yourself down and tell us all about your struggles.’
      • ‘But even when I'm not tired, I don't want to sit myself down to meditate, thinking that it takes too long.’
      • ‘Maybe tomorrow I'll sit myself down and make myself write or perhaps I'll go for a walk with my camera and see if I can find anything.’
      • ‘He pulled the chair back, allowing Altia to sit herself down.’
      • ‘Walk yourselves down to the nearest theater playing it, sit yourselves down, watch, then get back to me.’
      • ‘Once the brook was in sight, Audrey and Isabella both found large boulders on the bank to sit themselves down on.’
      • ‘A smiling Becky sat the baby bird in the grass in front of the lilacs, and quietly moved away.’
      • ‘It is evening and Arthur and Rose sit themselves down at the kitchen table secure in the knowledge that Guy is upstairs with Rikki.’
      • ‘She sat the baby on the soft comforter that covered her legs and adjusted herself.’
      • ‘I sit myself down in one of the filthy corners, making myself comfortable for the short ride.’
      • ‘Ushering us into the dining room, Grandma sat us at the table with Grandpa and herself.’
      • ‘Native mothers never sat their babies down long enough to need these items.’
      • ‘But as she sat herself down comfortably, she positioned herself facing the campfire.’
      • ‘When she was a baby, I would sit her in my lap and she would watch me play.’
      • ‘I waddled over to the chair and managed to sit myself down.’
      • ‘If you're doing nothing towards the goal, you need to sit yourself down and figure out why you're sabotaging your own efforts.’
    2. 1.2 (of an animal) rest with the hind legs bent and the body close to the ground.
      ‘it is important for a dog to sit when instructed’
      • ‘The dog sat stiffly next to Mr. Dawson's chair and now carefully watched the group.’
      • ‘Ken spots a rat sitting comfortably on the shelf, then watches it scurry behind a toaster oven.’
      • ‘And there was the cat sitting beside the hearth playing with tin soldiers and a toy cannon.’
      • ‘Each human had a dog sitting next to them and each plate had a devil's face made of meat.’
      • ‘The wolf just sat there and tilted its head with an inquisitive whimper.’
      • ‘But the creatures did not sit to look around in wonder as Rabbit had.’
      • ‘I couldn't help but to notice a small, dirty tabby cat sitting attentively by a wooden leg of a jewellery stand.’
      • ‘A pensioner has been reunited with her disabled pet terrier after thieves stole her car… while the dog sat quietly in the back.’
      • ‘My dog was sitting next to me, waiting for crusts from above while I ate breakfast, and I wondered what he hears when we hear music.’
      • ‘A spectral collie dog sits under a particular chair in the office, and at the other end of the room the figure of a man has been seen seated in another chair.’
      • ‘On the window sill, a black cat was sitting there, scratching under its ears with its leg in rapid circles.’
      • ‘I arrive home and am heartened by the sight of my dog sitting patiently in front of the gates awaiting my arrival.’
      • ‘Ariyah looked to see a large black-and-white cat sitting under a bush.’
      • ‘The wolf sitting silently beside him in the passenger's seat yawned, snapping her jaws.’
      • ‘You can always tell where the dog was sitting because there's a dog-shaped spot in the corner without any gold on it.’
      • ‘My stepson's cat sits beside me in my study as I write, apparently content with some sort of human company.’
      • ‘A baboon and a monkey are sitting patiently on a pallet awaiting their lift back to the limelight.’
      • ‘And all the older monkeys are just sitting there and taking it easy.’
      • ‘Another sighting was a solo monkey sitting thoughtfully in front of a very old ‘library’ we pass on one of our favorite walks over the ridge.’
      • ‘As he started the car and drove down the road that led from the station Jess glanced at the dog sitting beside him.’
    3. 1.3with object Ride or keep one's seat on (a horse)
      • ‘Gwern was sitting his horse close by her, surrounded by his personal bodyguard.’
      • ‘The rider on the bay horse sat the saddle just like Ben Cartwright's oldest boy.’
      • ‘They only sat their horses or stood there, gazing up at the temple as if they were afraid to break some magical spell.’
      • ‘The South Carolina general sat his horse, chewing manically on his cigar.’
      • ‘The horseman was older than Bahzell had assumed from his voice and the way he sat his horse.’
      • ‘He rode on, sitting the tractor as if it were a horse, and canted a parasol to deflect the cruellest and most direct of the sun's rays.’
      • ‘Since he was old enough to sit a horse, Mike worked to reduce it.’
      • ‘It was the only way they would get him to sit his horse for the ride home.’
      • ‘His son was still unconscious, but he wasn't so badly wounded that he couldn't sit a horse as long as someone held him there.’
      • ‘If you attempt to mount her or ride her in a tense filled mind and body - she will feel it the minute you sit the saddle.’
    4. 1.4with object (of a table, room, or building) be large enough for (a specified number of seated people)
      ‘the cathedral sat about 3,000 people’
      • ‘The hall sits 18,000 people; the ticket price varies from $100 to $500.’
      • ‘Each table could sit anything from four to eight people.’
      • ‘The hall sits 2000.’
      • ‘It looks like something out of a child's toy box: the old carriages are made of wood, painted a faded kingfisher blue, and they sit only ten people each.’
      • ‘There was a large oval shaped table in the center of the room, sitting a round number of twelve.’
      hold, seat, have seats for, have space for, have room for, accommodate, take
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5sit for Pose, typically in a seated position, for (an artist or photographer)
      ‘Walter Deverell asked her to sit for him’
      • ‘The worst spoon-feeding comes late in the film, as Elise sits for a photograph.’
      • ‘On September 10, 1665, during a sitting for his bust, the king got up to check on the likeness.’
      • ‘A request was made that the entire squadron sit for individual portraits.’
      • ‘Daniel Rowland was a self-effacing man, who only once consented to sit for his portrait.’
      • ‘It was the first time he sat for a formal portrait.’
      • ‘The heavy, slow equipment used in photography's first era made having a picture taken almost as demanding as sitting for a painter.’
      • ‘East Riding Council is looking for a man or woman born before 1901, who would agree to sit for photographer Ian Beesley.’
      • ‘Few individuals in a century of heavy taxation have the wealth to support the arts but royalty still sits for portraits, even if the commissioning organization pays the artist.’
      • ‘He also sat for students at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana.’
      • ‘Artists are also likely to make the portraits of important people look much more handsome than they really are to flatter the person sitting for a portrait.’
      • ‘British sculptor Ian Walters will make the statue, and Mandela has agreed to sit for him, organisers said.’
      • ‘During this period, sitting for a photograph had a certain formality.’
      • ‘One day the husband of a woman who was sitting for a portrait by Picasso dropped in on the artist at his studio.’
      • ‘When they were first married, Christopher's aunt had insisted that they sit for a portrait.’
      • ‘One recalls Roland Barthes's formulation of photographic exposure of being posed in exteriority and becoming a specter in sitting for a photograph.’
      • ‘When sitting for his portrait, Oliver Cromwell ordered his portraitist, who wanted to pretty Cromwell up, to paint him ‘warts and all.’’
      • ‘The Victorians hid their rotten teeth when sitting for portraits and photographs.’
      • ‘It was the subjects who served the artist by agreeing to sit for him.’
      • ‘In both the 1901 and the 1888 works, the sunflowers are displayed on the seat of a chair, as if they had the status of a human sitting for a portrait.’
      • ‘One hundred and five years after they sat for the photographer we are connected.’
      pose, model
      View synonyms
    6. 1.6North American with object Not use (a player) in a game.
      ‘the manager must decide who to sit in the World Series’
      • ‘Chris and I were unaware that Robinson had commented before the game that he was going to sit his regulars for much of the rest of the way, but this was ridiculous.’
      • ‘He'll sit a hot player like SF Marcus Fizer or PG A.J. Guyton for whole quarters despite the fact they are hot.’
      • ‘Coach Billy Donovan was not going to sit rookie sensation Matt Walsh or anybody else on his hot team and disturb the outstanding chemistry.’
      • ‘I'd sit Antowain Smith for a game or two if I were Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, which I'm not.’
      • ‘The Royals recently demoted Berroa to Class AA, and the Indians sat Gerut for five games.’
      • ‘At some point, the Giants may ultimately decide that sitting Shockey is best.’
      • ‘They're playing for a new coach, an old-school coach who'll sit you down if you don't play the game right.’
      • ‘Lightning G.M. Jay Feaster's ultimatum in the off season was that if a player didn't sign, he'd make them sit the whole season.’
  • 2Be or remain in a particular position or state.

    ‘the fridge was sitting in a pool of water’
    • ‘In the center, filling the room, sat a long table surrounded by chairs.’
    • ‘On the table sits a birthday cake with one slice missing.’
    • ‘On an altar in the room sits a figure of the Buddha.’
    • ‘Across the table sits the woman, clearly not thrilled.’
    • ‘Revelin Moss sits at the foot of Grisedale Pike about 300m above sea level.’
    • ‘Out on the patio table sat a tape recorder, a notebook, and the evaluation forms.’
    • ‘Resting unattended on the bench of a nearby picnic table sat a large, ripe watermelon.’
    • ‘On the coffee table sat a plate of crackers with a limp fan of cheese.’
    • ‘On the table sits a big bowl of almonds picked from the Gibsons' own tree.’
    • ‘A family of life-size stone monkeys sit beside them; nearby graze deer while a cow is being milked as its licks its calf.’
    • ‘Below that sits a similarly positioned on/off key, two fast access buttons - pre-set to run the diary and address book apps - and up and down scroll buttons.’
    • ‘At the head of the coffee table sat a respectable looking gentleman, thinning hair combed over his bald spot.’
    • ‘In another room down the hall from the locker room, sat many figures.’
    • ‘To the right of the throne room, two small buildings sit side by side.’
    • ‘In place of the utility room sit a miniature family room and dining area.’
    • ‘At the bar sat a lone figure wearing a brown leather jacket over a black flight suit.’
    • ‘In the center of the room sat a large table, with only two chairs at it.’
    • ‘In the center of the dining room sits a marble table surrounded by four leather chairs.’
    • ‘A mixture of tension, anger and fear has gripped the Pakistan north-west frontier town of Peshawar, which sits at the foot of the Khyber Pass leading into Afghanistan.’
    • ‘Behind pocket doors, the formal dining room table sits near one of three fireplaces.’
    be situated, be located, be positioned, be sited, be placed, perch, rest, stand
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with adverbial (of an item of clothing) fit a person well or badly as specified.
      ‘the blue uniform sat well on his big frame’
      • ‘We'd black berets that wouldn't sit right and black boots rich with dust and hungry for polish.’
      • ‘He was tall and lean; his dark-gray suit of military cut did not sit well on him.’
      • ‘Sometimes, a person dressed in the most expensive clothes can look like a fish out of water because his clothes do not sit well on him.’
    2. 2.2sit with Be harmonious with.
      ‘his shyness doesn't sit easily with Hollywood tradition’
      • ‘It sits rather uncomfortably between two camps: too childish for most adults, yet too gruesome for most children.’
      • ‘You know, drawing the analogy between men and dogs doesn't sit too well with them.’
      • ‘This sits badly with the Act assertion that all data be ‘obtained fairly’.’
      • ‘But this sits badly with a company which is losing money and sales in millions and thousands respectively.’
      • ‘That sits well with the yacht race, representing one of mankind's cleanest pursuits.’
      • ‘Second, even if it were simply a human inability to measure, this sits badly with the kind of certainty required.’
      • ‘Its aristocratic tendencies sit badly with the meritocratic facts of Scottish life.’
      • ‘Canberra's policies do not sit easily with many members with long memories.’
      • ‘Though that latter example sits badly with the Open Source crowd, it's born of the natural tendency of computer engineers to focus on the means rather than the end.’
      be harmonious, go, fit in, harmonize, mesh
      View synonyms
  • 3no object (of a legislature, committee, court of law, etc.) be engaged in its business.

    ‘Congress continued sitting until March 16’
    • ‘As your Honours know, the New South Wales Supreme Court has sat overseas on a number of recent occasions.’
    • ‘In 1644 he was appointed by the king as commissioner of excise in Lichfield, which led to him to Oxford where the Royalist parliament sat.’
    • ‘The Senate is due to debate the bill when Federal Parliament sits later this month.’
    • ‘As a result, parliament has sat only twice since the election and the next meeting has been set for July 20.’
    • ‘It meets at 8.30 in the morning on a Wednesday, almost every week that Parliament is sitting.’
    • ‘But it is a question of fact as to whether or not there was a miscarriage of justice. This Court does not sit as a Court of Criminal Appeal.’
    • ‘The European Parliament sits at exactly the same time as the Dáil on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.’
    • ‘In the meantime there is nothing I can say on the whole saga until the ethics committee sits.’
    • ‘The governor general will announce at a later date when parliament will sit to choose a new prime minister.’
    • ‘The court may sit at any place (either within or outside the State).’
    • ‘Adjournments of the Houses of Parliament take place all the time when Parliament is sitting.’
    • ‘We have now been told that it will be next week when Parliament is not sitting.’
    • ‘The court sits at Parliament House in Edinburgh and there is no appeal in criminal matters to the House of Lords at Westminster.’
    • ‘And even at that, there is no guarantee that the District Court will sit there again.’
    • ‘In May of this year the Crown Court was sitting there.’
    • ‘This Court does not sit as an ordinary Court of Criminal Appeal hearing appeals against convictions and sentences.’
    • ‘So it was in Perth and Inverness and every country town where the high court sat.’
    • ‘Future Legislative Assemblies, as the successors to the Constituent were to be called, were to contain 745 seats and sit for two years.’
    • ‘The Parliament is sitting again this week, with the Senate holding Estimates Committee hearings.’
    • ‘The medieval parliament and king's court often sat under its carved angels and it was from here that the kingdom was ruled.’
    meet, assemble, convene, be in session
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Serve as a member of a council, jury, or other official body.
      ‘they were determined that women jurists should sit on the tribunal’
      • ‘In 1990 he had to resign as a councillor for Bowling when new rules were introduced preventing paid council officers sitting as elected members.’
      • ‘Its members sit for five years, except for student representatives who hold their positions for one year.’
      • ‘He wondered whether the BBC board members had not sat since the last mandatory title fight in December last year.’
      • ‘The judge, sitting with two magistrates, had been told the Crown did not oppose the appeal.’
      • ‘Would you have been happy sitting on the jury that found the above three guilty as charged and therefore sentenced to death?’
      • ‘Judge Linda Sutcliffe, sitting with two magistrates, agreed to overturn the ban.’
      • ‘Zimbabwe has no jury system and cases are routinely tried by a judge sitting with two lay assessors.’
      • ‘Let us imagine David Benson-Pope sitting as a member on that council.’
      • ‘Big money, however, cares a great deal about who sits on the nation's 13 federal circuit courts.’
      • ‘A judge sitting without a jury would fall short of his duty if he did not first find the facts and then draw from them the inference of fact whether or not the defendant had been negligent.’
      • ‘And they spend at least ten days sitting with mentor magistrates on a broad variety of cases.’
      • ‘What we have to remember is that, as skeptics, our role is not necessarily well served by sitting as judge and jury.’
      • ‘The existing position is that specially trained panels of medical and lay people, on which GMC council members no longer sit, make final decisions on fitness to practise.’
      • ‘This is a decision of the Full Court. It is binding on all judges of the Federal Court sitting at first instance.’
      • ‘As for the idea of them standing for the council or sitting on a Community Association Committee well you must be joking.’
      • ‘This means that the Member must not sit as part of the sub-committee, but must also not attend the hearing in any case.’
      • ‘What has happened is that with the Criminal Code Act 1995 it is now not safe for any justice to sit alone without a jury.’
      • ‘This will be the last occasion on which Justice Gaudron will sit as a member of the Court.’
      • ‘District council deputy leader Chris Humphries from Aldbourne is one of the few councillors who sits as a member of all three local authorities at parish, district and county level.’
      • ‘I speak on behalf of my colleague who sits on the select committee that dealt with this bill.’
      serve on, have a seat on, hold a seat on, be a member of, carry out duties on, work on
      View synonyms
  • 4British with object Take (an examination)

    ‘pupils are required to sit nine subjects at GCSE’
    no object ‘he was about to sit for his Cambridge entrance exam’
    • ‘Under the program, five individuals are selected each year to receive a free sitting for the CPF exam and a complete set of PPFA-recommended exam source materials.’
    • ‘He sat the entrance examinations for Grammar School but did not gain admission, so he went to Derby Central School.’
    • ‘There were a large number of A's in each of the three science subjects and everyone who sat the biology examination got an honour.’
    • ‘This means that of every 50 art students sitting for the examination, 49 will fail.’
    • ‘So sitting an examination with glasses seems an accurate way of assessing their eligibility for the job.’
    • ‘Turing sat the scholarship examinations in 1929 and won an exhibition, but not a scholarship.’
    • ‘However, the candidates sat the examination in different cities.’
    • ‘Increasingly, students are sitting final examinations up to six months before they qualify.’
    • ‘In music, composition students sat a preliminary examination consisting of a fugue and a short choral piece.’
    • ‘It is absolutely essential that by the time you come to sit your final examination in economics, that you are fully aware of the pitfalls that lie in wait.’
  • 5no object , in combination Stay in someone's house while they are away and look after their house or pet.

    ‘Kelly had been cat-sitting for me’
    • ‘The girls have weeded a neighbor's yard, done some dog sitting and worked at extra chores around home.’
    • ‘I will be house and dog sitting again for the rest of the weekend, so I don't know how much I will be able to check emails.’
    • ‘I'm poodle-sitting for my grandfather this week.’
    • ‘I was first given a job in a learning centre by a woman I used to cat-sit for.’
    • ‘They're really well-behaved too and were a joy to puppy-sit.’
    • ‘If you are without a furry companion, offer to dog-sit for a friend or family member.’
    • ‘At one point they even agreed to cat-sit for a few weeks to get a roof over their heads.’
    • ‘We arranged for the ducks and Gordon the goat to be fed and kept an eye on, and some friends offered to dog-sit Milo for the weekend.’
    • ‘As it turns out, they had been calling the ISDN line at home, not having realised I'm cat-sitting.’
    • ‘I plan to spend Labor Day weekend bunny-sitting for Katy.’
    1. 5.1 Babysit.
      • ‘Incredibly, no one in New York ever checked my references before hiring me to sit.’
      • ‘Discuss any rules with the sitter before they agree to sit for you.’
  • 6(of a bird) rest on a branch; perch.

    • ‘A quetzal sits upon a branch, yet this species of trogon is not found outside the Mexican and Central American cloud forests.’
    • ‘A golden bird sang a melodious song as it sat, perched in a glittering green tree.’
    • ‘In contrast, effects of brood size on cooling dynamics are much smaller in species whose nestlings sit alongside each other.’
    • ‘Two sea eagles sit hunched on a branch, their expressions indicating distaste.’
    • ‘The bird carrier should be large enough for your bird to sit or rest in it comfortably so that it doesn't bump its head or tail on the top or bottom.’
    1. 6.1 (of a bird) remain on its nest to incubate its egg.
      ‘a sitting hen’
      • ‘There are now eggs in the nest and she sits there all day.’
      • ‘I will dust carefully round my sitting hen's eggs so as not to move them.’
      • ‘I don't have much experience of a broody hen sitting on the eggs.’
      • ‘You may see stiff-winged fulmars gliding effortlessly, or hear them cackling as they sit precariously on ledges incubating single eggs.’


  • 1A period of sitting.

    ‘a sit in the shade’
    • ‘Try to do at least one thing different each day - simple things: take a walk or have a sit in the park.’
    • ‘Come check it out and play for awhile, or just have a sit in the shade for a bit.’
  • 2archaic The way in which an item of clothing fits someone.

    ‘the sit of her gown’
    • ‘Many ladies entirely spoil the sit of the skirts by retaining the usual impedimenta of petticoats.’
    • ‘The sit of the collar brought tears into my eyes, sir, when first I saw it.’


For guidance on the differences between sit and set, see set


  • sit at someone's feet

    • Be someone's student or follower.

      • ‘I was ordered to sit at his feet while he lectured me about Zimbabwe.’
      • ‘Earlier, his audience had sat at his feet, a collection of white - shirted youths all too young to have ever seen him play.’
      • ‘I wanted exceedingly to see him, and felt like sitting at his feet, almost as I would at the feet of an apostle, from what I had heard of his success in promoting revivals.’
      • ‘Do your students sit at your feet and follow your every word? Is that an ideal relationship?’
      • ‘What interesting people have passed them by, or sat at their feet?’
      • ‘We never sit at their feet and learn from their experiences.’
      • ‘Anyone would think we weren't here sitting at his feet.’
      • ‘I tell the youth that they must respect the elders and try to learn from them by sitting at their feet.’
      • ‘Their gift was to leave indelible memories of the beauty of English poetry on all who sat at their feet.’
      • ‘He is a brilliant communicator, and I'd sit at his feet for many an hour; his enthusiasm is infectious and his knowledge is phenomenal!’
  • sit on the fence

    • Avoid making a decision or choice.

      • ‘You should make a decision; you cannot sit on the fence.’
      • ‘They want someone to make all their choices for them, so they just sit on the fence and wait to be told what to do.’
      • ‘‘Ron has never been one for sitting on the fence when it comes to an opinion,’ Townsend says.’
      • ‘As someone who has deferred the choice thus far (rather than actively making a decision), I know I could be accused of sitting on the fence.’
      • ‘Sometimes a decision is required and there's no option to sit on the fence.’
      • ‘It was still going to be my decision and my decision was going to be that we would not sit on the fence.’
      • ‘If that brings to mind a lot of dithering and sitting on the fence, you couldn't be more wrong.’
      • ‘We shall be sitting on the fence until it becomes law.’
      • ‘But he's going to make change and he's going to bring a lot of confidence to a lot of people who are sitting on the fence with the same decision.’
      • ‘Everyone is sitting on the fence on this and we're the first group to come out.’
      undecided, uncommitted, uncertain, unsure, vacillating, wavering, dithering, hesitant, tentative, doubtful, irresolute, ambivalent, torn, in two minds, in a dilemma, on the horns of a dilemma, in a quandary
      View synonyms
  • sit on one's hands

    • Take no action.

      • ‘And there's really nothing for Martin to worry about since most of those who would vote against him have even been driven out, have quit the party in frustration, or are quietly sitting on their hands.’
      • ‘Most people are sitting on their hands and that is the sensible reaction at this time.’
      • ‘With a moratorium, we, the good guys, are going to be sitting on our hands.’
      • ‘Many US traders were sitting on their hands ahead of a key update on the economy by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan this evening.’
      • ‘The market kicked off the week in a subdued fashion, with few corporate announcements and traders sitting on their hands ahead of a slew of results in the US later this week.’
      • ‘But around one quarter sat on their hands, neither applauding nor joining in the booing from a group of about 200 people.’
      • ‘‘The police are not sitting on their hands,’ Mr Sutton said.’
      • ‘Personally, I believe some people, British leftists, have been sitting on their hands and not taking a proactive role in fighting terrorism.’
      • ‘So the fact that they can put out two press releases with identical content about six years apart, tells us that they have been sitting on their hands.’
      • ‘So it is not as if anyone has been sitting on their hands in this period of time.’
  • sit (heavy) on the stomach

    • (of food) take a long time to be digested.

      • ‘It smells of chemicals, doesn't taste that great, and seems to sit on the stomach.’
      • ‘The first two helpings didn't taste like much except vanilla, though silkier, but the ice cream sat heavy on the stomach because of the syrup's sweetness.’
      • ‘Salmon baked in tarragon and cray fish tails with basil in filo pastry do not sit on the stomach in the same way as most festive fare.’
      • ‘My the dogs gobble them up too quickly and they didn't sit on the stomach well.’
      • ‘While it looked like it might sit heavy on the stomach, I was pleasantly surprised how tasty and light it really was.’
      • ‘A little goes a long way and sits heavy on the stomach.’
      • ‘It tends to sit heavy on the stomach.’
      • ‘Greasy dumplings can sit heavy on the stomach at 10: 30 am.’
  • sit tight

    • 1informal Remain firmly in one's place.

      • ‘Those that did evacuate we ask you just to sit tight.’
      • ‘I'll just go take Blake to make arrangements and the rest of you sit tight.’
      • ‘But, we don't have that control, and apart from securing our homes and having adequate supplies, we just have to sit tight and hope for the best.’
      • ‘Yet, sitting tight for hours, excitement in phases and muggy weather were all worth the effort as Yuveraj Singh ensured everybody went home with a heady feeling.’
      • ‘This was a good thirty feet away, and Peter and Julia sat tight, waiting to see what else was happening.’
      • ‘They assumed that the crowd would sit tight even if the arrangements were not up to the mark.’
      • ‘Should we sit tight and wait to be rescued - and risk choking on fumes or being crushed in a tunnel collapse?’
      • ‘Then I guess you just sit tight with a good book and wait until the electricity goes off and your roof starts coming off.’
      • ‘But the elderly man didn't get excited, he sat tight and waited for the emergency crew to reach his home at the top of the village.’
      • ‘A 24 - HOUR vigil is in place as the Lake District's famous ospreys are sitting tight on newly-laid eggs.’
      stay put, stay there, wait there, remain in one's place
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Refrain from taking action or changing one's mind.
        ‘we're advising our clients to sit tight and neither to buy nor sell’
        • ‘His outlandish haul of major championships is the product of a cautious approach, a refusal to take risks and a determination to sit tight and wait for others to make mistakes.’
        • ‘Despite the impressive performance by the shares, those willing to sit tight should enjoy further rewards as the company remains remarkably good value.’
        • ‘It lost money for the first 15 months but I didn't have the funds to advertise it, so I just had to sit tight and wait for the reputation to build.’
        • ‘All we can do is sit tight and wait and that is simply making a worrying situation even more difficult.’
        • ‘There is always a risk in these situations that a player will sit tight for the remainder of his contract and still go to one of your rivals free.’
        • ‘We called the hospital, and they advised us to sit tight and wait, and call them again if the contractions started happening about once every five minutes.’
        • ‘Do they have to sit tight and wait for the Philippines to solve it?’
        • ‘There is still more to come, but we're sitting tight and waiting for when the time will happen.’
        • ‘Sometimes you need to sit tight, and wait for it to happen.’
        • ‘For the rest, it might be better to sit tight and wait for the industry to pull its finger out.’
        take no action, wait, hold back, hang back, be patient, bide one's time, play a waiting game
        View synonyms
  • sit up (and take notice)

    • informal Suddenly start paying attention or have one's interest aroused.

      • ‘Just as happened with the fuel crisis, the Westminster politicians will eventually have to sit up and take notice of Yorkshire's discontent.’
      • ‘There is just something I like about this picture, something that made us sit up and take notice…’
      • ‘But he soon made the fashion world sit up and take notice.’
      • ‘The First Minister needs to sit up and take notice.’
      • ‘A surprise move like that could get people to sit up and take notice.’
      • ‘And while the result was one the majority of pundits predicted, the Wasps' performance will have caused a few teams to sit up and take notice.’
      • ‘Parents say they hope the Department of Education will finally sit up and take notice of them, following Friday's protest.’
      • ‘This is exactly the sort of statement that makes a book lover sit up and take notice and it certainly got my attention.’
      • ‘If only the litter louts would now sit up and take notice.’
      • ‘This presence in high profile Silicon Valley suddenly made the world sit up and take notice.’
  • sit in judgment

    • Assume the right to judge someone, especially in a critical manner.

      • ‘The duke, who sits in judgement, will not intervene as Portia enters in the guise as a lawyer to defend Antonio.’
      • ‘For example, pretty much everyone agrees that a judge should not sit in judgment in a case on appeal if he participated in the decision below.’
      • ‘Scotland's unique Children's Hearing system - in which lay people sit in judgment on young offenders and vulnerable children to decide on the best course of treatment - will be toughened.’
      • ‘They don't want judges from other countries sitting in judgement on their soldiers and politicians.’
      • ‘A critic or a cinegoer can sit in judgement on a film and say that a subject is shallow.’
      • ‘Who would like a part-time, non-committed judge to sit in judgement on a particular case, if one were a litigant?’
      • ‘The case ended in a hung jury, even though the jury consisted entirely of military officers sitting in judgment on criticism of their commanding officer.’
      • ‘As far as he's concerned these people have already sat in judgment on him and decided he had a case to answer.’
      • ‘Their description of the horrors they came across were reported to the judges who later sat in judgement on the leaders of the Reich and must have influenced them in some way.’
      • ‘And that is precisely why Judge Judy failed to do her duty when sitting in judgement of that habitual offender.’
  • sit on one's ass

    • vulgar slang Do nothing; fail to take action.

Phrasal Verbs

  • sit back

    • 1Relax.

      ‘sit back and enjoy the music’
      • ‘Once you have eaten so much you can't move an eyelid, it's time to sit back, relax and let someone else do the driving.’
      • ‘Put on a pot of coffee, dig out the cherry pie and sit back and relax.’
      • ‘All a client has to do is tell me what they want and then sit back and relax.’
      • ‘So, if you are a woman who needs time to be with yourself, sit back, relax, and enjoy these movies.’
      • ‘Limbaugh loves sitting back and relaxing with a cigar.’
      • ‘I hated the first one, but decided to sit back, relax and get in touch with my inner angel.’
      • ‘So in preparation for another burst of mindless driving I am going to sit back and relax.’
      • ‘On a snowboarding holiday, there's not much opportunity to sit back and relax, however.’
      • ‘It is a book that is hard to put down so give yourself plenty of time, sit back, relax and enjoy.’
      • ‘With a large family of eleven, Kit had little time to sit back and relax in former years.’
      relax, unwind, lie back, loosen up
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Take no action; choose not to become involved.
        ‘I can't just sit back and let Betsy do all the work’
        • ‘They simply sit back and wait and, if a buyer comes along, then they think about moving somewhere else.’
        • ‘Yet while all their manager asks them to do is win, the world sits back and waits to be entertained.’
        • ‘At the moment it's a case of sitting back and waiting for the outcome to this.’
        • ‘He looks at me and sits back, waiting for the signs of awe to display themselves on my face.’
        • ‘God expects that when we pray for something, we should not just sit back and wait for miracles to happen.’
        • ‘The drive is now on to sell season tickets for the new term - but I know there are a lot of people sitting back and waiting to see what is about to happen before they make any decisions.’
        • ‘Analysts are concerned that the group is sitting back and waiting for the forecast economic recovery rather than cutting costs.’
        • ‘Nor are they just sitting back and waiting for the talent to roll in.’
        • ‘Then they just sit back and wait for a reaction from the rest of the users.’
        • ‘And I did it by not sitting back and waiting for the school or company to provide me with the requisite classes.’
  • sit by

    • Take no action in order to prevent something undesirable from occurring.

      ‘I'm not going to sit by and let an innocent man go to jail’
      • ‘I was sitting by with the kids as this scene came up, prepared to talk it over with them as necessary.’
      • ‘If he sits by and lets martial law happen without objecting strongly, his political career will be over.’
      • ‘Most of the saner ones from amongst my readers would have realized that I did not sit by all day trying to count all these.’
      • ‘Sandler approaches nervously, Nicholson cheers him on, and Graham sits by oblivious.’
      • ‘What does it say when the Government sits by impotently when a star witness is gunned down in broad daylight on the Bulgarian Supreme Court steps?’
  • sit down

    • Encamp outside a city in order to besiege it.

      ‘with a large force he sat down before Ravenna’
      • ‘William drew from his encampment at Cahirconlish, and, confident, of an easy victory, sat down before Limerick.’
      • ‘The Russian army, provided with a full park of artillery for the siege, sat down before it in the middle of May.’
  • sit in

    • 1(of a group of people) occupy a place as a form of protest.

      • ‘Just as we were ready to enter Allen's office to sit-in we learned that he had decided to vote against any more funding for the occupation.’
      • ‘We had been condemning segregation verbally for a long time, but we had lent ourselves to it by not sitting in.’
      • ‘The next morning Jesse Jackson would come and compare us to young folks sitting in for civil rights for black citizens during his youth.’
    • 2Attend a meeting or discussion without taking an active part in it.

      ‘I sat in on a training session for therapists’
      • ‘Members of the public are always most welcome to sit in on our monthly trust board meetings.’
      • ‘The school was also ranked third in the country when inspectors sat in on lessons.’
      • ‘The visiting teachers sat in on lessons and had the chance to talk to both teachers and pupils.’
      • ‘The minister then sweeps in and proceeds to sit in on each table's discussion.’
      • ‘Because what are they hiding, if they don't want you to sit in on the meetings?’
      • ‘Three years ago Camalyn had gone into work with her mother and sat in on one of the anger management classes.’
      • ‘Judge Morris allowed the McBrearty family to sit in for two issues that arose in relation to them from Mr Jennings.’
      • ‘The deal was that I'd sit in for three classes and then he could decide if I added value or not.’
      attend, be present at, be an observer at, observe, watch
      View synonyms
  • sit in for

    • Temporarily carry out the duties of (another person)

      • ‘To thank Laurence for sitting in for me tonight, I made a song for him.’
      • ‘I popped into the management offices of the radio station that has (in a moment of barking madness) asked me to sit in for two weeks over Easter on the ‘drivetime’ slot.’
      • ‘I'm Roger Cossack sitting in for Larry tonight.’
      • ‘I'm Kathie Lee Gifford sitting in for Larry King tonight.’
      • ‘I'm Greta Van Susteren, sitting in for Larry, who has the night off.’
      • ‘I'm Jim Clancy, sitting in for Tumi Makgabo this week.’
      • ‘Zak Starkey, son of Beatle Ringo Starr, deputises for the late Keith Moon and Pino Palladino sits in for the recently departed bassist John Entwhistle.’
      • ‘Mr. Baylos, of course, was ecstatic to find that not only had he finally been booked for the Carson show but that he'd be sitting in for Johnny.’
      • ‘Tonight, Leeza Gibbons is sitting in for Larry King.’
      • ‘Her TV plans also include sitting in for Richard and Judy on their tea-time chat show during their holiday later this month.’
      stand in for, fill in for, take the place of, cover for, substitute for, be a substitute for, act as stand-in for, deputize for
      View synonyms
  • sit on

    • 1Fail to deal with.

      ‘she sat on the article until a deadline galvanized her into putting words to paper’
      • ‘The company is regarded as more financially capable than its rival of doing such a deal, but appears happy to sit on its holding.’
      • ‘Lucas has been sitting on this basic story idea for well on thirty years now, so how far wrong could he go?’
      • ‘I finally decided to stop sitting on things and threw out my war-torn couch today.’
      • ‘There is now enormous choice in the current account market, so there is no excuse to sit on an account which is not offering the best deal.’
      • ‘I've been sitting on this story for a week or so, trying to figure out what to do with it.’
    • 2Subdue (someone), typically by saying something intended to discomfit or embarrass them.

      • ‘My middle son lives with his dad and is 20, but he doesn't give me the time of day, but my youngest is 5 (going on 20) and I have really sat on him hard.’
      • ‘He bears the imprint of whoever sits on him and the Vice-President really sat on him.’
      1. 2.1Suppress (something)
        ‘tell them to sit on this story until we hear from Quinlan’
        • ‘But I find it impossible to sit on a good story, especially if there is money to be made.’
        • ‘Instead, he intends to sit on his campaign for a month to give it maximum chance of success.’
        • ‘The press has been restrained in sitting on a story about her family.’
        • ‘Only this time, he knew he was sitting on a deal he could not mention.’
        • ‘This is by no means the only new idea that the company is sitting on, with numerous internet projects up its sleeve.’
        • ‘No longer is it easy for a news organization to sit on a big story and publish it at a set time, when all the dust has settled.’
        withhold, hide, conceal, keep back, keep secret, keep hidden, keep silent about, keep quiet about, hush up, refuse to disclose, suppress
        View synonyms
  • sit something out

    • 1Not take part in a particular event or activity.

      ‘he had to sit out the first playoff game’
      • ‘The guy comes back after sitting out several games and immediately starts shooting every time he touches the ball.’
      • ‘Let Davis sit out two games for every one he plays.’
      • ‘Each time he has come back this season after sitting out a few games, he has looked unusually active.’
      • ‘He has started a record 125 straight games and isn't about to sit one out any time soon.’
      • ‘The suspensions range from one to three games, with Wisconsin choosing which players will sit out which games.’
      • ‘Some (potential top picks) decide to sit out a game like this and not risk an injury.’
      • ‘When Johnson refused to restore Cobb, the players sat out the next game, in Philadelphia.’
      • ‘Not wanted to compete against his homeland, Tim Duncan sat out yesterday's game.’
      • ‘When a player sits out the entire game, the scene afterwards at home can be pretty ugly.’
      • ‘If the instance is bad enough, a player may sit out a game.’
      1. 1.1Wait without moving or taking action until a particular unwelcome situation or process is over.
        ‘most of the workers seem to be sitting the crisis out, waiting to see what will happen’
        • ‘After calling his wife he said: ‘All I can do is sit it out and wait until the Tube and buses get going again.’’
        • ‘He appeared in just 22 games, sitting out the final 41 with a strained right rotator cuff.’
        • ‘‘It's OK,’ I told myself. ‘I can sit it out until the end of the line.’’
        • ‘Overnight a bit of a storm started ripping up and we thought we'd better wait, sit it out here until the storm abates.’
        • ‘I thought we could sit it out until it calmed down at home, and we would go back.’
        • ‘Badly swollen, Nadia sat out apparatus after apparatus during team optionals.’
        • ‘The council hopes to sit the strike out until the summer holiday shutdown.’
        • ‘Many ladies entirely spoil the sit of the skirts by retaining the usual impedimenta of petticoats.’
        • ‘Hardaway tried to play in January but scored just 39 points in four games before deciding to sit out because of persistent pain in his knee.’
        • ‘So, why not sit things out, and wait for the next generation of leaders?’
  • sit through

    • Stay until the end of (a tedious or lengthy meeting or performance)

      • ‘Once, having sat through a tedious film, I was asked by a Californian market researcher for my response.’
      • ‘I was, however, apprehensive at the prospect of sitting through an even lengthier version.’
      • ‘I have sat through several council meetings where cabinet members cannot answer a question about the area they have responsibility for.’
      • ‘Her ex-husband's deceit had been so successful she did not know the full story until she sat through his trial.’
      • ‘She sits through most Council meetings like a rabbit caught in the headlights whilst her deputy tries out his stand-up comic routine.’
      • ‘The only thing worse than sitting through a tedious film is having to analyze and describe the tedium.’
      • ‘We sat through enough meetings to know they were getting a raw deal and they hadn't the money or the clout to fight back.’
      • ‘I must admit I had a hard time sitting through this movie.’
      • ‘So, it was a case of fitting in last minute tweaks on that between editing a mammoth group test and sitting through a planning meeting in the afternoon.’
      • ‘People who got on were those who could sit through endless meetings without falling asleep.’
  • sit up (or sit someone up)

    • 1Move (or cause someone to move) from a lying or slouching to a sitting position.

      ‘Amy sat up and rubbed her eyes’
      ‘I'll sit you up on the pillows’
      • ‘The men sleeping in the room sat up and moved to make space by the fire for the new arrivals.’
      • ‘After another long moment of silence he sat up straighter and moved to stand up.’
      • ‘Cole nodded from his position below her and moved to sit up.’
      • ‘When she realized she was home she sat up straighter and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.’
      • ‘She walks into the room, and everybody sits up a little straighter and leans forward a little.’
      • ‘With a sigh, the stranger walked over toward Kiro and sat her up straight.’
      • ‘Then he moves, sitting up on the hammock, and speaking in a commanding and surprisingly powerful voice.’
      • ‘The patient is positioned sitting up and leaning forwards over a bed table.’
      • ‘Sit on the cushion with it more to your rear than to your front and bring the body to the best possible position, sitting up quite straight.’
      • ‘Somehow she managed to sit him up, propping his back against the rough bark of the oak tree.’
      • ‘It then occurred to me that maybe Josh was uncomfortable with the position we were in, so I moved to sit up.’
    • 2Refrain from going to bed until a later time than usual.

      ‘we sat up late to watch a horror film’
      • ‘He sat up late thinking about it and deep in the middle of the night he wrote to me about his feelings.’
      • ‘I sat up late last night working on this project for my niece.’


Old English sittan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zitten, German sitzen, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin sedere and Greek hezesthai.