\ ˈbit How to pronounce bit (audio) \

Definition of bit

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a(1) : the biting or cutting edge or part of a tool
(2) : a replaceable part of a compound tool that actually performs the function (such as drilling or boring) for which the whole tool is designed put a new bit in the drill used a 1/4 inch bit to make the hole
b bits plural : the jaws (see jaw entry 1 sense 2a) of tongs or pincers
2 : something bitten or held with the teeth:
a : the usually steel part of a bridle inserted in the mouth of a horse
b : the rimmed mouth end on the stem of a pipe or cigar holder
3 : something that curbs or restrains
4 : the part of a key that enters the lock and acts on the bolt and tumblers (see tumbler sense 3a)

bit

verb
bitted; bitting

Definition of bit (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to put part of a bridle in the mouth of (a horse) : to put a bit (see bit entry 1 sense 2a) in the mouth of (a horse)
b : to control as if with a bit
2 : to form a bit (see bit entry 1 sense 4) on (a key)

Definition of bit (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a small quantity of food especially : a small delicacy
2a : a small piece or quantity of some material thing broken bits of glass picking bits of lint off her sweater
b(1) British : a coin of a specified small denomination a threepenny bit
(2) : a unit of value equal to ¹/₈ of a U.S. dollar (12 ¹/₂ cents) used only of even multiplesfour bits

Note: No coin was ever issued in this amount.

— see also two bits sense 1
3 : something small or unimportant of its kind: such as
a : a brief period : while wait a bit longer
b : an indefinite usually small degree, extent, or amount a bit of a rascal every bit as powerful a bit too sweet
c theater
(1) : a small part usually with spoken lines in a theatrical performance a bit part bit players
(2) : a usually short theatrical routine a corny comedy bit
4 : the aggregate of items, situations, or activities appropriate to a given style, genre, or role rejected the whole bit about love-marriage-motherhood— Vance Packard
a bit
: somewhat, rather the play was a bit dull
a bit much
: a little more than one wants to endure finds his constant joking a bit much
bit by bit
: by degrees : little by little getting better bit by bit
to bits
: totally, thoroughly thrilled to bits

Definition of bit (Entry 4 of 4)

1 computers : a unit of computer information equivalent to the result of a choice between two alternatives (such as yes or no, on or off)
2 computers : the physical representation of a bit by an electrical pulse, a magnetized spot, or a hole whose presence or absence indicates data

Illustration of bit

Illustration of bit

Noun (1)

1bit 2a: 1curb, 2 snaffle

In the meaning defined above

First Known Use of bit

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

1948, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bit

Noun (1)

Middle English bite, bit "bite of an animal, cutting edge, point, mouthpiece of a bridle," going back to Old English bite "bite of an animal, cut from a weapon," going back to Germanic *biti- (whence Old Saxon biti "bite, sting," Old High German biz (gebiz "mouthpiece of a bridle"), Old Norse bit), noun derivative from *bītan- "to bite" — more at bite entry 1

Verb

derivative of bit entry 1

Noun (2)

Middle English bite, bit "mouthful of food, morsel," going back to Old English bita, bite, going back to Germanic *bitan- (whence Middle Dutch bete "morsel," Old High German bizzo, Old Norse biti), noun derivative from *bītan- "to bite" — more at bite entry 1

Noun (3)

binary digit

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More Definitions for bit

bit

noun
\ ˈbit How to pronounce bit (audio) \

Kids Definition of bit

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a small piece or quantity a bit of food
2 : a short time Rest a bit.
a bit
: somewhat entry 1 a bit of a fool
bit by bit
: by small steps or amounts : gradually Bit by bit, the truth came out.

bit

noun

Kids Definition of bit (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a part of a bridle that is put in the horse's mouth
2 : the cutting or boring edge or part of a tool

bit

noun

Kids Definition of bit (Entry 3 of 3)

: a unit of computer information that represents the selection of one of two possible choices (as on or off)

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More from Merriam-Webster on bit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bit

Spanish Central: Translation of bit

Nglish: Translation of bit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bit for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about bit

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