1

bit

noun \ ˈbit \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of bit

1 a (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 1jaw 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 3a)

Illustration of bit

Origin and Etymology of bit

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 1bite

2

bit

verb

Definition of bit

bitted; bitting
transitive verb
1 a :to put part of a bridle in the mouth of (a horse) :to put a bit (see 1bit 2a) in the mouth of (a horse)
b :to control as if with a bit
2 :to form a bit (see 1bit 4) on (a key)

Origin and Etymology of bit

derivative of 1bit

Other Equestrian Terms


3

bit

noun

Definition of bit

1 :a small quantity of food; especially :a small delicacy
2 a :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 multiples
  • four bits
Note: No coin was every issued in this amount.
— see also two bits 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

Origin and Etymology of bit

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 1bite

4

bit

noun

Definition of bit

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

Origin and Etymology of bit

binary digit

Other Computer-Related Terms


British Definition of BIT

3

bit

noun

British Definition of bit

:a coin of a specified small denomination
  • a threepenny bit
:a unit of value equal to ¹/? of a U.S. dollar (12 ¹/? cents) used only of even multiples
  • four bits
Note: No coin was every issued in this amount.
— see also two bits 1
a bit
a bit much
bit by bit
to bits

BIT Defined for Kids

1

bit

noun \ ˈbit \

Definition of bit for Students

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

2

bit

noun

Definition of bit for Students

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

3

bit

noun

Definition of bit for Students

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


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