Date: 1000-1100
Language: Old Norse
Origin: hitta 'to find, hit'


1 verb
hit1 S1 W2 past tense and past participle hit, present participle hitting

touch somebody/something hard

[transitive] to touch someone or something quickly and hard with your hand, a stick etc:
He raised the hammer and hit the bell.
hit somebody/something with something
The robbers hit him over the head with a baseball bat.

crash into something

[transitive] to move into something or someone quickly and with force:
The tanks exploded as the plane hit the ground.
He was hit by a car.

hurt yourself

[transitive] to move a part of your body quickly against something accidentally, causing pain [= bang]:
The ceiling's low, so be careful you don't hit your head.
hit something on/against something
She slipped and hit her head on the sidewalk.


a) if you hit a ball or other object, you make it move forward quickly by hitting it with a bat, stick etc [= strike]:
Hit the ball as hard as you can.
b) to get points by hitting a ball in a game such as baseball or cricket:
Last year, Griffey hit 49 home runs.


[transitive] informal to press a part in a machine, car, etc to make it work:
Maria hit the brakes just in time.


[transitive] to attack something or wound someone with a bomb, bullet etc:
Our ship was badly hit and sank within minutes.
A second shot hit her in the back.
The bomb failed to hit its target.

affect badly

[intransitive and transitive] if something bad hits a place or a person, it suddenly happens and affects people badly:
The village has been hit by a devastating drought.
Hurricane Louis is expected to hit at the weekend.
be badly/severely/hard hit
The company has been hard hit by the drop in consumer confidence.
The south of the country is the worst hit by the recession.

have problems

[transitive] to experience trouble, problems etc
hit a snag/problems/a bad patch etc
My father hit a bad patch, he had to sell the house.

reach a level/number

[transitive] to reach a particular level or number:
Sales have hit the 1 million mark.
Earnings hit a peak in the early 1980s.
hit rock-bottom/an all-time low etc
Oil prices have hit rock-bottom.


[transitive] if a fact hits you, you suddenly realize its importance and feel surprised or shocked:
It's impossible to pinpoint a moment when it hit me that I was 'a success'.
He was gone before they knew what had hit them (=realized what had happened).

smell/sight etc

[transitive] if a smell or sight hits you, you suddenly smell or see it:
The smell of stale smoke hit him as he entered.


[transitive] informal to arrive at a place:
They hit the main road two kilometres further on.
hit town American English
I'll look for work as soon as I hit town.

hit the road/trail

informal to begin a journey

hit the shops/streets

if a product hits the shops, it becomes available to buy:
I managed to get a copy of the book before it hit the shops.

hit the headlines

to be reported widely on television, in newspapers etc:
The couple hit the headlines last year when their relationship broke down.

hit the bottle

informal to start drinking too much alcohol regularly:
After his marriage failed, he hit the bottle big time.

hit the dirt/the deck

informal to fall to the ground in order to avoid something dangerous:
My first instinct was to hit the dirt.

hit a (brick) wall

informal to suddenly not be able to make any progress:
I felt I'd hit a wall with my playing.

hit the buffers/skids

informal if a plan, project etc hits the buffers, it fails:
Croft's comeback hit the skids yesterday when she lost in the quarter-finals.

hit somebody when they are down

informal to upset or harm someone when they are already defeated

hit somebody where it hurts

informal to do something that you know will upset someone in the most damaging way:
Hit your husband where it hurts - in his wallet!

hit it off (with somebody)

informal if two people hit it off, they like each other as soon as they meet:
I knew you'd hit it off with Mike.

hit the big time

hit it big American English informal to suddenly become very famous, successful, and rich:
The 25-year-old painter hopes to hit it big in New York.

hit the ground running

to start doing something successfully without any delay:
Law graduates are expected to hit the ground running.

hit the jackpot

a) to win a lot of money
b) to have a big success:
Owens hit the jackpot in his first professional game with the Cowboys.

hit the nail on the head

informal used to say that what someone has said is exactly right:
You've hit the nail on the head there, David.

hit home

a) if a remark, criticism etc about you hits home, you realize that it is true:
Graham didn't reply, but she could see her words had hit home.
b) if a blow or kick hits home, it hits the thing it is aimed at

hit the spot

informal to have exactly the good effect that you wanted, especially when you are hungry or thirsty

hit the roof/ceiling

informal to be very angry:
Ranieri returned, saw the mess, and hit the roof.

hit the sack

hit the hay American English informal to go to bed

➔ the shit hits the fan

at shit2 (17)

➔ hit/strike paydirt

at paydirt
with your fist: punch, thump, bash

with your open hand as a punishment: smack, spank, slap

with a hammer: bang, hammer

in order to get attention: bang, knock, tap, hammer

accidentally: bump into, crash into, strike, bang, knock, collide (with)

hit back

phrasal verb
to attack or criticize a person or group that has attacked or criticized you [= retaliate]
hit back at
The actress hit back at claims that she had threatened a member of staff.
hit back with
United were a goal down, but hit back with an equalizer.
hit back by doing something
He hit back by calling his critics 'lazy'.

hit on somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 also hit upon something to have an idea or discover something suddenly or unexpectedly [= come up with]:
Then we hit on the idea of asking viewers to donate money over the Net.
2 American English informal to talk to someone in a way that shows you are sexually attracted to them:
Dave has hit on most of the women in the department.

hit out

phrasal verb
to try to hit someone:
When he felt someone grab him, he hit out wildly.

hit out at somebody/something

phrasal verb
also hit out against somebody/something to express strong disapproval of someone or something [= attack]:
The bishop hit out at the government's policy on the homeless.

hit somebody with something

phrasal verb
1 to tell someone something interesting, exciting, or shocking:
The next morning, Steve hit me with the truth.
2 American English to punish or try to harm someone by doing something that will cause problems for them:
The next day, we found they'd hit us with a lawsuit.

hit somebody up for something

phrasal verb
to ask someone for money:
Did he hit you up for cash again?

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