Definition of hit verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



hitting, hit, hit

touch someone or something with force

1 [transitive] to bring your hand, or an object you are holding, against someone or something quickly and with force hit someone/somethingMy parents never used to hit me. hit someone/something with somethingHe hit the nail squarely on the head with the hammer.She hit him on the head with her umbrella.IDIOMS

hit/press/push the panic button

to react in a sudden or extreme way to something unexpected that has frightened you
The government pressed the panic button yesterday as the economy plunged deeper into crisis.hit/push the panic buttonpress/push the panic button
2 [transitive] hit something/someone to come against something or someone with force, especially causing damage or injuryThe bus hit the bridge.I was hit by a falling stone.3 [transitive] hit something (on/against something) to knock a part of your body against somethingHe hit his head on the low ceiling.4 [transitive, often passive] hit someone/something (of a bullet, bomb, etc. or a person using them) to reach and touch a person or thing suddenly and with forceThe town was hit by bombs again last night.He was hit by a sniper.


5 [transitive] hit something (+ adverb/preposition) to bring a bat, etc. against a ball and push it away with forceShe hit the ball too hard and it went out of the court.We've hit our ball over the fence!6 [transitive] hit something (sports) to score points by hitting a ballto hit a home run

have bad effect

7 [transitive, intransitive] hit (someone/something) to have a bad effect on someone or somethingThe tax increases will certainly hit the poor.His death didn't really hit me at first.Rural areas have been worst hit by the strike.Spain was one of the hardest hit countries.A tornado hit on Tuesday night.


8 [transitive, intransitive] hit (someone/something) to attack someone or somethingWe hit the enemy when they least expected it.


9 [transitive] hit something to reach a placeFollow this footpath and you'll eventually hit the road.The President hits town tomorrow.10 [transitive] hit something to reach a particular levelTemperatures hit 100° yesterday.The dollar hit a record low in trading today.


11 [transitive] hit something (informal) to experience something difficult or unpleasantWe seem to have hit a problem.Everything was going well but then we hit trouble.

suddenly realize

12 [transitive] hit someone (informal) to come suddenly into your mindI couldn't remember where I'd seen him before, and then it suddenly hit me.

press button

13 [transitive] hit something (informal) to press something such as a button to operate a machine, etc.Hit the brakes!

grab/hit/make the headlines

to be an important item of news in newspapers or on the radio or television
grab/make the headlineshit/make the headlines

hit (it) big

(informal) to be very successfulThe band has hit big in the U.S.hit bighit it big

hit the ceiling/roof

(informal) to suddenly become very angryhit the ceilinghit the roof

hit the deck/dirt/ground

(informal) to fall to the groundhit the deck/groundhit the dirt/ground

hit the ground running

(informal) to start doing something and continue very quickly and successfullyhit the ground running

hit the hay/sack

(informal) to go to bedhit the hayhit the sack

hit/strike home

if a remark, etc.hits/ strikes home, it has a strong effect on someone, in a way that makes them realize what the true facts of a situation are
Her face went pale as his words hit home.hit homestrike home

hit it

(informal) used to tell someone to start doing something, such as playing musicHit it, Louis!hit it

hit it off (with someone)

(informal) to have a good, friendly relationship with someoneWe hit it off right away.hit it offhit it off with

hit the jackpot

1 to make or win a lot of money quickly and unexpectedly2 to have great or unexpected successhit the jackpot

hit the nail on the head

to say something that is exactly right
hit the nail on the head

hit/touch a (raw/sensitive) nerve

to mention a subject that makes someone feel angry, upset, embarrassed, etc.
You touched a raw nerve when you mentioned his first wife.hit a nervehit a raw/sensitive nervetouch a nervetouch a raw/sensitive nerve

hit/strike pay dirt

(informal) to suddenly be in a successful situation, especially one that makes you richThe band really hit pay dirt with their last album.hit pay dirtstrike pay dirt

hit/strike the right/wrong note

to do, say, or write something that is suitable/not suitable for a particular occasion
It is a bizarre tale and the author hits just the right note of horror and disbelief.hit the right/wrong notestrike the right/wrong note

hit the road/trail

(informal) to start a triphit the roadhit the trail

hit the skids

(informal) to suddenly stop being successfulSales of vehicles hit the skids in January.hit the skids

hit the spot

(informal) if food or drink hits the spot, it is very satisfying and enjoyablehit the spot

hit the street(s)

1 to appear or become available to buyThese new summer styles should be hitting the streets soon.In spite of increased efforts by the narcotics bureau, new drugs hit the street every day.2 to go out into the streets of a city, doing something or looking for somethingThousands of demonstrators are getting ready to hit the streets in Washington, D.C.hit the streethit the streets

hit (your) stride

to begin to do something with confidence and at a good speed after a slow, uncertain start
After a nervous start, he finally hit his stride in the second set.hit stridehit your stride

hit a/the wall

to reach a point when you cannot continue or make any more progress
We hit a wall and we weren't scoring.I've hit a wall with my marathon training.What do you do when you hit the wall at work?hit a wallhit the wall

hit someone when they're down

to continue to hurt someone when they are already defeated
hit when they're down

hit someone where it hurts

to affect someone where they will feel it most
hit where it hurts

not know what hit you

(informal) to be so surprised by something that you do not know how to reactnot know what hit you

hit back (at someone/something)

to reply to attacks or criticismIn a TV interview she hit back at her critics. synonym retaliatehit backhit back at

hit on someone

(slang) to start talking to someone to show them that you are sexually attracted to themhit on

hit on/upon something

[no passive] to think of a good idea suddenly or by chanceShe hit upon the perfect title for her new novel.hit onhit upon

hit out (at someone/something)

to attack someone or something violently by fighting them or criticizing themI just hit out blindly in all directions.In a rousing speech the general hit out at racism in the armed forces.hit outhit out at

hit someone up for something


hit someone for something

(informal) to ask someone for moneyDoes he always hit you up for cash when he wants new clothes?hit up for

hit someone with something

(informal) to tell someone something, especially something that surprises or shocks themHow much is it going to cost? Come on, hit me with it!hit with
Usage noteUsage note: hitknock bang strike bump bashThese words all mean to come against something with a lot of force.hit to come against something with force, especially causing damage or injury: The boy was hit by a speeding car.knock to hit something so that it moves or breaks; to put someone or something into a particular state or position by hitting them/it: Someone had knocked a hole in the wall.bang to hit something in a way that makes a loud noise: The baby was banging the table with his spoon.strike (formal) to hit someone or something hard: The ship struck a rock.bump to hit someone or something accidentally: In the darkness I bumped into a chair.bash (informal) to hit against something very hard: I braked too late and bashed into the car in front of me.patternsto knock/bang/bump/bash into someone/somethingto knock/bang/bump/bash on somethingto hit/knock/bang/strike/bump/bash something with somethingto hit/strike the ground/floor/wall