Definition of bit noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//bɪt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪt//
    Computer programming, Equine sports
    jump to other results
    small amount
  1. 1  a bit [singular] (used as an adverb) (especially British English) rather synonym a little These trousers are a bit tight. ‘Are you tired?’ ‘Yes, I am a bit.’ It costs a bit more than I wanted to spend. I can lend you fifty pounds, if you want. That should help a bit. British/​Americana bit / a little In British English it is common to use a bit to mean ‘slightly’ or ‘to a small extent’:These shoes are a bit tight. I’ll be a bit later home tomorrow. Can you turn the volume up a bit? It is more common in North American English to say a little, or (informal) a little bit. You can also use these phrases in British English:These shoes are a little bit too tight. I’ll be a little later home tomorrow. Can you turn the volume up a little bit?
  2. 2  a bit [singular] (especially British English) a short time or distance Wait a bit! Can you move up a bit? Greg thought for a bit before answering.
  3. 3  [countable] bit of something (especially British English) a small amount or piece of something some useful bits of information With a bit of luck, we'll be there by 12. I've got a bit of shopping to do. a bit of cake bits of grass/paper
  4. part of something
  5. 4  [countable] (especially British English) a part of something larger The best bit of the holiday was seeing the Grand Canyon. The school play was a huge success—the audience roared with laughter at all the funny bits.
  6. large amount
  7. 5[singular] a bit (of something) (informal, especially British English) a large amount ‘How much does he earn?’ ‘Quite a bit!’ The new system will take a bit of getting used to (= it will take a long time to get used to).
  8. computing
  9. 6 [countable] the smallest unit of information used by a computer See related entries: Computer programming
  10. for horse
  11. 7[countable] a metal bar that is put in a horse’s mouth so that the rider can control it See related entries: Equine sports
  12. tool
  13. 8 [countable] a tool or part of a tool for drilling (= making) holes see also drill
  14. money
  15. 9[countable] (North American English, informal) an amount of money equal to 12½ cents
  16. sexual organs
  17. 10bits [plural] (British English, informal) a person’s sexual organs
  18. see also bit, bite, bitten
    Word Originsenses 1 to 5 and senses 9 to 10 Old English bita ‘bite, mouthful’, of Germanic origin; related to German Bissen, also to bite.senses 7 to 8 Old English bite ‘biting, a bite’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch beet and German Biss, also to bite.sense 6 1940s: blend of binary and digit.Extra examples ‘Has it been difficult for you at work?’ ‘Just a bit= it has been very difficult.’ A big bit of stone had fallen off the wall. All the crockery had been smashed to bits. He helped me a little bit in the afternoon. He managed to get odd bits of work, but no regular job. I picked up a bit of information that might interest you. I read it, but I missed out the boring bits. I’m not the least bit interested in football. I’m still just a bit confused. I’m worried because bits keep falling off my car. I’ve bought a nice bit of fish for dinner. It rained a fair bit during the night. Listen to the interview again and pick out the bits you want to use in the article. My briefcase eventually fell to bits. My mother has some bits and pieces to give you. She tore the letter up and threw it on the floor. Marion stooped to pick up the bits. The new system will take quite a bit of getting used to. We made a good bit of progress. A big bit of plaster just fell down from the ceiling. Can you save me a bit? Do you want a bit of pizza? Here’s a bit of news that may interest you. I’ve got a bit of shopping to do. With a bit of luck, we’ll be there by 12. You’ve got bits of grass in your hair.Idioms (British English, informal) to be very sad or worried Inside I'm in bits because I miss him so much. I’m in bits about the problems I’ve had. She was in bits over her decision to quit. (informal, disapproving) behaviour or ideas that are typical of a particular group, type of person or activity She couldn't accept the whole drug-culture bit. a piece at a time; gradually He assembled the model aircraft bit by bit. Bit by bit memories of the night came back to me. (informal) not fair or not reasonable It's a bit much calling me at three in the morning. The noise from next door is getting a bit much. (informal, especially British English) used when talking about unpleasant or negative things or ideas, to mean ‘rather a…’ We may have a bit of a problem on our hands. The rail strike is a bit of a pain. (British English, slang) a person that you think is sexually attractive Dave’s new girlfriend is a bit of all right, isn’t she? See related entries: Attractiveness (British English, slang) a person of a low social class who has a sexual relationship with somebody of a higher class (British English, slang) the boyfriend or girlfriend of somebody who is already married or in a steady sexual relationship with somebody else Is he your bit on the side? (British English, informal) small objects or items of various kinds She stuffed all her bits and pieces into a bag and left. (informal) impatient to do or start doing something Gerry’s champing at the bit to go to college. (informal) to do your share of a task We can finish this job on time if everyone does their bit.
    every bit as good, bad, etc. (as somebody/something)
    jump to other results
    just as good, bad, etc.; equally good, bad, etc. Rome is every bit as beautiful as Paris. He’s every bit as clever as she is.
    get the bit between your teeth
    jump to other results
    (informal) to become very enthusiastic about something that you have started to do so that you are unlikely to stop until you have finished
    not a bit, not one (little) bit
    jump to other results
    not at all; not in any way ‘Are you cold?’ ‘Not a bit.’ It's not a bit of use (= there's no point in) complaining. I don't like that idea one bit.
    (informal, British English) used for saying that something that you had expected to happen did not happen You'd think she'd be tired after the journey but not a bit of it!
    not a blind bit/the blindest bit of…
    jump to other results
    (British English, informal) not any He didn't take a blind bit of notice of me (= he ignored me). It won't make the blindest bit of difference (= it will make no difference at all).
    1. 1into small pieces The book fell to bits in my hands. She took the engine to bits, then carefully put it together again.
    2. 2(informal) very much I love my kids to bits. She was thrilled to bits when I said I'd come.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: bit