Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • pro. Used to refer to that one previously mentioned. Used of a nonhuman entity; an animate being whose sex is unspecified, unknown, or irrelevant; a group of objects or individuals; an action; or an abstraction: polished the table until it shone; couldn't find out who it was; opened the meeting by calling it to order.
  • pro. Used as the subject of an impersonal verb: It is snowing.
  • pro. Used as an anticipatory subject or object: Is it certain that they will win?
  • pro. Used as an anticipatory subject to emphasize a term that is not itself a subject: It was on Friday that all the snow fell.
  • pro. Used to refer to a general condition or state of affairs: She couldn't stand it.
  • pro. Used to refer to a crucial situation or culmination: This is it—the rivals are finally face to face. That's it! I won't tolerate any more foolishness.
  • pro. Informal Used to refer to something that is the best, the most desirable, or without equal: He thinks he's it. That steak was really it!
  • n. Games A player, as in tag, who attempts to find or catch the other players.
  • n. An animal that has been neutered: The cat is an it.
  • idiom with it Slang Aware of or knowledgeable about the latest trends or developments.
  • idiom with it Slang Mentally responsive and perceptive: I'm just not with it today.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • pro. The third-person singular personal pronoun used to refer to an inanimate object, to an inanimate thing with no or unknown sex or gender.
  • pro. The third-person singular personal pronoun used to refer to an animate entity of unknown gender.
  • pro. Used to refer to oneself when identifying oneself, often on the phone, but not limited to this situation.
  • pro. The impersonal pronoun, used without referent as the subject of an impersonal verb or statement. (known as the dummy pronoun or weather it)
  • pro. The impersonal pronoun, used as a placeholder for a delayed subject, or less commonly, object. (known as the dummy pronoun or, more formally in linguistics, a syntactic expletive)
  • pro. That which; what.
  • n. One who is neither a he nor a she; a creature; a dehumanized being.
  • n. The person who chases and try to catch the other players in the playground game of tag.
  • n. The game of tag.
  • adj. most fashionable.
  • abbr. Italian.
  • abbr. Italy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pro. The neuter pronoun of the third person, corresponding to the masculine pronoun he and the feminine she, and having the same plural (they, their or theirs, them).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A personal pronoun, of the third person and neuter gender, corresponding to the masculine he and the feminine she, and having the same plural forms, they, their, them.
  • As the nominative of an impersonal verb or verb used impersonally, when the thing for which it stands is expressed or implied by the verb itself: as, it rains (the rain rains or is falling); it is blowing (the wind is blowing).
  • As the grammatical subject of a clause of which the logical subject is a phrase or clause, generally following, and regarded as in apposition with it: as, it is said that he has won the prize; he is poor, it is true, but he is honest; it behooves you to bestir yourself; it is they that have done this mischief.
  • After an intransitive verb, used transitively for the kind of action denoted or suggested by the verb: as, to foot it all the way to town.
  • The possessive case, originally his (see he), now its; the form it without the possessive suffix having been used for a time in works written during the period of transition from the use of his to that of its.
  • In children's games, that player who is called upon to perform some particular task, as in I-spy or tag the one who must catch or touch the other players: as, he's it; who's it?
  • A common abbreviation of Italian.
  • A dialectal (Scotch) form of -ed, -ed.
  • n. An abbreviation of Italy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the branch of engineering that deals with the use of computers and telecommunications to retrieve and store and transmit information

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English hit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English hit, from Proto-Germanic *hit (“this, this one”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱe-, *ḱey- (“this, here”). Cognate with West Frisian it ("it"), Low German it ("it"), Dutch het ("it"), German es ("it"). More at he. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The knife didn't fit in your hand like any knife though,  it fit like the woodworker sanded it to the lines and curves of your own palm.

    'Bout Apples

  • “Contrary to the talk [of the law's critics], ” York declared, “it is a reasonable, limited, carefully crafted measure ... that went to great lengths to make sure it is constitutional.

    Arizona's Law: Anti-Immigrant And Anti-Constitutional

  • 'The soundtrack in my head is Roy Orbison singing \ "It\'s over, it\'s ooooooover, \" and it doesn\'t matter that the \ "it\" for him was a love affair and not a college app.

    Karen Stabiner: The College Insider: Admissions Freak-Out Countdown #9 - The Post-App, Pre-Notification Sounds Of Silence, Unless You're A Junior.

  • This concept is popular with investors who want to “set it and forget it” as well as those who want a more conservative mix in retirement.

    Bad Information Leads To Common Financial Mistakes

  • By taking just an hour to create a similar “set it and forget it” plan for the rest of your finances, you can set yourself up for a lifetime of financial success while saving yourself from the unnecessary heartaches, stress, and apologies that managing money can otherwise entail.

    Five Steps For Building Wealth Automatically

  • I have my fingers crossed that this series will continue to gain momentum and press as it progresses..it has the potential to become one great big fantastic pun intended epic fantasy.

    Quick Take: Dragonfly Falling by Adrian Tchaikovsky

  • I've tried 321 different review formats over the last 2 3/4 years, and while it helps sometimes..it still doesn't solve the problem.

    Archive 2010-04-01

  • Speaking of epic ,mine was piled so high it stuck out of the water..it stunk like ...

    Hacking Away: Epic Schemes and Epic Rides

  • Light informed them of the frightening event long before any revealing noise, but the noise didn't just lie down, and instead rumbled its immense way across space, gaining if anything it   seemed rather than losing in mass, before finally rolling hugely over the   humble world, flattening all other sound and terrifying everything upon it evolved enough to have got as far as experiences like terror.

    Encasement

  • And as soon as they got assimilated into "my stuff", they became the baggage that I literally carry with me from place to place *because I have always had it and therefore it is part of who I am because I have always had it*.

    Galactic Suburbia Episode 7

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Thanks for that :)

    January 21, 2011

  • Not related to Latin id, despite the apparently obvious connexion via Grimm's Law. The Old English was hit, the h being lost in Middle English. This makes it related to he, both from a pre-Germanic *k- root (not as far as I know represented in Latin1). The neuter ending -t is however cognate with the -d of Latin id, quid, illud etc.

    1. Unless it's the deictic -c(e) of hic, sic.

    January 20, 2011

  • Possibly from the latin word 'id'?

    January 19, 2011

  • What Clara Bow was said to have.

    September 9, 2008

  • A dynamic, indefinable quality. A certain je ne sais quoi.

    September 9, 2008

  • Weirdnet offers just the two definitions...

    July 23, 2008

  • Now bracketed jenn.

    July 23, 2008

  • non compos mentis?

    July 23, 2008

  • Number 3
    (non compos mentis, got eight kids already)
    asked me when 'it' would be all right again.
    I said 'If you endeavour to avoid
    sexual intercourse for about two nights...'
    She said 'He won't wait. He will have his rights.'

    - Peter Reading, Talking Shop, from C, 1984

    July 23, 2008