American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A natural or artificial hole or cavity in the ground.
- n. An excavation for the removal of mineral deposits; a mine.
- n. The shaft of a mine.
- n. A concealed hole in the ground used as a trap; a pitfall.
- n. Hell.
- n. A miserable or depressing place or situation.
- n. Slang The worst. Used with the: "New York politics are the pits” ( Washington Star).
- n. A small indentation in a surface: pits in a windshield.
- n. A natural hollow or depression in the body or an organ.
- n. A small indented scar left in the skin by smallpox or other eruptive disease; a pockmark.
- n. Informal An armpit. Often used in the plural.
- n. An enclosed, usually sunken area in which animals, such as dogs or gamecocks, are placed for fighting.
- n. The section directly in front of and below the stage of a theater, in which the musicians sit.
- n. Chiefly British The ground floor of a theater behind the stalls.
- n. The section of an exchange where trading in a specific commodity is carried on.
- n. The gambling area of a casino.
- n. A sunken area in a garage floor from which mechanics may work on cars.
- n. Sports An area beside an auto racecourse where cars may be refueled or serviced during a race. Used with the. Often used in the plural.
- n. Football The middle areas of the defensive and offensive lines.
- n. Botany A cavity in the wall of a plant cell where there is no secondary wall, as in fibers, tracheids, and vessels.
- v. To mark with cavities, depressions, or scars: a surface pitted with craters.
- v. To set in direct opposition or competition: a war that pitted brother against brother.
- v. To place, bury, or store in a pit.
- v. To become marked with pits.
- v. To retain an impression after being indented. Used of the skin.
- v. To stop at a refueling area during an auto race.
- n. The single central kernel or stone of certain fruits, such as a peach or cherry.
- v. To extract the pit from (a fruit).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A hole or cavity in the ground, whether natural or made by digging.
- n. Specifically.
- n. An excavation or hole in the ground, covered or otherwise concealed, for snaring wild beasts; a pitfall.
- n. A hole dug in the soil of a potato-or turnip-field, for storing potatoes, etc., during the winter. The vegetables stored are usually piled up to some height and covered with earth to keep out the frost.
- n. In horticulture, an excavation in the soil, generally covered by a glazed frame, for protecting tender plants, or for propagation.
- n. In founding, a cavity scooped in the floor to receive cast-metal.
- n. The shaft of a coal-mine, or the mine itself.
- n. A vat, such as is used in tanning, bleaching, dyeing, etc.
- n. A cavity or depression in the body: as, the pit of the stomach; the armpits.
- n. A very small depression or dent, such as that left on the flesh by a pustule of the small-pox; a dimple.
- n. In botany, one of the pores or thin places in the more or less lignified cell-walls of many plants. The bordered pits, which are especially characteristic of the wood of the Coniferæ, are composed of two concentric circles, which represent thin spots or pores in the walls of the tracheids. They are very regularly arranged.
- n. A hollow or cup.
- n. A deep place; a gulf; an abyss. Specifically— The grave.
- n. The abode of evil spirits; hell.
- n. An inclosed place or area for the exhibition of combats of dogs or cocks, or where dogs are trained or exhibited in killing rats: as, a dog-pit; a cock pit.
- n. That part of a theater which is on the floor of the house, somewhat below the level of the stage; and behind the usual station of the musicians. In the United Kingdom the name is now often given to the inferior seats behind the stalls. In the United States it has been superseded by orchestra or parquet.
- n. Those who occupy the pit in a theater; the people in the pit.
- n. That part of the floor of an exchange where a special kind of business is carried on: as, a grain-pit; a provision-pit.
- n. The cockpit of a ship.
- n. The framework in a belfry which supports the pivoted yoke of a swinging bell.
- To catch, lay, or bury in a pit.
- To form a little pit or hollow in; mark with little dents, as by the pustules of the smallpox.
- To impress with rounded cup-like hollows, as the mold for a metal casting which is to have rounded bosses on it.
- To put or set in the pit or area for fighting; match as contestants or opponents, one against another, as dogs or cocks: used figuratively of any competitors: generally followed by against.
- To become marked or spotted with pits or depressions; retain the mark of pressure by or as by the fingers: as, in dropsy the skin pits on pressure.
- n. The stone of a fruit, as of a cherry or plum.
- A Middle English and Scotch form of put.
- n. A cavity in the side of the head, between the eye and nostril, found in the poisonous snakes of the subfamily Crotalinæ, whence their name of pit-vipers. This pit is lined with membrane supplied with branches from the trigeminal nerve, but its exact function is not known. See cut under pit-viper
- n. A seed inside a fruit; a stone or pip inside a fruit.
- n. A shell in a drupe containing a seed.
- v. transitive To remove the stone from a stone fruit or the shell from a drupe.
- n. A hole in the ground.
- n. motor racing An area at a motor racetrack used for refueling and repairing the vehicles during a race.
- n. music A section of the marching band containing mallet percussion instruments and other large percussion instruments too large to march, such as the tam tam. Also, the area on the sidelines where these instruments are placed.
- n. A mine.
- n. archaeology A hole or trench in the ground, excavated according to grid coordinates, so that the provenance of any feature observed and any specimen or artifact revealed may be established by precise measurement.
- n. trading A trading pit.
- n. in the plural, with the, idiomatic, slang Something particularly unpleasant.
- n. The bottom part of.
- n. colloquial armpit
- n. aviation A luggage hold.
- v. transitive To make pits in.
- v. To put (a dog) into a pit for fighting.
- v. transitive To bring (something) into opposition with something else.
- v. intransitive, motor racing To return to the pits during a race for refuelling, tyre changes, repairs etc.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A large cavity or hole in the ground, either natural or artificial; a cavity in the surface of a body; an indentation.
- n. The shaft of a coal mine; a coal pit.
- n. A large hole in the ground from which material is dug or quarried; ; or in which material is made by burning.
- n. A vat sunk in the ground.
- n. Any abyss; especially, the grave, or hades.
- n. A covered deep hole for entrapping wild beasts; a pitfall; hence, a trap; a snare. Also used figuratively.
- n. A depression or hollow in the surface of the human body.
- n. The hollow place under the shoulder or arm; the axilla, or armpit.
- n. See Pit of the stomach (below).
- n. The indentation or mark left by a pustule, as in smallpox.
- n. Formerly, that part of a theater, on the floor of the house, below the level of the stage and behind the orchestra; now, in England, commonly the part behind the stalls; in the United States, the parquet; also, the occupants of such a part of a theater.
- n. An inclosed area into which gamecocks, dogs, and other animals are brought to fight, or where dogs are trained to kill rats.
- n. The endocarp of a drupe, and its contained seed or seeds; a stone
- n. A depression or thin spot in the wall of a duct.
- v. To place or put into a pit or hole.
- v. To mark with little hollows, as by various pustules.
- v. To introduce as an antagonist; to set forward for or in a contest.
- n. a trap in the form of concealed hole
- n. (auto racing) an area at the side of a racetrack where the race cars are serviced and refueled
- n. lowered area in front of a stage where an orchestra accompanies the performers
- n. a concavity in a surface (especially an anatomical depression)
- n. a surface excavation for extracting stone or slate
- n. (Christianity) the abode of Satan and the forces of evil; where sinners suffer eternal punishment
- n. a workplace consisting of a coal mine plus all the buildings and equipment connected with it
- v. set into opposition or rivalry
- n. a sizeable hole (usually in the ground)
- n. (commodity exchange) the part of the floor of a commodity exchange where trading in a particular commodity is carried on
- v. remove the pits from
- v. mark with a scar
- n. the hard inner (usually woody) layer of the pericarp of some fruits (as peaches or plums or cherries or olives) that contains the seed
- n. an enclosure in which animals are made to fight
- From Middle English, from Old English pytt ("pit, hole in the ground, well, grave, pustule, pockmark"), from Proto-Germanic *putjaz (“pit, well”), from Latin puteus ("trench, pit, well"), from Proto-Indo-European *pewǝ- (“to beat, hew”). Cognate with West Frisian pet ("pit"), Eastern Frisian put ("pit"), Dutch put ("well, pockmark"), German Pfütze ("puddle, pool"), Danish pyt ("pit"), Icelandic pytt ("pit"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English pytt, ultimately from Latin puteus, well. Dutch, from Middle Dutch. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The boxes and other parts of the house were crammed, with the exception of the pit, which looked beggarly; on which an actor observed to a brother of the sock, "We've no _pit_ to-night.”
“Outside of what we term pit and dress circle is a partition, three or four feet high, dividing them from a promenade ten or fifteen feet wide.”
“Moreover, the term pit bull isn't really a breed at all.”
“Barber told the AJC that his intention was to let the East Point attorney know people were talking about her behind her back, and the term pit bull was meant as a complimentary description of the way she did her job.”
“Dozens of groups such as The Truth About Pit Bulls counter what they call pit bull propagandists with harrowing tales and examples of brutality.”
“Soon it becomes clear that the task of digging the pit is unending — almost by definition, since it must accommodate the whole (no pun intended) of the future: the pit is a inverted tower of”
“Across from the pit is a stone fire ring in the shape of a pentagram.”
“The Polunsky dungeon is what I call the pit of hopelessness.”
“A female burglary suspect was pursued by the California Highway Patrol last night, weaving through heavy traffic from Van Nuys to San Clemente, after an hour and a half, police performed what they call a pit maneuver -- in other words hitting the suspect's car at a high speed to spin it around.”
“If you are like most salespeople, you have an intimate knowledge of pits, because you spend the bulk of your prospecting time doing what I call pit polishing.”
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