Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The sharp part of a tool, such as the cutting edge of a knife or ax.
  • noun A pointed and threaded tool for drilling and boring that is secured in a brace, bitstock, or drill press.
  • noun The part of a key that enters the lock and engages the bolt and tumblers.
  • noun The tip of the mouthpiece on a pipe or a cigarette or cigar holder.
  • noun The metal mouthpiece of a bridle, serving to control, curb, and direct an animal.
  • noun Something that controls, guides, or curbs.
  • transitive verb To place a bit in the mouth of (a horse, for example).
  • transitive verb To check or control with or as if with a bit.
  • transitive verb To make or grind a bit on (a key).
  • idiom (have/take) To be uncontrollable; cast off restraint.
  • noun A binary digit, having either the value 0 or 1, used to store or represent data.
  • noun A small portion, degree, or amount.
  • noun A brief amount of time; a moment.
  • noun A short scene or episode in a theatrical performance.
  • noun A bit part.
  • noun An entertainment routine given regularly by a performer; an act.
  • noun A particular kind of action, situation, or behavior.
  • noun A matter being considered.
  • noun Informal An amount equal to one eighth of a dollar.
  • noun Chiefly British A small coin.
  • idiom (a bit) To a small degree; somewhat.
  • idiom (bit by bit) Little by little; gradually.
  • idiom (do (one's) bit) To do one's part or contribute one's share.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of biting; a bite.
  • noun The action of biting food; eating; grazing.
  • noun The biting, cutting, or penetrating action of an edged weapon or tool.
  • noun The biting, catching, holding, cutting, or boring part of a tool.
  • noun A boring-tool used in a carpenter's brace.
  • noun The metal part of a bridle which is inserted in the mouth of a horse, with the appendages (rings, etc.) to which the reins are fastened.
  • noun The joint of an umbrella.
  • noun A hammer used by masons for dressing granite and for rough picking.
  • noun In music, a short piece of tube used to alter slightly the pitch of such wind-instruments as the trumpet, cornet-à-pistons, etc.
  • noun A Middle English and Anglo-Saxon contraction of biddeth, third person singular indicative present of bid.
  • noun An obsolete spelling of bitt.
  • noun A Middle English form of butt.
  • noun In mining: The cutting edge of a drill for boring rock by hand or by machine drilling.
  • noun A sharpened steel bar used for drilling rock by hand or by machine.
  • noun Preterit and occasional past participle of bite.
  • noun In ceramics, a small piece of stone for separating the pieces of pottery in the kiln: used before the invention of stilts, cock-spurs, and triangles. Ware so made was called bit-stone ware.
  • To put a bridle upon; put the bit in the mouth of (a horse); accustom to the bit; hence, to curb; restrain.
  • noun A portion of food bitten off; a mouthful; a bite.
  • noun A morsel or a little piece of food.
  • noun Hence A small quantity of food; a modicum or moderate supply of provisions: as, to take a bit and a sup.
  • noun A small piece or fragment of anything; a small portion or quantity; a little: as, a bit of glass; a bit of land; a bit of one's mind.
  • noun Crisis; nick of time.
  • noun A small piece of ground; a spot.
  • noun Any small coin: as, a fourpenny-bit; a six-penny-bit.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English bite, from Old English, act of biting; see bheid- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[From b(inary dig)it.]

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

[Middle English bite, morsel, from Old English bita; see bheid- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

See bite

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English bita and bite - all from Proto-Germanic *bitô, from Proto-Indo-European *bheid- (“to split”).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Coined by John Tukey in 1946 as an abbreviation of binary digit, probably influenced by connotations of “small portion”. First used in print 1948 by Claude Shannon. Compare byte and nybble.

Examples

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  • Aren't you a bit ashamed to bit** about income taxes when CHILDREN

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  • I've edited it a bit to make it a * bit* more cohesive, and while it isn't as structured as I would like, these are my thoughts about the exponential future of the web and a little bit about how that future might also impinge on the future of government ...

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  • Export RGB in 8 bit, 15 bit+ (i.e. Photoshop 16 bit), true 16 bit, or scaled to 100\%

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  • Export RGB in 8 bit, 15 bit+ (i.e. Photoshop 16 bit), true 16 bit, or scaled to 100\%

    VersionTracker: Mac OS X

  • Export RGB in 8 bit, 15 bit+ (i.e. Photoshop 16 bit), true 16 bit, or scaled to 100\%

    VersionTracker: Mac OS X

  • Kippletringan was distant at first ‘a gey bit; ’ then the ‘gey bit’ was more accurately described, as ‘ablins three mile; ’ then the ‘three mile’ diminished into ‘like a mile and a bittock; ’ then extended themselves into ‘four mile or there-awa; ’ and, lastly, a female voice, having hushed a wailing infant which the spokeswoman carried in her arms, assured Guy Mannering, ‘It was a weary lang gate yet to Kippletringan, and unco heavy road for foot passengers.

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Comments

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  • the mouthpiece of a bridle.

    July 17, 2007

  • A mass of molten glass, usually small and freshly gathered from the furnace. In a team of glassworkers, the bit gatherer removes bits from the furnace, using a bit iron. Also known as a gob.

    November 9, 2007

  • also a language of Laos

    June 15, 2009

  • In Slovene, this word means "being", as in the Slovene name of Heidegger's Bit in čas (Being and Time). And, it's a feminine noun with -ø ending in the nominative singular and -í ending in the genitive singular!

    March 8, 2011