Definitions

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

  • n. The least bit; an iota: doesn't give a whit what was said; not a whit afraid.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The smallest part or particle imaginable; an iota.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The smallest part or particle imaginable; a bit; a jot; an iota; -- generally used in an adverbial phrase in a negative sentence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The smallest part, particle, bit, or degree; a little; a jot, tittle, or iota: often used adverbially, and generally with a negative.
  • An obsolete or dialectal form (surviving especially in old compounds, as whitleather, Whitsun, etc.) of white.

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

  • n. a tiny or scarcely detectable amount

Etymologies

Middle English, amount, from Old English wiht; see wight1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The mourning warbler's song, as I heard it, was like this: _Whit whit whit_, _wit wit_.

    Birds in the Bush

  • This is his song, or what answers to a song, but I have seen him when he would do nothing but repeat incessantly a quick trisyllabic call, _whit, whit, whit_; corresponding, I suppose, to the well-known _whit_ with which the phoebe sometimes busies himself in a similar manner.

    The Foot-path Way

  • John Cusack, equipped with his typical black suit and precision-guided whit, is the assassin, Brand Hauser, who has been hired to take out a high-profile target, Omar Sharif (not the real one).

    Kevin's Review: War, Inc. - A Funny Shell Company « FirstShowing.net

  • I was not happy about Wendys comments, although i do agree that whit is not saying "I was a coke/crack addict, so there." but the thing is, everyone deals with shit in their own way and for anyone to attack a person in recovery ... thats shitty of Wendy.

    Her grooves are great

  • If you like, you can read it here, but even if you don’t, and even if no-body reads it at all, that won’t detract a whit from a feeling of personal achievement that will, for me, mark one of the more satisfying of my life.

    Writing

  • Although I do not resile any one whit from the proposition that Labour’s volte-face on of holding a referendum on the EU Constitution is the most dishonourable and dishonest political act since the Munich crisis of 1938 (which at least had the merit of not surrendering us to foreign control), I nonetheless understand what has driven them into this corner.

    Archive 2008-01-20

  • No lesser a whit were the wealth-goods they dight him

    The Tale of Beowulf Sometime King of the Folk of the Weder Geats

  • See here what is the comfort and privilege of such as are in a justified state; they are washed by Christ, and are clean every whit, that is, they are graciously accepted of God, as if they were so; and, though they offend, yet they need not, upon their repentance, be again put into a justified state, for then should they often be baptized.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • A whit is a little bit, an iota, as in \not a whit\ meaning not at all.

    RealClimate

  • I get blogged on the Volokh. com by an ananymous blog ID named "whit" with use of the English language appearing very much like that used in several Orders in our vessel case involving Judge

    Balkinization

Comments

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  • "Nor was the American boy of 1870 a whit less cruel than is the American boy of 1920; and he was none the less loath to show that cruelty."
    - Edward William Bok, 'The Americanization of Edward Bok'.

    September 20, 2009