Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


"General Grant hits and hammers, and I guess that's what war is," he said.

I'll bet two bits you don't know what that means, Pete; but it hits you off exactly.

I don't know how it hits you, Grant—but there's something fishy about it.

"But I think that hits all men," said Larcher, interrupting himself.

There a man cannot fail of God, but finds and hits upon him most certainly.

"He'll quit about the time he hits the head of the stretch," said Engle.

Soon both of them were soaked from top to bottom and it was impossible to count the hits.

He's been quiled up in his blankets with the rhoomatism ever since he hits camp.

He can hear an echo as the sound bounces around and hits a “drum.”

The Irish farmer is with the poet, who hits his harrowing anguish to a hair.


late Old English hyttan, hittan "come upon, meet with, fall in with, 'hit' upon," from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse hitta "to light upon, meet with," also "to hit, strike;" Swedish hitta "to find," Danish and Norwegian hitte "to hit, find," from Proto-Germanic *hitjanan. Related: Hitting. Meaning shifted in late Old English period to "strike," via "to reach with a blow or missile," and replaced Old English slean in this sense. Original sense survives in phrases such as hit it off (1780, earlier in same sense hit it, 1630s) and is revived in hit on (1970s).

Underworld slang meaning "to kill by plan" is 1955 (as a noun in this sense from 1970). To hit the bottle "drink alcohol" is from 1889. To hit the nail on the head (1570s) is from archery. Hit the road "leave" is from 1873; to hit (someone) up "request something" is from 1917. Hit and run is 1899 as a baseball play, 1924 as a driver failing to stop at a crash he caused. To not know what hit (one) is from 1923.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.