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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

bit

I.adverb
COLLOCATIONS FROM OTHER ENTRIES
a bit depressedBritish Englishspoken:
▪ I felt a bit depressed because I was so short of money.
a bit of a chatspoken BrE:
▪ Perhaps I could have a bit of a chat with him.
a bit of a cheek
▪ It’s a bit of a cheek, asking me for money.
a bit of a misunderstandingBritish English
▪ I’m afraid it’s all a bit of a misunderstanding.
a bit/little scared
▪ I was always a little scared of my father.
a little/a bit nervous
▪ I was a little nervous before the interview.
a piece/bit of cheese
▪ Would you like a piece of cheese?
a piece/bit of chocolate
▪ Would you like a piece of chocolate?
a piece/bit of information (also an item of informationformal)
▪ He provided me with several useful pieces of information.
be a bit of a blowBritish Englishespecially spoken (= be disappointing or cause problems for you)
▪ The result was a bit of a blow for the team.
be a bit of a gamble (=involve a small amount of risk)
▪ It was a bit of a gamble putting him on the field, but he played well.
be (a bit of a) minefield
▪ Dating can be a bit of a minefield.
be a bit of a myth (=be not really true)
▪ The whole story is a bit of a myth.
be a bit of a shockBritish Englishespecially spoken (= be a shock, but not very serious or unpleasant)
▪ I wasn’t expecting to win, so it was a bit of a shock.
be a bit of an exaggerationinformal (= be a slight exaggeration)
▪ It's a bit of an exaggeration to say he's handsome.
bit part
▪ He’s had bit parts in a couple of soaps.
bit player
▪ Although he was NRC chairman, Hervey was strictly a bit player in government.
blow sb/sth to pieces/bits/smithereens
▪ A bomb like that could blow you to bits.
every bit as much as
▪ I loved him every bit as much as she did.
every last drop/bit/scrap etc (=all of something, including even the smallest amount of it)
▪ They made us pick up every last scrap of paper.
is a bit of a mess
▪ Sorry – the place is a bit of a mess.
I’m a bit shortBritish Englishspoken (= I haven’t got much money at the moment)
Let’s have a bit of hush
Let’s have a bit of hush, please, gentlemen.
see you in a bitBritish English (= see you soon)
threepenny bit
thrilled to bits/pieces (=very thrilled)
tiny bit
▪ She always felt a tiny bit sad.
went a bit mad (=spent a lot of money)
▪ We went a bit mad and ordered champagne.
PHRASES FROM OTHER ENTRIES
(a bit of) a mouthful
(it's) a bit thick
(just) that little bit better/easier etc
▪ We have put together a few of the most popular itineraries to help make your choice that little bit easier.
a bit of a lad
a bit of how's your father
a bit of hush
a bit of rough
▪ At the moment it looks more like a bit of rough pasture ... full of dandelions and clover patches.
a bit of skirt
a fair size/amount/number/bit/distance etc
▪ But a fair number of them went on to greater things.
▪ It prefers a fair amount of nutritious detritus.
▪ Scientists must proceed cautiously, moving ahead only with the assent of a fair number of their colleagues.
▪ Thanks to the inherently leaky nature of the water industry, there is already a fair amount of information to go on.
▪ That involved a fair amount of travel.
▪ There was a fair amount going on.
▪ They'd have a fair bit of tidying up to do before they left.
▪ You may also be involved in a fair amount of travel.
a little bit
▪ He was even maybe a little bit relieved, because immediately it was clear that Ernie was what she needed.
▪ I prefer to talk a little bit.
▪ I really just did it for a little bit, and then gave it up.
▪ There was, I suspect, a little bit of Otago isolationism involved.
a wee bit
▪ Don't you think her behavior is just a wee bit bizarre?
▪ As for the holiday, I agree with you, it sounds a wee bit unlikely.
▪ He is hapless, passive and maybe just a wee bit smug.
▪ It is a wee bit disconcerting when you can hear yourself think in a pub these days.
▪ Monica is a wee bit overweight.
▪ Reason I ask, Mr Rasmussen says you seemed a wee bit tipsy.
▪ There is no label on the bottle, it tastes a wee bit vinegary.
▪ We have been lacking a wee bit of professionalism recently.
▪ You might be just a wee bit too clever for your own good now.
be a bit much/be too much
be champing at the bit
▪ David is champing at the bit.
▪ Within three months Eva was champing at the bit.
be falling to pieces/bits
▪ The walls were all dirty and the furniture was falling to pieces.
▪ But most of the material was falling to pieces.
▪ The Soviet Union is falling to pieces; a bloody struggle for those pieces can not be ruled out.
▪ There's a difference between consciously colouring a passage and not being able to control a voice that is falling to bits.
▪ They would blaze into prominence just as the foreground planting was falling to pieces.
every bit as good/important etc
▪ Barbara was every bit as good as she sounded.
▪ Here, the Fund runs many family projects that are less well-known but doing work that is every bit as important.
▪ If you looked through a microscope you could see that they had cheekbones every bit as good as Hope Steadman's.
▪ In terms of predicting and controlling the social environment, high technology can quite clearly be every bit as important as brute force.
▪ It is for this reason that good balanced design is every bit as important as meticulous craftsmanship.
▪ It takes no more than five minutes and tastes every bit as good at the oven-baked variety.
▪ The explanation is every bit as important as the numbers!
fall to pieces/bits
▪ After he left, I fell to pieces.
▪ As a result, now that the autumn rains were here, it was already showing signs of falling to pieces.
▪ Being a super-duper well-'ard off-road jobbie, your machine can take a fair amount of punishment before falling to bits.
▪ He hated playing agony aunt but he couldn't afford to have Hirschfeldt falling to pieces.
▪ Supposing the union fell to pieces, these were the fracture lines along which it would naturally break.
▪ The media seemed to be willing the marriage to fall to pieces.
▪ The Soviet Union is falling to pieces; a bloody struggle for those pieces can not be ruled out.
▪ There's a difference between consciously colouring a passage and not being able to control a voice that is falling to bits.
it's (a little/bit) late in the day (to do sth)
not make a blind bit of difference
not take/pay a blind bit of notice
▪ For six years, the Government have not taken a blind bit of notice of the Audit Commission's report.
not the least/not in the least/not the least bit
quite a lot/bit/few
▪ A better day today, Miss Lavant wrote in her diary, quite a bit of sunshine.
▪ By no means, Watson; even now quite a few scientists continue to doubt.
▪ I lived quite a lot of my early childhood at the Thompsons' house behind a shop on Harehills Parade.
▪ Obviously, you have to wear quite a lot of protective clothing to minimise the risk of getting injured.
▪ Over 296 pages, Fallows cites quite a few.
▪ The man looks prosperous, like quite a few men.
▪ There's quite a bit of noise coming from the kitchens.
▪ There has been quite a lot of talk recently about adding enzymes to help the carp digest our sophisticated carp baits.
take sth to bits/pieces
▪ After all these years, I'd taken something to bits and successfully put it all back together again.
▪ Carter shrugged and fetching a, paraffin stove from inside a caravan began to take it to pieces.
▪ He learnt how to take a car to pieces.
▪ Most reputable dealers will take a computer to pieces for you.
▪ Operators decided to clean down equipment regularly, not just superficially, but by taking it to pieces.
▪ Unfortunately appearances has been misleading and heavy filling was found as they started to take it to bits.
the hair of the dog (that bit you)
with (any) luck/with a bit of luck
II.noun
COLLOCATIONS FROM CORPUS
■ ADJECTIVE
fair
▪ In the past I'd seen a fair bit of Lloyd.
▪ The uncertain nature of Internet connections still results in a fair bit of static at times.
▪ However, top of range is top of range in both cases and professional instruments cost a fair bit.
▪ I conduct executive searches for senior-level management, so I know a fair bit about how these companies are managed.
▪ They'd have a fair bit of tidying up to do before they left.
▪ New Labour comes in for a fair bit of his well-advertised stick.
▪ Like Storie Russell also did a fair bit of coaching.
▪ You do have to compromise a fair bit and I suppose that I would like more freedom than I've got.
little
▪ Every little bit helped and I was encouraged.
▪ So I smell a little bit.
▪ But this little bit they don't know about.
▪ I was normally not prone to astrological contemplations, but what harm could there be in a little bit of astrology?
▪ Tansy didn't approve of me one little bit, what with being from the circus and not paying for it.
▪ I crowed a little bit, but not much because, hey, I pick them to win it every year.
▪ He had a little bit of money his father had left him.
▪ Pittsburgh has gone to a little bit of a new look now with that wide receiver set they have.
tiny
▪ But still easy enough to get it just a tiny bit wrong.
▪ And maybe a tiny bit drunk?
▪ Collect together sequins, tiny glass beads, tiny shells, bits of lace and braid and ribbon.
▪ Which raises our opinion of Aldridge -- at least a tiny bit.
▪ It made her feel strong, invincible almost, and just a tiny bit as if she had drunk too much wine.
▪ One thing Abdul-Rauf has done is make us all think just a tiny bit.
▪ There's something slightly unbalanced about the whole composition, as if there's a tiny bit missing somewhere.
▪ She looked healthy and young and a tiny bit awkward.
wee
▪ As for the holiday, I agree with you, it sounds a wee bit unlikely.
▪ Reason I ask, Mr Rasmussen says you seemed a wee bit tipsy.
▪ We have been lacking a wee bit of professionalism recently.
▪ He is hapless, passive and maybe just a wee bit smug.
▪ Monica is a wee bit overweight.
▪ There is no label on the bottle, it tastes a wee bit vinegary.
▪ It is a wee bit disconcerting when you can hear yourself think in a pub these days.
▪ If you're not a lover of platform games it could be a wee bit tedious.
■ VERB
blow
▪ It must have more than compensated for being shot down, or blown to bits.
▪ He blew a bit of thistledown from the still-wet surface of his picture.
▪ On a raid over Essen the aircraft was blown to bits.
▪ The facades of neoclassic landmarks were blown to bits during the sectarian fighting.
▪ A bus shelter feet away was blown to bits.
▪ Eight of our people were blown to bits.
▪ Every few months a child is blown to bits.
▪ Auster laughed, and in that laugh everything was suddenly blown to bits.
EXAMPLES FROM OTHER ENTRIES
▪ 'Would you like a slice of cake?' 'I'll just have a little bit, please.'
▪ a 16-bit processor
▪ Alan did the easy bit -- it was me who did all the hard work!
▪ Have you got a bit of paper I can write your address on?
▪ I'd like to try that cake. Just give me a small bit please.
▪ I'll probably do a bit of gardening this weekend.
▪ I found some bits of glass in my sandwich.
▪ I was a bit late.
▪ I wouldn't give you two bits for that old book.
▪ My favourite bit is when they try to escape.
▪ Some bits of the book are actually quite funny.
▪ the bit of the garden where the fruit trees are
▪ The jumper was very cheap - it'll probably fall to bits the first time I wear it.
▪ There'll be a war, and we'll all be blown to bits!
▪ There were little bits of food all over the carpet.
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ All these bits and pieces washed ashore.
▪ He circled the house, looking in, and saw nothing but the bits and pieces of ordinary living.
▪ I hope this letter shows Rotties are not at all vicious but need a little bit of love and care.
▪ I mean that you did whatever you wanted without the slightest bit of concern as to how your behavior might affect others.
▪ I probably could, but I should get a bit of support from the script-writers.
▪ The bloke was living a bit of a fantasy life.
▪ The lantern swung on the beam, the glasses jumped on the table, and bits of earth fell from the ceiling.
▪ They looked every bit as scary to me as I had heard that they were from adults and other children.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Bit

Bit \Bit\, 3d sing. pr. of Bid, for biddeth. [Obs.]
--Chaucer.

Bit

Bit \Bit\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Bitted; p. pr. & vb. n. Bitting.] To put a bridle upon; to put the bit in the mouth of.

Bit

Bit \Bit\, imp. & p. p. of Bite.

Bit

Bit \Bit\, n. [OE. bite, AS. bita, fr. b[=i]tan to bite; akin to D. beet, G. bissen bit, morsel, Icel. biti. See Bite, v., and cf. Bit part of a bridle.]

  1. A part of anything, such as may be bitten off or taken into the mouth; a morsel; a bite. Hence: A small piece of anything; a little; a mite.

  2. Somewhat; something, but not very great.

    My young companion was a bit of a poet.
    --T. Hook.

    Note: This word is used, also, like jot and whit, to express the smallest degree; as, he is not a bit wiser.

  3. A tool for boring, of various forms and sizes, usually turned by means of a brace or bitstock. See Bitstock.

  4. The part of a key which enters the lock and acts upon the bolt and tumblers.
    --Knight.

  5. The cutting iron of a plane.
    --Knight.

  6. In the Southern and Southwestern States, a small silver coin (as the real) formerly current; commonly, one worth about 12 1/2 cents; also, the sum of 12 1/2 cents.

Bit

Bit \Bit\ (b[i^]t), n. [OE. bitt, bite, AS. bite, bite, fr. b[=i]tan to bite. See Bite, n. & v., and cf. Bit a morsel.]

  1. The part of a bridle, usually of iron, which is inserted in the mouth of a horse, and having appendages to which the reins are fastened.
    --Shak.

    The foamy bridle with the bit of gold.
    --Chaucer.

  2. Fig.: Anything which curbs or restrains.

Bit

Bit \Bit\ (Computers) [binary digit.]

  1. the smallest unit of information, equivalent to a choice between two alternatives, as yes or no; on or off.

  2. (Computers) the physical representation of a bit of information in a computer memory or a data storage medium. Within a computer circuit a bit may be represented by the state of a current or an electrical charge; in a magnetic storage medium it may be represented by the direction of magnetization; on a punched card or on paper tape it may be represented by the presence or absence of a hole at a particular point on the card or tape.

    Bit my bit, piecemeal.
    --Pope.

Bit

Bit \Bit\, n. In the British West Indies, a fourpenny piece, or groat.

Bit

Bite \Bite\ (b[imac]t), v. t. [imp. Bit (b[i^]t); p. p. Bitten (b[i^]t"t'n), Bit; p. pr. & vb. n. Biting.] [OE. biten, AS. b[=i]tan; akin to D. bijten, OS. b[=i]tan, OHG. b[=i]zan, G. beissen, Goth. beitan, Icel. b[=i]ta, Sw. bita, Dan. bide, L. findere to cleave, Skr. bhid to cleave.

  1. To seize with the teeth, so that they enter or nip the thing seized; to lacerate, crush, or wound with the teeth; as, to bite an apple; to bite a crust; the dog bit a man.

    Such smiling rogues as these, Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain.
    --Shak.

  2. To puncture, abrade, or sting with an organ (of some insects) used in taking food.

  3. To cause sharp pain, or smarting, to; to hurt or injure, in a literal or a figurative sense; as, pepper bites the mouth. ``Frosts do bite the meads.''
    --Shak.

  4. To cheat; to trick; to take in. [Colloq.]
    --Pope.

  5. To take hold of; to hold fast; to adhere to; as, the anchor bites the ground.

    The last screw of the rack having been turned so often that its purchase crumbled, . . . it turned and turned with nothing to bite.
    --Dickens.

    To bite the dust, To bite the ground, to fall in the agonies of death; as, he made his enemy bite the dust.

    To bite in (Etching), to corrode or eat into metallic plates by means of an acid.

    To bite the thumb at (any one), formerly a mark of contempt, designed to provoke a quarrel; to defy. ``Do you bite your thumb at us?''
    --Shak.

    To bite the tongue, to keep silence.
    --Shak.

Bit

Bite \Bite\ (b[imac]t), v. t. [imp. Bit (b[i^]t); p. p. Bitten (b[i^]t"t'n), Bit; p. pr. & vb. n. Biting.] [OE. biten, AS. b[=i]tan; akin to D. bijten, OS. b[=i]tan, OHG. b[=i]zan, G. beissen, Goth. beitan, Icel. b[=i]ta, Sw. bita, Dan. bide, L. findere to cleave, Skr. bhid to cleave.

  1. To seize with the teeth, so that they enter or nip the thing seized; to lacerate, crush, or wound with the teeth; as, to bite an apple; to bite a crust; the dog bit a man.

    Such smiling rogues as these, Like rats, oft bite the holy cords atwain.
    --Shak.

  2. To puncture, abrade, or sting with an organ (of some insects) used in taking food.

  3. To cause sharp pain, or smarting, to; to hurt or injure, in a literal or a figurative sense; as, pepper bites the mouth. ``Frosts do bite the meads.''
    --Shak.

  4. To cheat; to trick; to take in. [Colloq.]
    --Pope.

  5. To take hold of; to hold fast; to adhere to; as, the anchor bites the ground.

    The last screw of the rack having been turned so often that its purchase crumbled, . . . it turned and turned with nothing to bite.
    --Dickens.

    To bite the dust, To bite the ground, to fall in the agonies of death; as, he made his enemy bite the dust.

    To bite in (Etching), to corrode or eat into metallic plates by means of an acid.

    To bite the thumb at (any one), formerly a mark of contempt, designed to provoke a quarrel; to defy. ``Do you bite your thumb at us?''
    --Shak.

    To bite the tongue, to keep silence.
    --Shak.

Wikipedia

Bit (disambiguation)

A bit is a unit of information storage on a computer.

Bit or BIT may also refer to:

Bit (money)

The word bit is a colloquial expression referring to specific coins in various coinages throughout the world.

BIT (alternative information centre)

BIT was an information service, publisher, travel guide and social centre founded, in 1968, by John "Hoppy" Hopkins. It pre-dated the internet as a free service that would try to find any information asked for and derived its name from the smallest unit of computer information.

Bit (horse)

A bit is a type of horse tack used in equestrian activities, usually made of metal or a synthetic material, and is placed in the mouth of a horse or other equid and assists a rider in communicating with the animal. It rests on the bars of the mouth in an interdental region where there are no teeth. It is held on a horse's head by means of a bridle and has reins attached for use by a rider.

Bit

The bit is a basic unit of information in computing and digital communications. A bit can have only one of two values, and may therefore be physically implemented with a two-state device. These values are most commonly represented as either a . The term bit is a portmanteau of binary digit. In information theory, the bit is equivalent to the unit shannon, named after Claude Shannon.

The two values can also be interpreted as logical values (true/false, yes/no), algebraic signs (+/−), activation states (on/off), or any other two-valued attribute. The correspondence between these values and the physical states of the underlying storage or device is a matter of convention, and different assignments may be used even within the same device or program. The length of a binary number may be referred to as its bit-length.

In information theory, one bit is typically defined as the uncertainty of a binary random variable that is 0 or 1 with equal probability, or the information that is gained when the value of such a variable becomes known.

In quantum computing, a quantum bit or qubit is a quantum system that can exist in superposition of two classical (i.e., non-quantum) bit values.

The symbol for bit, as a unit of information, is either simply bit (recommended by the IEC 80000-13:2008 standard) or lowercase b (recommended by the IEEE 1541-2002 standard). A group of eight bits is commonly called one  byte, but historically the size of the byte is not strictly defined.

Bit (key)

The bit of a key is the part that actually engages the locking mechanism of a lock. (For example the tumblers in a pin tumbler lock.)

The exact geometry of modern keys is usually described by a code system. This is referred to as the bitting. The bitting instructs a locksmith how to cut a certain key, to replace a lost key or make an additional copy.

The bitting is usually a series of integers (e.g. 372164) that is usually translated from a key code chart or from a bitting code list to settings on specially designed key machines. In many code systems each digit in the bitting corresponds to a certain location on the key blank where a cut or notch is to be made and also indicates the necessary depth of the cut.

Many lock companies use their own proprietary code system. Depending on the maker, the bitting sequence can be from bow-to-tip (the bow being the larger, handle portion of the key), or can be from tip-to-bow. A smaller number is typically a shallower cut on the key, but not always. Assa bitting codes are reversed, where the higher the digit, the shallower the cut. One American manufacturer, Eagle Lock Company, used letters exclusively for bitting codes.

WordNet

bite

  1. v. to grip, cut off, or tear with or as if with the teeth or jaws; "Gunny invariably tried to bite her" [syn: seize with teeth]

  2. cause a sharp or stinging pain or discomfort; "The sun burned his face" [syn: sting, burn]

  3. penetrate or cut, as with a knife; "The fork bit into the surface"

  4. deliver a sting to; "A bee stung my arm yesterday" [syn: sting, prick]

  5. [also: bitten, bit]

bite

  1. n. a wound resulting from biting by an animal or a person

  2. a small amount of solid food; a mouthful; "all they had left was a bit of bread" [syn: morsel, bit]

  3. a painful wound caused by the thrust of an insect's stinger into skin [syn: sting, insect bite]

  4. a light informal meal [syn: collation, snack]

  5. (angling) an instance of a fish taking the bait; "after fishing for an hour he still had not had a bite"

  6. wit having a sharp and caustic quality; "he commented with typical pungency"; "the bite of satire" [syn: pungency]

  7. a strong odor or taste property; "the pungency of mustard"; "the sulfurous bite of garlic"; "the sharpness of strange spices" [syn: pungency, sharpness]

  8. the act of gripping or chewing off with the teeth and jaws [syn: chomp]

  9. a portion removed from the whole; "the government's weekly bite from my paycheck"

  10. [also: bitten, bit]

bit

  1. n. a small quantity; "a spot of tea"; "a bit of paper" [syn: spot]

  2. a small fragment of something broken off from the whole; "a bit of rock caught him in the eye" [syn: chip, flake, fleck, scrap]

  3. an indefinitely short time; "wait just a moment"; "it only takes a minute"; "in just a bit" [syn: moment, minute, second]

  4. an instance of some kind; "it was a nice piece of work"; "he had a bit of good luck" [syn: piece]

  5. piece of metal held in horse's mouth by reins and used to control the horse while riding; "the horse was not accustomed to a bit"

  6. a unit of measurement of information (from Binary + digIT); the amount of information in a system having two equiprobable states; "there are 8 bits in a byte"

  7. a small amount of solid food; a mouthful; "all they had left was a bit of bread" [syn: morsel, bite]

  8. a small fragment; "overheard snatches of their conversation" [syn: snatch]

  9. a short theatrical performance that is part of a longer program; "he did his act three times every evening"; "she had a catchy little routine"; "it was one of the best numbers he ever did" [syn: act, routine, number, turn]

  10. the cutting part of a drill; usually pointed and threaded and is replaceable in a brace or bitstock or drill press; "he looked around for the right size bit"

  11. [also: bitting, bitted]

bit

  1. See bite

  2. [also: bitting, bitted]

Wiktionary

bit

Etymology 1 adv. To a small extent; in a small amount (usually with "a"). n. 1 (senseid en metal in horse's mouth) A piece of metal placed in a horse's mouth and connected to reins to direct the animal. 2 A rotary cutting tool fitted to a drill, used to bore holes. 3 (context dated British English) A coin of a specified value. (Also formerly used for a nine-pence coin in the British Caribbean, and a fourpenny piece, or groat, in the British West Indies.) 4 (context US English) An eighth of a dollar. Note that there is no coin minted worth 12.5 cents. (When this term first came into use, the Spanish 8 reales coin was widely used as a dollar equivalent, and thus the 1 real coin was equivalent to 12.5 cents.) 5 (context historical US English) In the southern and southwestern states, a small silver coin (such as the real) formerly current; commonly, one worth about 12½ cents; also, the sum of 12½ cents. 6 A small amount of something. vb. (context transitive English) To put a bridle upon; to put the bit in the mouth of (a horse). Etymology 2

  1. 1 (label en colloquial) bitten. 2 (label en only in combination) Having been bitten. v

  2. 1 (en-simple past of: bite) 2 (context informal in US archaic in UK English) (past participle of bite English), bitten Etymology 3

    n. 1 (context mathematics computing English) A binary digit, generally represented as a 1 or 0. 2 (context computing English) The smallest unit of storage in a digital computer, consisting of a binary digit. 3 (context information theory cryptography English) Any datum that may take on one of exactly two values. 4 (context information theory English) A unit of measure for information entropy.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

bit

computerese word, 1948 abbreviation coined by U.S. computer pioneer John W. Tukey (1915-2000) of binary digit, probably chosen for its identity with bit (n.1).

bit

past tense of bite.

bit

"small piece," c.1200; related Old English bite "act of biting," and bita "piece bitten off," probably are the source of the modern words meaning "boring-piece of a drill" (1590s), "mouthpiece of a horse's bridle" (mid-14c.), and "a piece bitten off, morsel" (c.1000). All from Proto-Germanic *biton (cognates: Old Saxon biti, Old Norse bit, Old Frisian bite, Middle Dutch bete, Old High German bizzo "biting," German Bissen "a bite, morsel"), from PIE root *bheid- "to split" (see fissure).\n

\nMeaning "small piece, fragment" is from c.1600. Sense of "short space of time" is 1650s. Theatrical bit part is from 1909. Money sense in two bits, etc. is originally from Southern U.S. and West Indies, in reference to silver wedges cut or stamped from Spanish dollars (later Mexican reals); transferred to "eighth of a dollar."

Usage examples of "bit".

The snowflakes had become fine and dry, almost like bits of ice, and they seemed to be abrading the world, smoothing it the way that sandpaper smoothed wood, until eventually there would be no peaks and valleys, nothing but a featureless, highly polished plain as far as anyone could see.

Ego camps still absolutize the noosphere, the Eco camps are still absolutizing the biosphere, utterly unaware that this contributes every bit as much as the Ego camps to the destruction of the biosphere itself.

Is there ony bit ye can bide at, not abune twenty miles frae Woodilee?

Particle accelerators are based on the same principle: They hurl bits of matter such as electrons and protons at each other as well as at other targets, and elaborate detectors analyze the resulting spray of debris to determine the architecture of the objects involved.

Already a bit bewildered by their flurry of Classical references and Latin maxims, he was lost when Acer and George exchanged a few lines in French, watching out of the corner of their eyes to see if he had understood.

But all stories about Granny Aching had a bit of fairy tale about them.

Nearly a month of unrelieved campaigning up through the inhospitable mountains had given them the look of ruffiansmostly unwashed, untrimmed and unshaven, showy with gaudy bits of looted Ahrmehnee finery, acrawl with vermin.

The former did its own frantic sifting--something CIA automatically does, looking for that actionable bit of gold.

I dare say if those letters had ever reached their addressees, some of them would have been every bit as astonished as Lubov was and just about as likely to welcome their assignments.

Seemed like our little bit of land had been uprooted and had gone adrift, far out to sea.

Right now, my twin lies to the Council, saying that you threw me into the ocean and that I am adrift at sea, clinging to a bit of wood.

All at once the group opened up a bit and they saw a silvery, glittering aeroplane, agleam with new aluminum paint, throbbing and vibrating, as if anxious to be off.

Out in the amphitheater, the afanc finished chasing down the stray bits of bodies left floating in the water.

Bit Yakin, had come from afar with his servants, and entered the valley of Alkmeenon.

Confess that you have been the tiniest bit wrong in this little matter and turn the sunshine of your smile upon your children, I pray you, and in the meantime believe them, Always affectionately yours .