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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


a bird flaps its wings (=it moves its wings up and down)
▪ The baby birds were trying to flap their wings.
a bird lays its eggs
▪ The bird lays a single egg on the ground.
a cow/cat etc swishes its tail (=quickly moves it from side to side)
▪ The cow wandered off, swishing her tail.
a dog wags its tail (=moves its tail from side to side to show pleasure)
▪ The dog stood up and wagged his tail.
a dog wags its tail/its tail wags
▪ Domino rushed to meet her, tail wagging with excitement.
a dog wags its tail/its tail wags
▪ Domino rushed to meet her, tail wagging with excitement.
a tree loses/sheds its leaves (=the leaves come off the tree)
▪ Most trees shed their leaves in the autumn.
ahead of your/its time (=very advanced or new, and not understood or accepted)
▪ Coleridge was in many ways far ahead of his time.
be at its peak
▪ The strawberry season is now at its peak.
beat its wings (=move them in a regular way while flying)
▪ The female beats her wings as fast as 500 times a second.
break free of/slip its moorings
▪ The great ship slipped her moorings and slid out into the Atlantic.
by its very nature
▪ Capitalist society is by its very nature unstable.
deliver on its promises
▪ The company will deliver on its promises.
enter its third week/sixth day/second year etc
▪ The talks have now entered their third week.
flap its wings (=move them)
▪ The ducks woke up and flapped their wings.
flutter its wings (=move them quickly)
▪ I heard some birds fluttering their wings outside the window.
fold its wings
▪ Gannets fold their wings and plummet like an arrow into the sea to catch their prey.
fulfil your/its promise (also live up to your/its promise) (= be as good as expected)
▪ This young player has begun to fulfil his promise.
▪ The rest of this movie never quite lives up to the promise of that opening moment.
has its roots in
▪ Jazz has its roots in the folk songs of the southern states of the US.
have its merits (=have some good qualities)
▪ Each idea has its merits.
have its origin in sth (=begin to exist)
▪ The ceremony has its origins in medieval times.
in its death throes
▪ The peace pact seems to be in its death throes.
in its infancy
▪ Genetic engineering is still in its infancy.
its rightful owner
▪ I’ll return the money to its rightful owner.
judge sth on its merits (=according to what you see when you look at it, rather than what people tell you)
▪ The arguments should be judged on their merits.
live up to its reputation (=be as good as people say it is)
▪ New York certainly lived up to its reputation as an exciting city.
lose its importance
▪ The island lost its importance when trade routes changed.
lost its savour
▪ Life seemed to have lost its savour for him.
of its/their kind
▪ It is the biggest centre of its kind.
opened its doors
▪ The centre has been a great success since it opened its doors a year ago.
owe its origins to sth (=used to explain how something began to exist)
▪ a government which owes its origins to revolution
reach its zenith/be at its zenith
▪ The Roman Empire reached its zenith around the year 100.
reach its zenith/be at its zenith
▪ The Roman Empire reached its zenith around the year 100.
reached its crescendo
▪ The campaign reached its crescendo in the week of the election.
restored to its former glory
▪ a Victorian fireplace restored to its former glory
shed its load (=the load had fallen off)
▪ The lorry had shed its load.
snaking its way
▪ The train was snaking its way through the mountains.
spread/open its wings
▪ The dragon spread its wings and gave an experimental flap.
sth holds its value (=its value does not fall over time)
▪ Good quality furniture should hold its value.
sth loses its charm
▪ He was getting older, and travel was losing its charm.
sth takes/runs its course (=develops in the usual or natural way)
▪ There was nothing we could do except watch the illness run its course.
stretch its wings (=open them completely)
▪ The cage was so small the birds could not even stretch their wings.
trace its origins to sth (=used to say that something can find evidence that it began to exist at a particular time or in a particular place)
▪ The Roman Catholic Church traces its origins back to the 4th century.
wing its/their way to/across etc sth
▪ planes winging their way to exotic destinations
work (its way) loose
▪ One of the screws must have worked loose.
a leopard can't change its spots
a life of its own
▪ He still wears a sailor suit, the cowlick at his hairline gives his forelock a life of its own.
▪ His hands windmill in a frenetic semaphore and his body shifts in ceaseless motion, with a life of its own.
▪ Its Studio Theatre has a life of its own at the forefront of creative theatre.
▪ Now the Vaccines for Children program has become a new bureaucratic monster with a life of its own.
▪ She watched it with mild curiosity; it seemed to have a life of its own.
▪ Tamriel is a self-sufficient world abuzz with a life of its own.
▪ The ball seemed to have acquired a life of its own.
▪ The Negro Plot took on a life of its own.
ahead of your/its time
▪ Considered 33 years later, that ad was light-years ahead of its time.
▪ Hyde Park was a school way ahead of its time.
▪ It was about 70 years ahead of its time in its feminism and its poetics, so this is its time.
▪ Of course, Pollock's historicism can he misleading, particularly when it implies that art can be ahead of its time.
▪ Sketchpad was not only the first drawing program, but was arguably the best, absurdly ahead of its time.
▪ The idea was way ahead of its time.
▪ The musical was ahead of its time in several ways.
▪ Well ahead of its time, Adamson's first album remains his best.
be conspicuous by your/its absence
▪ If I have any qualification, it is that contemporary work is conspicuous by its absence.
be stood on its head
be/become a victim of its own success
▪ The helpline is a victim of its own success with so many people calling that no one can get through.
▪ Moreover, to a great extent the health service is a victim of its own success.
bring sth in its train
▪ The rapid growth of the cities brings in its train huge health and crime problems.
▪ They had learned that every sin causes fresh sin; every wrong brings another in its train.
burst its banks
▪ Denied its usual egress, the river had burst its banks and was pouring down the fire-ravaged streets.
▪ Residents were evacuated from the town as the waters rose and the Ouse threatened to burst its banks.
▪ The River Deben had burst its banks and people's homes were getting flooded.
▪ The River Frome had burst its banks after torrential rain and the Rovers' ground was absolutely waterlogged.
don't judge a book by its cover
earn your/its keep
▪ As the illustration above shows, even if you just use the Family Rail Card once, it will earn its keep.
every dog has its/his day
find its mark/target
▪ But now their enmity found its target in the flesh.
▪ I doubt whether it could have found its target but the very shape of it in my hands was reassuring.
▪ It found its mark; one of the suitors fell dying to the floor.
find its way somewhere
for its own sake
▪ Weber says he is interested in writing for its own sake - an uncommon attitude in Hollywood these days.
▪ Are you on the side of progress, or just plain old protest for its own sake?
▪ But Rothermere and Beaverbrook were not principally interested in the issue for its own sake.
▪ But Victor Amadeus seems to have had little interest in scholarship for its own sake.
▪ I can still aim at goodness for its own sake.
▪ Our mission is three-fold: To undertake basic research to advance knowledge for its own sake.
▪ Remember what Edward Abbey wrote about growth for its own sake.
▪ The content of education must therefore be that which men would wish to know for its own sake.
▪ This is an uneven show, driven by a concept that puts too much value on the different for its own sake.
greater/more/better etc than the sum of its parts
▪ Or is the organisation more than the sum of its parts?
have its/your moments
▪ The Saints had their moments, but they still lost.
▪ Because, Ishmael says, all men have their moments of greatness.
▪ But I can assure you I have my moments.
▪ Even a railway journey with a missed connection can have its moments.
▪ Those observations made, it should be said that the Herioter did have his moments in the lineout.
▪ Yet, the show does have its moments.
in its/their entirety
▪ The speech will published in its entirety in tomorrow's paper.
▪ He withdrew it when it was agreed to omit the paragraph in its entirety.
▪ It is even possible that this residue could be used in its entirety to make heat shields.
▪ Of the sections I read in their entirety the coverage is somewhat variable.
▪ On 30 November the Decree on Missionary Activity was voted through chapter by chapter, and then approved in its entirety.
▪ Only by offering the play in its entirety, blemishes and all, does its content makes sense.
▪ Or survive the pain of remembering the past in its entirety?
▪ Such models of sites and structures have the advantage of giving a three-dimensional view and show the site in its entirety.
▪ The completed cycle was screened in its entirety for the first time at the Venice Festival this autumn.
judge/consider etc sth on its (own) merits
leave/make its mark on sb/sth
▪ Being on a Kindertransport was, in itself, a traumatic experience that left its mark on otherwise balanced and healthy children.
▪ Growing up in the shadow of Olivier had already left its mark on Richard professionally.
▪ History is what you live and it leaves its mark on how you die.
▪ I was only a boy of ten at the time, but it left its mark on me too.
▪ It's bound to leave its mark on a man.
▪ So Hackney has left its mark on the history of madness.
let nature take its course
▪ Just relax and let nature take its course.
▪ With a cold, it's better to just let nature take its course.
▪ I meant that, in the case of any other industry, we probably would have let nature take its course.
▪ I think we should let nature take its course.
▪ Should I just let nature take its course or stop it now?
▪ Stay calm and let nature take its course.
▪ The best is to obtain juveniles from a number of sources, rear them together and let nature take its course.
on its last legs
▪ Your car sounds like it's on its last legs.
▪ It's an old established set-up, but I reckon it's on its last legs now.
▪ The battery, like the torch's owner, was on its last legs.
▪ Without some fresh thinking the G8 is probably on its last legs as an effective body.
on the/your/its way
▪ A University is not some great machine which trundles on its way, going blindly about its purposes.
▪ Litchfield got up and patted his arm on the way to the closet.
▪ One member of the team must drink a pint of beer at the start and consume another four on the way.
▪ She looked at Bill questioningly, as though expecting him to confess on the way to the cemetery.
▪ The Community is now on the way to solving these problems on the following lines.
▪ The second went beyond this: it focused on the way archaeologists explain things, on the procedures used in archaeological reasoning.
▪ There is turbulence on the way back.
▪ They did not talk any more on the way to the hospital.
outlive its/your usefulness
▪ And when they have outlived their usefulness, they are slaughtered or sold cheaply for lab experiments.
▪ By contrast, the over-hyped Times Guide to 1992 now seems to have outlived its usefulness.
▪ Daniels said a number of programs that were being recommended for elimination had outlived their usefulness while others had never been successful.
▪ Even the message on the answering machine has outlived its usefulness, providing no current or future information.
▪ I question, personally, whether these inspectors have not outlived their usefulness.
▪ In his view peace conferences were a waste of time; the old elm had outlived its usefulness.
▪ In order to enhance his credibility Fedora was allowed to expose John Vassall who by then had outlived his usefulness.
▪ It also includes discouraging cultural traits that have outlived their usefulness and may be otherwise harmful to society.
prick (up) its ears
raise its (ugly) head
▪ And here's where the question of spec lists raises its head.
▪ Another problem will begin to raise its ugly head, in the form of parasites.
rear its ugly head
▪ At Hubbard Woods Elementary an even more graphic example of the troubled world our children face reared its ugly head.
▪ Clubs lost their authority and control of players when money reared its ugly head.
▪ Hence the double bind attached to being appropriately feminine rears its ugly head again.
▪ In addition, politics has reared its ugly head, all institutional efforts not withstanding.
▪ It rears its ugly head every time a similar shooting occurs at another school.
▪ One which is likely to rear its ugly head continually during this piece.
▪ The spectre of restraint of trade rears its ugly head.
▪ Unfortunately the same could not be said of the bad weather ruling which reared its ugly head too often.
run its course
▪ Greenspan suggested the recession might run its course by midyear.
▪ Once the disease has run its course, it's not likely to return.
▪ But meiosis in eggs may take half a century to run its course.
▪ Her academic job had run its course.
▪ Indeed, the recent pickup in some measures of wages suggests that the transition may already be running its course.
▪ It is by no means clear that the process of financial innovation has run its course.
▪ Now, as the debilitating treatment runs its course, Vivian's intellectual skills no longer serve her.
▪ One useful source was the huge number of glossy magazines about money that had proliferated as the yuppy decade ran its course.
▪ That agency opted to let nature run its course.
▪ We would let his interest run its course.
serve its purpose
▪ The midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew has served its purpose of restoring order to the city.
▪ I felt that after two and a half years, the therapy had served its purpose.
▪ If not a particularly eloquent or clever contribution, I thought it served its purpose.
▪ It replicates a course of action that has seemingly served its purposes in the past.
▪ Opening the front door, he placed the message on the doorstep, praying that it would serve its purpose.
▪ The handkerchief, having apparently served its purpose, was forgotten.
▪ This star system has served its purpose.
▪ Yet somehow that spurious report served its purpose in terms of giving labor unions a weapon to wield against business.
turn/stand sth on its head
▪ "You stand logic on its head when you use arms control as an argument for a larger defense budget," Aspin said.
▪ Another basic political problem here is that the Dole message turns history on its head.
▪ In fact, it would turn Beveridge on its head and use the national insurance system as a tax system.
▪ It turns time on its head.
▪ Many of these taboos derive from patriarchal societies taking the power of women and turning it on its head.
▪ Rather than ignore Philips's cherished necessity principle, the Government turned it on its head.
▪ Resist that temptation by turning it on its head.
▪ That, of course, is to stand reality on its head, since the industrialised nations are manifestly the real environmental villains.
▪ The next step was to turn reality on its head.
what's his/her/its name
What about your commitment to - what's his name?
wing its/their way
▪ His resignation was winging its way to Sheppards yesterday afternoon.
▪ If it slips then, as it probably will, the Hingston fortune will wing its way elsewhere.
▪ Out of a group of trees near by a rook flew, winging its way leisurely across the Park towards him.
▪ Photographs had winged their way across, and presents at Christmas and Easter, with Mammy's birthday a speciality.
▪ Readers' original gardening tips Another batch of £50 cash prizes are winging their way to this month's top tipsters.
▪ Small but dangerously exciting trickles of pleasure were still winging their way through her virtually defenceless body.
▪ Within seventy minutes each plane has been unloaded, reloaded and winging its way to destination cities.
worth your/its weight in gold
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary


neuter possessive pronoun; the modern word begins to appear in writing at the end of 16c., from it + genitive/possessive ending 's (q.v.), and "at first commonly written it's, a spelling retained by some to the beginning of the 19c." [OED]. The apostrophe came to be omitted, perhaps because it's already was established as a contraction of it is, or by general habit of omitting apostrophes in personal pronouns (hers, yours, theirs, etc.).\n

\nThe neuter genitive pronoun in Middle English was his, but the clash between grammatical gender and sexual gender, or else the application of the word to both human and non-human subjects, evidently made users uncomfortable. Restriction of his to the masculine and avoidance of it as a neuter pronoun is evidenced in Middle English, and of it and thereof (as in KJV) were used for the neuter possessive. Also, from c.1300, simple it was used as a neuter possessive pronoun. But in literary use, his as a neuter pronoun continued into the 17c.



det. Belonging to it. (from 16th c.) n. (plural of it English) pron. The one (or ones) belonging to it. (from 17th c.)



ITS, its or it's may refer to:

  • It's, an English contraction of it is or it has
  • Its, the possessive form of the pronoun it
The Collaborative International Dictionary


Its \Its\ ([i^]ts), poss. pron. Possessive form of the pronoun it. See It.


Usage examples of "its".

A volley of gunfire tore into the Aberrant creature and it squawked in fury, but it would not let go of its prize.

For every hundred useless aberrations there may be one that is useful, that provides its bearer an advantage over its kin.

According to it, the Franks, uniting with the barons of Antioch and its fiefs, abetted by certain Knights Templars and whatever forces could be recruited in Tripoli and Jerusalem, would go against Islam in the east and north, rescue Edessa, and repair the bulwarks of Antioch against the danger of invasion.

On this occasion it was unlocked, and Marian was about to rush forward in eager anticipation of a peep at its interior, when, child as she was, the reflection struck her that she would stand abetter chance of carrying her point by remaining perdue.

Beauty is abidingly self-enfolded but its lovers, the Many, loving it as an entire, possess it as an entire when they attain, for it was an entire that they loved.

I was scooting my chair on its track back and forth along the row of sensor consoles that reported and recorded a variety of basic abiotic data.

Holy Tribunal presented Galileo its draft text of an abjuration for him to speak aloud.

Ottomans and center of the silk trade, its quiet, declining streets abloom with minarets and cypress trees.

She went into the ablutions area and took a shower, trying to ignore the thing, which continued to watch her, or she presumed it was watching her, through its unblinking golden eye-slit.