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[sit] /sɪt/
verb (used without object), sat or (Archaic) sate; sat or (Archaic) sitten; sitting.
to rest with the body supported by the buttocks or thighs; be seated.
to be located or situated:
The house sits well up on the slope.
to rest or lie (usually followed by on or upon):
An aura of greatness sits easily upon him.
to place oneself in position for an artist, photographer, etc.; pose:
to sit for a portrait.
to remain quiet or inactive:
They let the matter sit.
(of a bird) to perch or roost.
(of a hen) to cover eggs to hatch them; brood.
to fit, rest, or hang, as a garment:
The jacket sits well on your shoulders.
to occupy a place or have a seat in an official assembly or in an official capacity, as a legislator, judge, or bishop.
to be convened or in session, as an assembly.
to act as a baby-sitter.
(of wind) to blow from the indicated direction:
The wind sits in the west tonight.
to be accepted or considered in the way indicated:
Something about his looks just didn't sit right with me.
Informal. to be acceptable to the stomach:
Something I ate for breakfast didn't sit too well.
Chiefly British. to take a test or examination:
I’m studying now, and I plan to sit in June.
verb (used with object), sat or (Archaic) sate; sat or (Archaic) sitten; sitting.
to cause to sit; seat (often followed by down):
Sit yourself down. He sat me near him.
to sit astride or keep one's seat on (a horse or other animal):
She sits her horse gracefully.
to provide seating accommodations or seating room for; seat:
Our dining-room table only sits six people.
Informal. to serve as baby-sitter for:
A neighbor can sit the children while you go out.
Chiefly British. to take (a test or examination):
She finally received permission to sit the exam at a later date.
Verb phrases
sit down,
  1. to take a seat.
  2. to descend to a sitting position; alight.
  3. to take up a position, as to encamp or besiege:
    The military forces sat down at the approaches to the city.
sit in,
  1. to attend or take part as a visitor or temporary participant:
    to sit in at a bridge game; to sit in for the band's regular pianist.
  2. to take part in a sit-in.
sit in on, to be a spectator, observer, or visitor at:
to sit in on classes.
sit on/upon,
  1. to inquire into or deliberate over:
    A coroner's jury was called to sit on the case.
  2. Informal. to suppress; silence:
    They sat on the bad news as long as they could.
  3. Informal. to check or rebuke; squelch:
    I'll sit on him if he tries to interrupt me.
sit out,
  1. to stay to the end of:
    Though bored, we sat out the play.
  2. to surpass in endurance:
    He sat out his tormentors.
  3. to keep one's seat during (a dance, competition, etc.); fail to participate in:
    We sat out all the Latin-American numbers.
sit up,
  1. to rise from a supine to a sitting position.
  2. to delay the hour of retiring beyond the usual time.
  3. to sit upright; hold oneself erect.
  4. Informal. to become interested or astonished:
    We all sat up when the holiday was announced.
sit on one's hands,
  1. to fail to applaud.
  2. to fail to take appropriate action.
sit pretty, Informal. to be in a comfortable situation:
He's been sitting pretty ever since he got that new job.
sit tight, to bide one's time; take no action:
I'm going to sit tight till I hear from you.
Origin of sit1
before 900; Middle English sitten, Old English sittan; cognate with Dutch zitten, German sitzen, Old Norse sitja; akin to Gothic sitan, Latin sedēre, Greek hézesthai (base hed-); cf. set, sedate, cathedral, nest
10. meet, assemble, convene, gather.
Usage note
See set.


[sit] /sɪt/
(in prescriptions) may it be.
< Latin

sicut patribus, sit Deus nobis

[see-koo t pah-tri-boo s, sit de-oo s noh-bis; English sik-uh t pa-truh-buh s, sit dee-uh s noh-bis, dey-uh s] /ˈsi kʊt ˈpɑ trɪˌbʊs, sɪt ˈdɛ ʊs ˈnoʊ bɪs; English ˈsɪk ət ˈpæ trə bəs, sɪt ˈdi əs ˈnoʊ bɪs, ˈdeɪ əs/
as with our fathers, may God be with us (motto of Boston). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sit
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Just so," rejoined the Italian, with a hardihood that seemed to sit easily upon him.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • But I kept looking and after awhile I was able to sit up and ask what hit me.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • And we'll sit outside and tell stories, stories of brigands and the sea.

    The Call of the Blood Robert Smythe Hichens
  • I should be b-a-d, and I should sit up nights to invent new ways of evil.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • There—I'll sit up, and be proper, and you'll have plenty of room.

British Dictionary definitions for sit


verb (mainly intransitive) sits, sitting, sat
(also transitive; when intr, often foll by down, in, or on) to adopt or rest in a posture in which the body is supported on the buttocks and thighs and the torso is more or less upright: to sit on a chair, sit a horse
(transitive) to cause to adopt such a posture
(of an animal) to adopt or rest in a posture with the hindquarters lowered to the ground
(of a bird) to perch or roost
(of a hen or other bird) to cover eggs to hatch them; brood
to be situated or located
(of the wind) to blow from the direction specified
to adopt and maintain a posture for one's portrait to be painted, etc
to occupy or be entitled to a seat in some official capacity, as a judge, elected representative, etc
(of a deliberative body) to be convened or in session
to remain inactive or unused: his car sat in the garage for a year
to rest or lie as specified: the nut was sitting so awkwardly that he couldn't turn it
(of a garment) to fit or hang as specified: that dress sits well on you
to weigh, rest, or lie as specified: greatness sits easily on him
(transitive) (mainly Brit) to take (an examination): he's sitting his bar finals
(usually foll by for) (mainly Brit) to be a candidate (for a qualification): he's sitting for a BA
(intransitive; in combination) to look after a specified person or thing for someone else: granny-sit
(transitive) to have seating capacity for
(informal) sitting pretty, well placed or established financially, socially, etc
sit tight
  1. to wait patiently; bide one's time
  2. to maintain one's position, stand, or opinion firmly
Word Origin
Old English sittan; related to Old Norse sitja, Gothic sitan, Old High German sizzen, Latin sedēre to sit, Sanskrit sīdati he sits


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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sit

Old English sittan "to occupy a seat, be seated, sit down, seat oneself; remain, continue; settle, encamp, occupy; lie in wait; besiege" (class V strong verb; past tense sæt, past participle seten), from Proto-Germanic *setjan (cf. Old Saxon sittian, Old Norse sitja, Danish sidde, Old Frisian sitta, Middle Dutch sitten, Dutch zitten, Old High German sizzan, German sitzen, Gothic sitan), from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit" (see sedentary).

With past tense sat, formerly also set, now restricted to dialect, and sate, now archaic; and past participle sat, formerly sitten. In reference to a legislative assembly, from 1510s. Meaning "to baby-sit" is recorded from 1966.

To sit back "be inactive" is from 1943. To sit on one's hands was originally "to withhold applause" (1926); later, "to do nothing" (1959). To sit around "be idle, do nothing" is 1915, American English. To sit out "not take part" is from 1650s. Sitting pretty is from 1916.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sit



To take care of; attend and watch over: Who'll sit your house while you're gone? (1945+)

Related Terms

baby-sit, house-sit

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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sit in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Related Abbreviations for sit


Slovenia-tolar (currency)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with sit
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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