base *wi- "separation" (cf. Skt. vi, Avestan vi- "asunder," Skt. vitaram "further, farther," O.C.S. vutoru "other, second"). In M.E., sense shifted to denote association, combination, and union, partly by influence of O.N. vidh, and also perhaps by L. cum "with" (as in pugnare cum "fight with"). In this sense, it replaced O.E. mid "with," which survives only as a prefix (e.g. midwife
). Original sense of "against, in opposition" is retained in compounds such as withhold
. Often treated as a conjunction by ungrammatical writers and used where and would be correct. First record of with child "pregnant" is recorded from c.1200. With it "cool" is black slang, recorded by 1931.
O.E. hit, neut. nom. & acc. of third pers. sing. pronoun, from P.Gmc. demonstrative base *khi- (cf. O.Fris. hit, Du. het, Goth. hita "it"), which is also the root of he. As gender faded in M.E., it took on the meaning "thing or animal spoken about before." The h- was lost due to being in an unemphasized
position, as in modern speech the h- in "give it to him," "ask her," "is only heard in the careful speech of the partially educated" [Weekley]. It "the sex act" is from 1611; meaning "sex appeal (especially in a woman)" first attested 1904 in works of Rudyard Kipling, popularized 1927 as title of a book by Elinor Glyn, and by application of It Girl to silent-film star Clara Bow (1905-1965). In children's games, meaning "the one who must tag the others" is attested from 1842.