Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
1. Used to refer to that one previously mentioned. Used of a nonhuman entity; an animate being whose sex is unspecified, unknown, or irrelevant; a group of objects or individuals; an action; or an abstraction: polished the table until it shone; couldn't find out who it was; opened the meeting by calling it to order.
2. Used as the subject of an impersonal verb: It is snowing.
a. Used as an anticipatory subject or object: Is it certain that they will win? We found it hard to believe that the car was that old.
b. Used as an anticipatory subject to emphasize a term that is not itself a subject: It was on Friday that all the snow fell.
4. Used to refer to a general condition or state of affairs: She couldn't stand it.
5. Used to refer to a crucial situation or culmination: This is it—the rivals are finally face to face. That's it! I won't tolerate any more foolishness.
6. Informal Used to refer to something that is the best, the most desirable, or without equal: He thinks he's it. That steak was really it!
7. Games Used to designate a player, as in tag, who attempts to find or catch the other players.
An animal that has been neutered: The cat is an it.
out of it Informal
1. Unaware of or unknowledgeable about the latest trends or developments.
2. In a daze or stupor: I didn't get enough sleep last night, and today I'm really out of it.
with it Informal
1. Aware of or knowledgeable about the latest trends or developments.
2. Mentally responsive and perceptive: I'm just not with it today.
Our Living Language "I told Anse it likely won't be no need." This quotation from William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying demonstrates a use of it that occurs in some vernacular varieties of American speech. It is used instead of Standard English there when there functions as a so-called existential—that is, when there indicates the mere existence of something rather than a physical location, as in It was nothing I could do. Existential it is hardly a recent innovation—it appears in Middle English; in Elizabethan English, as in Marlowe's Edward II: "Cousin, it is no dealing with him now"; and in modern American literature as well. Although most British and American varieties no longer have this historical feature, it still occurs in some Southern-based dialects and in African American Vernacular English. · In some American vernacular dialects, particularly in the South (including the Appalachian and Ozark Mountains), speakers may pronounce it as hit in stressed positions, especially at the beginning of a sentence, as in Hit's cold out here! This pronunciation is called a relic dialect feature because it represents the retention of an older English form. In fact, hit is the original form of the third person singular neuter pronoun and thus can be traced to the beginnings of the Old English period (c. 449-1100). Early in the history of English, speakers began to drop the h from hit, particularly in unaccented positions, as in I saw it yesterday. Gradually, h also came to be lost in accented positions, although hit persisted in socially prestigious speech well into the Elizabethan period. Some relatively isolated dialects in Great Britain and the United States have retained h, since linguistic innovations such as the dropping of h are often slow to reach isolated areas. But even in such places, h tends to be retained only in accented words. Thus, we might hear Hit's the one I want side by side with I took it back to the store. Nowadays, hit is fading even in the most isolated dialect communities and occurs primarily among older speakers. · This loss of h reflects a longstanding tendency among speakers of English to omit h's in unaccented words, particularly pronouns, such as 'er and 'im for her and him, as in I told 'er to meet me outside. This kind of h-loss is widespread in casual speech today, even though it is not reflected in spelling.
1. In the company of; accompanying: Did you go with her?
2. Next to; alongside of: stood with the rabbi; sat with the family.
a. Having as a possession, attribute, or characteristic: arrived with bad news; a man with a moustache.
b. Used as a function word to indicate accompanying detail or condition: just sat there with his mouth open; a patient with a bad back.
a. In a manner characterized by: performed with skill; spoke with enthusiasm.
b. In the performance, use, or operation of: had trouble with the car.
5. In the charge or keeping of: left the cat with the neighbors.
6. In the opinion or estimation of: if it's all right with you.
a. In support of; on the side of: I'm with anyone who wants to help the homeless.
b. Of the same opinion or belief as: He is with us on that issue.
8. In the same group or mixture as; among: planted onions with the carrots.
9. In the membership or employment of: plays with a jazz band; is with a publishing company.
a. By the means or agency of: eat with a fork; made us laugh with his jokes.
b. By the presence or use of: a pillow stuffed with feathers; balloons filled with helium.
11. In spite of: With all her experience, she could not get a job.
12. In the same direction as: sail with the wind; flow with the river.
13. At the same time as: gets up with the birds.
a. In regard to: We are pleased with her decision. They are disgusted with the status quo.
b. Used as a function word to indicate a party to an action, communicative activity, or informal agreement or settlement: played with the dog; had a talk with the class; lives with an aunt.
15. In comparison or contrast to: a car identical with the one her sister just bought.
16. Having received: With her permission, he left. I escaped with just a few bruises.
a. And; plus: My books, with my brother's, make a sizable library. We had turkey with all the trimmings.
b. Inclusive of; including: comes to $29.95 with postage and handling.
18. In opposition to; against: wrestling with an opponent.
19. As a result or consequence of: trembling with fear; sick with the flu.
20. So as to be touching or joined to: coupled the first car with the second; linked arms with their partners.
21. So as to be free of or separated from: parted with her husband.
22. In the course of: We grow older with the hours.
23. In proportion to: wines that improve with age.
24. In relationship to: at ease with my peers.
25. As well as; in favorable comparison to: She could sing with the best of them.
26. According to the experience or practice of: With me, it is a question of priorities.
27. Used as a function word to indicate close association: With the advent of the rockets, the Space Age began.
As company; along: We're going to the movies. Are you coming with?
in with Informal
In league or association with: He is in with the wrong crowd.
with it Informal
1. Interested in and sensitive to the latest styles and trends; up-to-date.
2. Streetwise and knowing; savvy.
3. Mentally competent.
Usage Note: When the subject of a sentence is followed by a noun or noun phrase introduced by with rather than and, the verb remains singular: The governor, with his aides, is expected to attend the fair. See Usage Note at and.