"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 (cf. 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).
Meaning "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."
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).
past tense of bite.
The smallest unit of computer memory. A bit holds one of two possible values, either of the binary digits 0 or 1. The term comes from the phrase binary digit. See Note at byte.
The smallest unit of information. One bit corresponds to a “yes” or “no.” Some examples of a bit of information: whether a light is on or off, whether a switch (like a transistor) is on or off, whether a grain of magnetized iron points up or down.
Note: The information in a digital computer is stored in the form of bits.
Disappointed and resentful •Perhaps the same semantics as mid-1800s bit, ''cheated'' (1970s+ Teenagers)
the curb put into the mouths of horses to restrain them. The Hebrew word (metheg) so rendered in Ps. 32:9 is elsewhere translated "bridle" (2 Kings 19:28; Prov. 26:3; Isa. 37:29). Bits were generally made of bronze or iron, but sometimes also of gold or silver. In James 3:3 the Authorized Version translates the Greek word by "bits," but the Revised Version by "bridles."