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[it] /ɪt/
pronoun, nominative it, possessive its or (Obsolete or Dialect) it, objective it; plural nominative they, possessive their or theirs, objective them.
(used to represent an inanimate thing understood, previously mentioned, about to be mentioned, or present in the immediate context):
It has whitewall tires and red upholstery. You can't tell a book by its cover.
(used to represent a person or animal understood, previously mentioned, or about to be mentioned whose gender is unknown or disregarded):
It was the largest ever caught off the Florida coast. Who was it? It was John. The horse had its saddle on.
(used to represent a group understood or previously mentioned):
The judge told the jury it must decide two issues.
(used to represent a concept or abstract idea understood or previously stated):
It all started with Adam and Eve. He has been taught to believe it all his life.
(used to represent an action or activity understood, previously mentioned, or about to be mentioned):
Since you don't like it, you don't have to go skiing.
(used as the impersonal subject of the verb to be, especially to refer to time, distance, or the weather):
It is six o'clock. It is five miles to town. It was foggy.
(used in statements expressing an action, condition, fact, circumstance, or situation without reference to an agent):
If it weren't for Edna, I wouldn't go.
(used in referring to something as the origin or cause of pain, pleasure, etc.):
Where does it hurt? It looks bad for the candidate.
(used in referring to a source not specifically named or described):
It is said that love is blind.
(used in referring to the general state of affairs; circumstances, fate, or life in general):
How's it going with you?
(used as an anticipatory subject or object to make a sentence more eloquent or suspenseful or to shift emphasis):
It is necessary that you do your duty. It was a gun that he was carrying.
Informal. (used instead of the pronoun its before a gerund):
It having rained for only one hour didn't help the crops.
(in children's games) the player called upon to perform some task, as, in tag, the one who must catch the other players.
  1. sex appeal.
  2. sexual intercourse.
get with it, Slang. to become active or interested:
He was warned to get with it or resign.
have it, Informal.
  1. to love someone:
    She really has it bad for him.
  2. to possess the requisite abilities for something; be talented, adept, or proficient:
    In this business youeither have it or you don't.
with it, Slang.
  1. aware of the latest fads, fashions, etc.; up-to-date.
  2. attentive or alert:
    I'm just not with it early in the morning.
  3. understanding or appreciative of something, as jazz.
  4. Carnival Slang. being a member of the carnival.
Origin of it1
before 900; Middle English, variant of Middle English, Old English hit, neuter of he1
Usage note
See me. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for have it


information technology


pronoun (subjective or objective)
refers to a nonhuman, animal, plant, or inanimate thing, or sometimes to a small baby: it looks dangerous, give it a bone
refers to an unspecified or implied antecedent or to a previous or understood clause, phrase, etc: it is impossible, I knew it
used to represent human life or experience either in totality or in respect of the present situation: how's it going?, I've had it, to brazen it out
used as a formal subject (or object), referring to a following clause, phrase, or word: it helps to know the truth, I consider it dangerous to go on
used in the nominative as the formal grammatical subject of impersonal verbs. When it functions absolutely in such sentences, not referring to any previous or following clause or phrase, the context is nearly always a description of the environment or of some physical sensation: it is raining, it hurts
(used as complement with be) (informal) the crucial or ultimate point: the steering failed and I thought that was it
(in children's games) the player whose turn it is to try to touch another Compare he1 (sense 5b)
  1. sexual intercourse
  2. sex appeal
(informal) a desirable quality or ability: he's really got it
Word Origin
Old English hit


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 have it



Old English hit, neuter nominative and accusative of third person singular pronoun, from Proto-Germanic demonstrative base *khi- (cf. Old Frisian hit, Dutch het, Gothic hita "it"), from PIE *ko- "this" (see he). Used in place of any neuter noun, hence, as gender faded in Middle English, 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 1610s; 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.

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

have it

verb phrase

To be talented; be competent and effectual: He tries hard, but he just doesn't have it

Related Terms

let someone have it

[1940s+; probably a shortening of have it on the ball]



: Clara Bow, the original it girl


  1. Sex appeal, esp female: a girl with lots of it (1904+)
  2. The sex act; copulation; screwing •Used in numberless unmistakable but quasi-euphemistic contexts like do it, go at it, want it, have it off, make it, etc (1611+)

Related Terms

it girl

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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Idioms and Phrases with have it

have it

Receive or learn something, as in I have it on the best authority that he's running again. [ Late 1600s ]
Possess a solution, understand, as in Is this the new phone number? Do I have it straight? or I think I have it now. [ Mid-1800s ]
Take it, as in There's some ice cream left; go ahead and have it. This usage is always put as an imperative. [ Second half of 1300s ]
Have the victory, win, as in We've counted the votes and the nays have it. The related expressionshave it over someone orhave it all over someone mean “to be superior to someone.” For example, Jane has it all over Mary when it comes to reading aloud. [ Early 1900s ]
let someone have it. Give a beating, scolding, or punishment. For example, When she gets home Dad will let her have it. [ Mid-1800s ]
have it off. Have sexual intercourse, as in The two dogs were having it off in the backyard. [ ; early 1900s ]
Also see: the subsequent idioms beginning with have it not have it
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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