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[hit] /hɪt/
verb (used with object), hit, hitting.
to deal a blow or stroke to:
Hit the nail with the hammer.
to come against with an impact or collision, as a missile, a flying fragment, a falling body, or the like:
The car hit the tree.
to reach with a missile, a weapon, a blow, or the like, as one throwing, shooting, or striking:
Did the bullet hit him?
to succeed in striking:
With his final shot he hit the mark.
  1. to make (a base hit):
    He hit a single and a home run.
  2. bat1 (def 12).
to drive or propel by a stroke:
to hit a ball onto the green.
to have a marked effect or influence on; affect severely:
We were all hit by the change in management.
to assail effectively and sharply (often followed by out):
The speech hits out at warmongering.
to request or demand of:
He hit me for a loan.
to reach or attain (a specified level or amount):
Prices are expected to hit a new low. The new train can hit 100 mph.
to be published in or released to; appear in:
When will this report hit the papers? What will happen when the story hits the front page?
to land on or arrive in:
The troops hit the beach at 0800. When does Harry hit town?
to give (someone) another playing card, drink, portion, etc.:
If the dealer hits me with an ace, I'll win the hand. Bartender, hit me again.
to come or light upon; meet with; find:
to hit the right road.
to agree with; suit exactly:
I'm sure this purple shirt will hit Alfred's fancy.
to solve or guess correctly; come upon the right answer or solution:
You've hit it!
to succeed in representing or producing exactly:
to hit a likeness in a portrait.
Informal. to begin to travel on:
Let's hit the road. What time shall we hit the trail?
verb (used without object), hit, hitting.
to strike with a missile, a weapon, or the like; deal a blow or blows:
The armies hit at dawn.
to come into collision (often followed by against, on, or upon):
The door hit against the wall.
Slang. to kill; murder.
(of an internal-combustion engine) to ignite a mixture of air and fuel as intended:
This jalopy is hitting on all cylinders.
to come or light (usually followed by upon or on):
to hit on a new way.
an impact or collision, as of one thing against another.
a stroke that reaches an object; blow.
a stroke of satire, censure, etc.:
a hit at complacency.
Baseball. base hit.
  1. a game won by a player after the opponent has thrown off one or more men from the board.
  2. any winning game.
a successful stroke, performance, or production; success:
The play is a hit.
Slang. a dose of a narcotic drug.
Digital Technology.
  1. (in information retrieval) an instance of successfully locating an item of data, as in a database or on the Internet:
    When I search for my name, I get lots of hits.
  2. an instance of accessing a website.
Slang. a killing, murder, or assassination, especially one carried out by criminal prearrangements.
Verb phrases
hit off,
  1. to represent or describe precisely or aptly:
    In his new book he hits off the American temperament with amazing insight.
  2. to imitate, especially in order to satirize.
hit on, Slang. to make persistent sexual advances to:
guys who hit on girls at social events.
hit out,
  1. to deal a blow aimlessly:
    a child hitting out in anger and frustration.
  2. to make a violent verbal attack:
    Critics hit out at the administration's new energy policy.
hit up, Slang.
  1. to ask to borrow money from:
    He hit me up for ten bucks.
  2. to inject a narcotic drug into a vein.
hit it off, Informal. to be congenial or compatible; get along; agree:
We hit it off immediately with the new neighbors. She and her brother had never really hit it off.
hit or miss, without concern for correctness or detail; haphazardly:
The paint job had been done hit or miss.
hit the books, Slang. to study hard; cram.
hit the bottle, Slang. bottle1 (def 8).
hit the high spots,
  1. to go out on the town; go nightclubbing:
    We'll hit the high spots when you come to town.
  2. to do something in a quick or casual manner, paying attention to only the most important or obvious facets or items:
    When I clean the house I hit the high spots and that's about all. This course will hit the high spots of ancient history.
Origin of hit
before 1100; 1865-70, Americanism for def 5a; Middle English hitten, Old English hittan; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse hitta to come upon (by chance), meet with
Related forms
hitless, adjective
hittable, adjective
hitter, noun
nonhit, noun
outhit, verb (used with object), outhit, outhitting.
self-hitting, adjective
unhit, adjective
unhittable, adjective
well-hit, adjective
Synonym Study
1. See strike, beat. 25, 27, 29. See blow1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hit up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • After intermission they come sneakin' in by twos and threes to hit up their cigarettes.

    Torchy Sewell Ford
  • I reckon we had better try an' hit up a leetle livelier gait.

    The Cave of Gold

    Everett McNeil
  • Ye might hit up a little on the Pinto hoss—he ain't harmin' ye.

  • I was only hit up the other night because I was so surprised.

    The Making of a Prig Evelyn Sharp
  • I've been fighting the temptation to hit up Paris ever since I've been over this time.

    The Eddy Clarence L. Cullen
British Dictionary definitions for hit up


verb (mainly transitive) hits, hitting, hit
(also intransitive) to deal (a blow or stroke) to (a person or thing); strike: the man hit the child
to come into violent contact with: the car hit the tree
to reach or strike with a missile, thrown object, etc: to hit a target
to make or cause to make forceful contact; knock or bump: I hit my arm on the table
to propel or cause to move by striking: to hit a ball
(cricket) to score (runs)
to affect (a person, place, or thing) suddenly or adversely: his illness hit his wife very hard
to become suddenly apparent to (a person): the reason for his behaviour hit me and made the whole episode clear
to achieve or reach: to hit the jackpot, unemployment hit a new high
to experience or encounter: I've hit a slight snag here
(slang) to murder (a rival criminal) in fulfilment of an underworld contract or vendetta
to accord or suit (esp in the phrase hit one's fancy)
to guess correctly or find out by accident: you have hit the answer
(informal) to set out on (a road, path, etc): let's hit the road
(informal) to arrive or appear in: he will hit town tomorrow night
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) to demand or request from: he hit me for a pound
(slang) to drink an excessive amount of (alcohol): to hit the bottle
(music, slang) hit it, start playing
(US, slang) hit skins, to have sexual intercourse
(slang) hit the sack, hit the hay, to go to bed
not know what has hit one, to be completely taken by surprise
an impact or collision
a shot, blow, etc, that reaches its object
an apt, witty, or telling remark
  1. a person or thing that gains wide appeal: she's a hit with everyone
  2. (as modifier): a hit record
(informal) a stroke of luck
  1. a murder carried out as the result of an underworld vendetta or rivalry
  2. (as modifier): a hit squad
(slang) a drag on a cigarette, a swig from a bottle, a line of a drug, or an injection of heroin
(computing) a single visit to a website
(informal) make a hit with, score a hit with, to make a favourable impression on
See also hit off, hit on, hit out
Word Origin
Old English hittan, from Old Norse hitta
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 hit up



late Old English hyttan, hittan "come upon, meet with, fall in with, 'hit' upon," from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse hitta "to light upon, meet with," also "to hit, strike;" Swedish hitta "to find," Danish and Norwegian hitte "to hit, find," from Proto-Germanic *hitjanan. Related: Hitting. Meaning shifted in late Old English period to "strike," via "to reach with a blow or missile," and replaced Old English slean in this sense. Original sense survives in phrases such as hit it off (1780, earlier in same sense hit it, 1630s) and is revived in hit on (1970s).

Underworld slang meaning "to kill by plan" is 1955 (as a noun in this sense from 1970). To hit the bottle "drink alcohol" is from 1889. To hit the nail on the head (1570s) is from archery. Hit the road "leave" is from 1873; to hit (someone) up "request something" is from 1917. Hit and run is 1899 as a baseball play, 1924 as a driver failing to stop at a crash he caused. To not know what hit (one) is from 1923.



late 15c., "a rebuke;" 1590s as "a blow," from hit (v.). Meaning "successful play, song, person," etc., 1811, is from the verbal sense of "to hit the mark, succeed" (c.1400). Underworld slang meaning "a killing" is from 1970. Meaning "dose of narcotic" is 1951, from phrases such as hit the bottle.

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

hit up

verb phrase

To inject a narcotic; shoot up

[1940s+ Narcotics; an earlier related sense, ''to drink to excess,'' found by 1900]



: a hit musical/ a hit song


  1. Anything very successful and popular, esp a show, book, etc: He wrote two Broadway hits (1815+)
  2. A stroke of good fortune at gambling, on the stock market, etc; lucky break: a big hit on the commodities exchange (1666+)
  3. A premeditated murder or organized-crime execution, esp one contracted for with a professional killer: ''He can order a hit,'' a police officer says/ There is no set price for a hit (1970+ Underworld)
  4. A stroke of severe criticism; attack; assault: the club hired the firm to counter the hits it was taking in the media/ Zavala took a double hit because her husband also refused to cross the picket line (1668+)
  5. A dose, inhalation, etc, of narcotics; fix •Hit the pipe, ''smoke opium,'' is found by 1886: The current price of cocaine was about $10 a ''hit''/ He held a long hit in his mouth, then expelled it slowly (1951+ Narcotics)
  6. A drink; swallow; snort: a tall glass of thick, slightly green fluid, and said, ''Take a big hit off this, Felix'' (1950s+)
  7. A pleasurable sensation; rush: People jockeyed for position around the foyer to get a little hit of darshan (1960s+ Narcotics)
  8. A cigarette into which heroin has been introduced: GIs sit smoking the mixed tobacco-and-heroin cigarettes called ''hits'' (1960s+ Narcotics)
  9. A dilution or ''cutting'' of a narcotic: You give it a full hit, you already double your price (1970s+ Narcotics)
  10. Each separate occasion; each time; pop, shot: You should be on a tour, where you can get 2,000 people a hit (1980s+)
  11. An unwanted, unwarranted, hospital admission: The ambulance people asked which hospital would take the hit (1980s+ Medical)
  12. A match between a search item and an item in a database: That year, Popcorn racked up 58 Nexis hits (1990s+ Computer)
  13. An interpretation; idea; take: My hit on this is he heard about Brian (1990s+)


  1. : I think this show will hit
  2. : She hit real big at the track last week
  3. rub out, whack: The mob figure got hit last night in his car (1955+)
  4. To reach; visit; attain: His new book hit the best-seller list/ The market hit a new high today (1888+)
  5. To pass an examination, esp with a good grade; ace: I really hit the eco final (1950s+ Students)
  6. To cause a strong reaction; have a strong impact: The injection hit the heart like a runaway locomotive (1891+)

Related Terms

banjo hit, make a hit, pinch hit, smash

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 hit up
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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