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[noun, verb ahy-tuh m; adverb ahy-tem] /noun, verb ˈaɪ təm; adverb ˈaɪ tɛm/
a separate article or particular:
50 items on the list.
a separate piece of information or news, as a short piece in a newspaper or broadcast.
Slang. something suitable for a news paragraph or as a topic of gossip, especially something that is sensational or scandalous:
The bandleader and the new female singer are an item.
a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter I.
an admonition or warning.
Older Use. an intimation or hint.
also; likewise (used especially to introduce each article or statement in a list or series).
verb (used with object), Archaic.
to set down or enter as an item, or by or in items.
to make a note of.
Origin of item
1350-1400; Middle English: likewise (adv.), the same (noun) < Latin: likewise
Related forms
subitem, noun
1. thing; heading, entry. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for item
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • item, the clyster repeated in the evening, as above, thirty sous.

  • I thanked him for the item, resolving to add it to my list of curious Americanisms.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • And I did not feel it essential to my regard for him to know every item of his past.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
  • Tall Clemence made a dirty remark about every item that she touched.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • He had two carts laden with luggage—one item, a green parrot in a cage.

    Things as They Are Amy Wilson-Carmichael
British Dictionary definitions for item


noun (ˈaɪtəm)
a thing or unit, esp included in a list or collection
(accounting) an entry in an account
a piece of information, detail, or note: a news item
(informal) two people having a romantic or sexual relationship
verb (ˈaɪtəm)
(transitive) an archaic word for itemize
adverb (ˈaɪtɛm)
likewise; also
Word Origin
C14 (adv) from Latin: in like manner
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 item

late 14c. (adv.) "moreover, in addition," from Latin item (adv.) "likewise, just so, moreover," used to introduce a new fact or statement, probably from ita "thus," id "it" (see id) + adverbial ending -tem (cf. idem "the same"). Thus "a statement or maxim" (of the kind formerly introduced by the word item), first recorded 1560s. Meaning "detail of information" (especially in a newspaper) is from 1819; item "sexually linked unmarried couple" is 1970, probably from notion of being an item in the gossip columns. Noun sense of "an article of any kind" (1570s) developed from adverbial sense of "moreover, in addition," which was used before every article in a list (such as an inventory or bill).

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


Related Terms

hot number

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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