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nit1

[nit]
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noun
  1. the egg of a parasitic insect, especially of a louse, often attached to a hair or a fiber of clothing.
  2. the young of such an insect.
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Origin of nit1

before 900; Middle English nite, Old English hnitu, cognate with Dutch neet, German Niss, Norwegian nit

nit2

[nit]
noun Physics.
  1. a unit of luminous intensity equal to one candela per square meter. Abbreviation: nt
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Origin of nit2

1950–55; extracted from Latin nitor brightness; see nitid, -or1

nit3

[nit]
noun Chiefly British.
  1. a nitwit.
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Origin of nit3

by shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nit

Historical Examples

  • But Lee wuz dead in earnest an' growin' more excited ivery min nit.

    The U.P. Trail

    Zane Grey

  • Nor sie kuckt trucken, wie varstinert, in ihr Ssider; nit sie wint, nit sie dawent.

  • Das der gmein man, one eine offne Disputation, nit zu stillen was.

  • “Weiss nit,” he mumbled, beginning to stagger as the serpent struck its fangs into his vitals.

    The Cup of Fury

    Rupert Hughes

  • A fire not large enough to roast a nit, and a supper too small to fatten him beforehand!

    Paul Clifford, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton


British Dictionary definitions for nit

nit1

noun
  1. the egg of a louse, especially when adhering to human hair
  2. the larva of a louse or similar insect
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Word Origin

Old English hnitu; related to Dutch neet, Old High German hniz

nit2

noun
  1. a unit of luminance equal to 1 candela per square metre
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Word Origin

C20: from Latin nitor brightness

nit3

noun
  1. informal, mainly British short for nitwit
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nit4

noun
  1. a unit of information equal to 1.44 bitsAlso called: nepit
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Word Origin

C20: from N (apierian dig) it

nit5

noun
  1. keep nit Australian informal to keep watch, esp during illegal activity
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Word Origin

C19: from nix 1
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

Word Origin and History for nit

n.

Old English hnitu "louse egg, nit," from Proto-Germanic *khnito (cf. Norwegian nit, Middle Dutch nete, Dutch neet, Middle High German niz, German Niß), from PIE root *knid- "egg of a louse" (cf. Russian, Polish gnida, Czech knida; Greek konidos, genitive konis "egg of a louse").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nit in Medicine

nit

(nĭt)
n.
  1. The egg or young of a parasitic insect, such as a louse.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.