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[sit] /sɪt/
verb (used without object), sat or (Archaic) sate; sat or (Archaic) sitten; sitting.
to rest with the body supported by the buttocks or thighs; be seated.
to be located or situated:
The house sits well up on the slope.
to rest or lie (usually followed by on or upon):
An aura of greatness sits easily upon him.
to place oneself in position for an artist, photographer, etc.; pose:
to sit for a portrait.
to remain quiet or inactive:
They let the matter sit.
(of a bird) to perch or roost.
(of a hen) to cover eggs to hatch them; brood.
to fit, rest, or hang, as a garment:
The jacket sits well on your shoulders.
to occupy a place or have a seat in an official assembly or in an official capacity, as a legislator, judge, or bishop.
to be convened or in session, as an assembly.
to act as a baby-sitter.
(of wind) to blow from the indicated direction:
The wind sits in the west tonight.
to be accepted or considered in the way indicated:
Something about his looks just didn't sit right with me.
Informal. to be acceptable to the stomach:
Something I ate for breakfast didn't sit too well.
Chiefly British. to take a test or examination:
I’m studying now, and I plan to sit in June.
verb (used with object), sat or (Archaic) sate; sat or (Archaic) sitten; sitting.
to cause to sit; seat (often followed by down):
Sit yourself down. He sat me near him.
to sit astride or keep one's seat on (a horse or other animal):
She sits her horse gracefully.
to provide seating accommodations or seating room for; seat:
Our dining-room table only sits six people.
Informal. to serve as baby-sitter for:
A neighbor can sit the children while you go out.
Chiefly British. to take (a test or examination):
She finally received permission to sit the exam at a later date.
Verb phrases
sit down,
  1. to take a seat.
  2. to descend to a sitting position; alight.
  3. to take up a position, as to encamp or besiege:
    The military forces sat down at the approaches to the city.
sit in,
  1. to attend or take part as a visitor or temporary participant:
    to sit in at a bridge game; to sit in for the band's regular pianist.
  2. to take part in a sit-in.
sit in on, to be a spectator, observer, or visitor at:
to sit in on classes.
sit on/upon,
  1. to inquire into or deliberate over:
    A coroner's jury was called to sit on the case.
  2. Informal. to suppress; silence:
    They sat on the bad news as long as they could.
  3. Informal. to check or rebuke; squelch:
    I'll sit on him if he tries to interrupt me.
sit out,
  1. to stay to the end of:
    Though bored, we sat out the play.
  2. to surpass in endurance:
    He sat out his tormentors.
  3. to keep one's seat during (a dance, competition, etc.); fail to participate in:
    We sat out all the Latin-American numbers.
sit up,
  1. to rise from a supine to a sitting position.
  2. to delay the hour of retiring beyond the usual time.
  3. to sit upright; hold oneself erect.
  4. Informal. to become interested or astonished:
    We all sat up when the holiday was announced.
sit on one's hands,
  1. to fail to applaud.
  2. to fail to take appropriate action.
sit pretty, Informal. to be in a comfortable situation:
He's been sitting pretty ever since he got that new job.
sit tight, to bide one's time; take no action:
I'm going to sit tight till I hear from you.
Origin of sit1
before 900; Middle English sitten, Old English sittan; cognate with Dutch zitten, German sitzen, Old Norse sitja; akin to Gothic sitan, Latin sedēre, Greek hézesthai (base hed-); cf. set, sedate, cathedral, nest
Can be confused
set, sit (see usage note at set)
10. meet, assemble, convene, gather.
Usage note
See set.


[sit] /sɪt/
(in prescriptions) may it be.
From Latin

sicut patribus, sit Deus nobis

[see-koo t pah-tri-boo s, sit de-oo s noh-bis; English sik-uh t pa-truh-buh s, sit dee-uh s noh-bis, dey-uh s] /ˈsi kʊt ˈpɑ trɪˌbʊs, sɪt ˈdɛ ʊs ˈnoʊ bɪs; English ˈsɪk ət ˈpæ trə bəs, sɪt ˈdi əs ˈnoʊ bɪs, ˈdeɪ əs/
as with our fathers, may God be with us: motto of Boston. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sit
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But I kept looking and after awhile I was able to sit up and ask what hit me.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I should be b-a-d, and I should sit up nights to invent new ways of evil.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Just sit around and talk wise about me all you want to, but watch.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • sit here, and we'll talk it over sensibly, before you get ready.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • For as he tried to sit up, he fell back sick and dizzy on the bed.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
British Dictionary definitions for sit


verb (mainly intransitive) sits, sitting, sat
(also transitive; when intr, often foll by down, in, or on) to adopt or rest in a posture in which the body is supported on the buttocks and thighs and the torso is more or less upright: to sit on a chair, sit a horse
(transitive) to cause to adopt such a posture
(of an animal) to adopt or rest in a posture with the hindquarters lowered to the ground
(of a bird) to perch or roost
(of a hen or other bird) to cover eggs to hatch them; brood
to be situated or located
(of the wind) to blow from the direction specified
to adopt and maintain a posture for one's portrait to be painted, etc
to occupy or be entitled to a seat in some official capacity, as a judge, elected representative, etc
(of a deliberative body) to be convened or in session
to remain inactive or unused: his car sat in the garage for a year
to rest or lie as specified: the nut was sitting so awkwardly that he couldn't turn it
(of a garment) to fit or hang as specified: that dress sits well on you
to weigh, rest, or lie as specified: greatness sits easily on him
(transitive) (mainly Brit) to take (an examination): he's sitting his bar finals
(usually foll by for) (mainly Brit) to be a candidate (for a qualification): he's sitting for a BA
(intransitive; in combination) to look after a specified person or thing for someone else: granny-sit
(transitive) to have seating capacity for
(informal) sitting pretty, well placed or established financially, socially, etc
sit tight
  1. to wait patiently; bide one's time
  2. to maintain one's position, stand, or opinion firmly
Word Origin
Old English sittan; related to Old Norse sitja, Gothic sitan, Old High German sizzen, Latin sedēre to sit, Sanskrit sīdati he sits


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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 sit

Old English sittan "to occupy a seat, be seated, sit down, seat oneself; remain, continue; settle, encamp, occupy; lie in wait; besiege" (class V strong verb; past tense sæt, past participle seten), from Proto-Germanic *setjan (cf. Old Saxon sittian, Old Norse sitja, Danish sidde, Old Frisian sitta, Middle Dutch sitten, Dutch zitten, Old High German sizzan, German sitzen, Gothic sitan), from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit" (see sedentary).

With past tense sat, formerly also set, now restricted to dialect, and sate, now archaic; and past participle sat, formerly sitten. In reference to a legislative assembly, from 1510s. Meaning "to baby-sit" is recorded from 1966.

To sit back "be inactive" is from 1943. To sit on one's hands was originally "to withhold applause" (1926); later, "to do nothing" (1959). To sit around "be idle, do nothing" is 1915, American English. To sit out "not take part" is from 1650s. Sitting pretty is from 1916.

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



To take care of; attend and watch over: Who'll sit your house while you're gone? (1945+)

Related Terms

baby-sit, house-sit

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