• synonyms


[ it ]
/ ɪt /

pronoun, nominative it, possessive its or (Obsolete or Dialect) it, objective it; plural nominative they, possessive their or theirs, objective them.


(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.




contend, squabble, disagree, quibble, dispute, quarrel, bicker, carp, waffle, spar, wrangle, tangle, consider, contest, deliberate, question, oppose, answer, pettifog, rehash

Nearby words


Origin of it

before 900; Middle English, variant of Middle English, Old English hit, neuter of he1

Usage note

See me. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for have it (1 of 3)


abbreviation for

information technology

British Dictionary definitions for have it (2 of 3)


/ (ɪt) /

pronoun (subjective or objective)


Word Origin for it

Old English hit

British Dictionary definitions for have it (3 of 3)



the internet domain name for

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 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

Idioms and Phrases with have it (1 of 2)

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 expressions have it over someone or have 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. [Colloquial; early 1900s] Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with have it; not have it.

Idioms and Phrases with have it (2 of 2)


In addition to the idioms beginning with it

  • it figures
  • it never rains but it pours
  • it stands to reason
  • it takes all sorts
  • it takes getting used to
  • it takes one to know one
  • it takes two to tango

also see:

  • that does it
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.