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 formshit·less, adjectivehit·ta·ble, adjectivehit·ter, nounnon·hit, nounout·hit, verb (used with object), out·hit, out·hit·ting.self-hit·ting, adjectiveun·hit, adjectiveun·hit·ta·ble, adjectivewell-hit, adjective

Synonym study

1. See strike, beat. 25, 27, 29. See blow1.




a rounded mark or stain made by foreign matter, as mud, blood, paint, ink, etc.; a blot or speck.
something that mars one's character or reputation; blemish; flaw.
a small blemish, mole, or lesion on the skin or other surface.
a small, circumscribed mark caused by disease, allergic reaction, decay, etc.
a comparatively small, usually roundish, part of a surface differing from the rest in color, texture, character, etc.: a bald spot.
a place or locality: A monument marks the spot where Washington slept.
Usually spots. places of entertainment or sightseeing interest: We went to a few spots to dance and see the floor shows.
a specific position in a sequence or hierarchy: The choral group has the second spot on the program, right after the dancers. He moved up from second spot to become president of the firm.
  1. one of various traditional, geometric drawings of a club, diamond, heart, or spade on a playing card for indicating suit and value.
  2. any playing card from a two through a ten: He drew a jack, a queen, and a three spot.
a pip, as on dice or dominoes.
Slang. a piece of paper money, almost always indicated as a five- or ten-dollar bill: Can you loan me a five spot until payday?
Also called spot illustration. a small drawing, usually black and white, appearing within or accompanying a text.
Chiefly British Informal.
  1. a small quantity of anything.
  2. a drink: a spot of tea.
a small croaker, Leiostomus xanthurus, of the eastern coast of the U.S., used as a food fish.
spots, Informal. commodities, as grain, wool, and soybeans, sold for immediate delivery.
Informal. spotlight(def 1).

verb (used with object), spot·ted, spot·ting.

to stain or mark with spots: The grease spotted my dress.
to remove a spot or spots from (clothing), especially before dry cleaning.
to sully; blemish.
to mark or diversify with spots or dots, as of color: We spotted the wall with blue paint.
to detect or recognize; locate or identify by seeing: to spot a hiding child.
to place or position on a particular place: to spot a billiard ball.
to stop (a railroad car) at the exact place required.
to scatter in various places: to spot chairs here and there in the room.
Informal. spotlight(def 5).
  1. to determine (a location) precisely on either the ground or a map.
  2. to observe (the results of gunfire at or near a target) for the purpose of correcting aim.
Photography. to remove spots from (a negative or print) by covering with opaque color.
Sports. to give or grant a certain margin or advantage to (an opponent): He spotted the tyro 12 points a game. The champion won, although spotting the challenger twenty pounds.
(in gymnastics) to watch or assist (a performer) in order to prevent injury.
Slang. to lend: Can you spot me twenty for tonight's game?

verb (used without object), spot·ted, spot·ting.

to make a spot; cause a stain: Ink spots badly.
to become spotted, as some fabrics when spattered with water.
Military. to serve or act as a spotter.


Radio, Television.
  1. pertaining to the point of origin of a local broadcast.
  2. broadcast between announced programs.
made, paid, delivered, etc., at once: a spot sale; spot goods.

Origin of spot

1150–1200; (noun) Middle English spotte; cognate with Middle Dutch, Low German spot speck, Old Norse spotti bit; (v.) late Middle English spotten to stain, mark, derivative of the noun
Related formsspot·like, adjectivespot·ta·ble, adjectivenon·spot·ta·ble, adjectivere·spot, verb, re·spot·ted, re·spot·ting.un·spot·ta·ble, adjective

Synonyms for spot Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hit the high spots


verb hits, hitting or hit (mainly tr)

(also intr) to deal (a blow or stroke) to (a person or thing); strikethe man hit the child
to come into violent contact withthe car hit the tree
to reach or strike with a missile, thrown object, etcto hit a target
to make or cause to make forceful contact; knock or bumpI hit my arm on the table
to propel or cause to move by strikingto hit a ball
cricket to score (runs)
to affect (a person, place, or thing) suddenly or adverselyhis 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 reachto hit the jackpot; unemployment hit a new high
to experience or encounterI'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 accidentyou have hit the answer
informal to set out on (a road, path, etc)let's hit the road
informal to arrive or appear inhe will hit town tomorrow night
informal, mainly US and Canadian to demand or request fromhe hit me for a pound
slang to drink an excessive amount of (alcohol)to hit the bottle
hit it music slang start playing
hit skins US slang to have sexual intercourse
hit the sack or hit the hay slang 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 appealshe'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
make a hit with or score a hit with informal to make a favourable impression on

Word Origin for hit

Old English hittan, from Old Norse hitta



a small mark on a surface, such as a circular patch or stain, differing in colour or texture from its surroundings
a geographical area that is restricted in extenta beauty spot
a locationthis is the exact spot on which he died
a blemish of the skin, esp a pimple or one occurring through some disease
a blemish on the character of a person; moral flaw
informal a place of entertainmentwe hit all the night spots
informal, mainly British a small quantity or amounta spot of lunch
informal an awkward situationthat puts me in a bit of a spot
a short period between regular television or radio programmes that is used for advertising
a position or length of time in a show assigned to a specific performer
short for spotlight
(in billiards)
  1. Also called: spot ballthe white ball that is distinguished from the plain by a mark or spot
  2. the player using this ball
billiards snooker one of several small black dots on a table that mark where a ball is to be placed
  1. denoting or relating to goods, currencies, or securities available for immediate delivery and paymentspot goods See also spot market, spot price
  2. involving immediate cash paymentspot sales
change one's spots (used mainly in negative constructions) to reform one's character
high spot an outstanding eventthe high spot of the holiday was the visit to the winery
knock spots off to outstrip or outdo with ease
on the spot
  1. immediately
  2. at the place in question
  3. in the best possible position to deal with a situation
  4. in an awkward predicament
  5. without moving from the place of one's location, etc
  6. (as modifier)our on-the-spot reporter
soft spot a special sympathetic affection or weakness for a person or thing
tight spot a serious, difficult, or dangerous situation
weak spot
  1. some aspect of a character or situation that is susceptible to criticism
  2. a flaw in a person's knowledgeclassics is my weak spot

verb spots, spotting or spotted

(tr) to observe or perceive suddenly, esp under difficult circumstances; discern
to put stains or spots upon (something)
(intr) (of some fabrics) to be susceptible to spotting by or as if by watersilk spots easily
(tr) to place here and therethey spotted observers along the border
to look out for and note (trains, talent, etc)
(intr) to rain slightly; spit
(tr) billiards to place (a ball) on one of the spots
military to adjust fire in order to correct deviations from (the target) by observation
(tr) US informal to yield (an advantage or concession) to (one's opponent)to spot someone a piece in chess
Derived Formsspottable, adjective

Word Origin for spot

C12 (in the sense: moral blemish): of German origin; compare Middle Dutch spotte, Old Norse spotti
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 hit the high spots



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.



c.1200, "moral stain," probably from Old English splott "a spot, blot, patch (of land)" infl. by Middle Dutch spotte "spot, speck." Other cognates are East Frisian spot "speck," North Frisian spot "speck, piece of ground," Old Norse spotti "small piece." It is likely that some of these are borrowed, but the exact evolution now is impossible to trace.

Meaning "speck, stain" is from mid-14c. The sense of "particular place" is from c.1300. Meaning "short interval in a broadcast for an advertisement or announcement" is from 1923. Proceeded by a number (e.g. five-spot) it originally was a term for "prison sentence" of that many years (1901, American English slang). To put (someone) on the spot "place in a difficult situation" is from 1928. Colloquial phrase to hit the spot "satisfy, be what is required" is from 1868. Spot check first attested 1933. Spot on "completely, accurately" is attested from 1920.



early 15c., "to stain, sully, tarnish" from spot (n.). Sense of "to stain with spots" is attested from mid-15c. Meaning "to see and recognize," is from 1718, originally colloquial and applied to a criminal or suspected person; the general sense is from 1860. Related: Spotted; spotting.



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

hit the high spots in Medicine




A mark on a surface differing sharply in color from its surroundings.
A stain or blot.


To lose a slight amount of blood through the vagina.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with hit the high spots

hit the high spots

Also, hit the high points. Pay attention only to the most important places or parts. For example, We only had a week in New York, but we managed to hit the high spots, or His speech was brief, but he hit all the high points. This idiom alludes to running a dustcloth or paintbrush over an uneven surface and touching only the raised portions. [c. 1900]


In addition to the idioms beginning with hit

  • hit a snag
  • hit below the belt
  • hit between the eyes
  • hit bottom
  • hit it big
  • hit it off
  • hit on
  • hit on all cylinders
  • hit one's stride
  • hit one where one lives
  • hit or miss
  • hit out
  • hit parade
  • hit the books
  • hit the bottle
  • hit the bricks
  • hit the bull's-eye
  • hit the ceiling
  • hit the deck
  • hit the fan
  • hit the ground running
  • hit the hay
  • hit the high spots
  • hit the jackpot
  • hit the mark
  • hit the nail on the head
  • hit the road
  • hit the roof
  • hit the sack
  • hit the spot
  • hit up for
  • hit upon

also see:

  • (hit) below the belt
  • can't hit the broad side of a barn
  • heavy hitter
  • make a hit
  • pinch hitter
  • smash hit


see blind spot; hit the high spots; hit the spot; in a bind (tight spot); in a fix (spot); Johnny-on-the-spot; knock the socks (spots) off; leopard cannot change its spots; on the spot; rooted to the spot; soft spot; x marks the spot.

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