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

British Dictionary definitions for hit upon


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
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 upon



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.



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

Idioms and Phrases with hit upon

hit upon

see hit on.


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