it

1
[ it ]
/ ɪt /
|

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

noun

(in children's games) the player called upon to perform some task, as, in tag, the one who must catch the other players.
Slang.
  1. sex appeal.
  2. sexual intercourse.

Idioms

Origin of it

1
before 900; Middle English, variant of Middle English, Old English hit, neuter of he1

Usage note

See me.

Definition for it (2 of 6)

it

2
[ it ]
/ ɪt /

noun British Informal.

sweet vermouth: gin and it.

Origin of it

2
1930–35; It(alian vermouth)

Definition for it (3 of 6)

Definition for it (4 of 6)

Definition for it (5 of 6)

Definition for it (6 of 6)

it's

[ its ]
/ ɪts /

contraction of it is: It's starting to rain.
contraction of it has: It's been a long time.
Can be confusedit's its (see confusables note at its)

Usage note

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

British Dictionary definitions for it (1 of 5)

it

1
/ (ɪt) /

pronoun (subjective or objective)

noun

Word Origin for it

Old English hit

British Dictionary definitions for it (2 of 5)

it

2

the internet domain name for

Italy

British Dictionary definitions for it (3 of 5)

IT


abbreviation for

information technology

British Dictionary definitions for it (4 of 5)

It.


abbreviation for

Italian
Italy

British Dictionary definitions for it (5 of 5)

it's

/ (ɪts) /

contraction of

it is or it has

usage

One of the commonest mistakes made in written English is the confusion of its and it's . You can see examples of this every day in books, magazines, and newspapers: its good for us; a smart case with it's own mirror, and even Cheng, and its' subsidiaries . Its refers to something belonging to or relating to a thing that has already been mentioned: the baby threw its rattle out of the pram . It's is a shortened way of saying it is or it has (the apostrophe indicates that a letter has been omitted: it's a lovely day; it's been a great weekend .
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 it

it


pron.

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 it

it


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.