[ it ]
See synonyms for it on
pronoun,nominative it,possessive its or (Obsolete or Dialect) it,objective it;plural nominative they,possessive their or theirs,objective them.
  1. (used to represent an inanimate thing understood, previously mentioned, about to be mentioned, or present in the immediate context):It has whitewall tires and red upholstery.You can't tell a book by its cover.

  2. (used to represent an animal understood, previously mentioned, or about to be mentioned whose sex is unknown or disregarded): It was the largest shark ever caught off the Florida coast.The horse had its saddle on.

  1. (used to represent a person of previously unknown identity, in a sentence seeking, establishing, or commenting on their identity): "I heard the phone ring—who was it?" "It was John."Someone got hurt, but they think it was not the driver.

  2. (used to represent a group understood or previously mentioned): The judge told the jury it must decide two issues.

  3. (used to represent a concept or abstract idea understood or previously stated): It all started with my choice to walk out that door.He has been taught to believe it all his life.

  4. (used to represent an action or activity understood, previously mentioned, or about to be mentioned): Since you don't like it, you don't have to go skiing.

  5. (used as the impersonal subject of the verb to be, especially to refer to time, distance, or the weather): It is six o'clock.It is five miles to town.It was foggy.

  6. (used in statements expressing an action, condition, fact, circumstance, or situation without reference to an agent): If it weren't for Edna, I wouldn't go.

  7. (used in referring to something as the origin or cause of pain, pleasure, etc.): Where does it hurt?It looks bad for the candidate.

  8. (used in referring to a source not specifically named or described): It is said that love is blind.

  9. (used in referring to the general state of affairs, circumstances, fate, or life in general): How's it going with you?

  10. (used as an anticipatory subject or object in order to shift emphasis): It is necessary that you do your duty.It is I who should apologize.It was a very kind thing he did there.

  11. Informal. (used instead of the pronoun its before a gerund): It having rained for only one hour didn't help the crops.

  1. (in children's games) the player called upon to perform some task, such as, in tag, the one who must catch the other players.

  2. Slang.

    • sex appeal.

    • sexual intercourse.

Idioms about it

  1. get with it, Slang. to become active or interested: He was warned to get with it or resign.

  2. have it, Informal.

    • to love someone: She really has it bad for him.

    • to possess the requisite abilities for something; be talented, adept, or proficient: In this business you either have it or you don't.

  1. it is what it is. See entry at it is what it is.

  2. it's not over till it's over. See entry at it's not over till it's over.

  3. with it, Slang.

    • aware of the latest fads, fashions, etc.; up-to-date: By grooving on teenage slang, the principal is trying to show us how with it she is, but the effect is something like seeing a mohawk on Grandma.

    • attentive or alert: I'm just not with it early in the morning.

    • understanding or appreciative of something: Let's face it—when it comes to originality, Hollywood isn't really with it.

    • Carnival Slang. being a member of the carnival.

Origin of it

First recorded before 900; Middle English hit, hitte, it, Old English hit, neuter of he1

Grammar notes for it

See me.

Other definitions for it (2 of 5)

[ it ]

nounBritish Informal.
  1. sweet vermouth: gin and it.

Origin of it

First recorded in 1930–35; It(alian vermouth)

Other definitions for It (3 of 5)



Other definitions for IT (4 of 5)


Other definitions for It. (5 of 5)


  1. Italian.

  2. Italy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use it in a sentence

  • I was "strung up" to a high degree of expectation and listened every moment to hear the panpipes and the Roo-too-too-it.

    A Thin Ghost and Others | M. R. (Montague Rhodes) James
  • And yet—can you understand it?With a tender smile and a tear, And a half-compassionate yearning,I felt her grown more dear.

    Separation and Service | James Hudson Taylor
  • He wuz very peart and sassy, and it was take-it-or-leave-it-and-be-plaguey- quick-about-it all the time.

  • But in that other heart how was it?how with the sweet saint that was talking to herself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs?

    The Minister's Wooing | Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • What was there hidden under that despairing wail?it was the parting of the last strand of the cord of youthful hope.

    The Minister's Wooing | Harriet Beecher Stowe

British Dictionary definitions for it (1 of 4)


/ (ɪt) /

pronoun(subjective or objective)
  1. refers to a nonhuman, animal, plant, or inanimate thing, or sometimes to a small baby: it looks dangerous; give it a bone

  2. refers to an unspecified or implied antecedent or to a previous or understood clause, phrase, etc: it is impossible; I knew it

  1. used to represent human life or experience either in totality or in respect of the present situation: how's it going?; I've had it; to brazen it out

  2. used as a formal subject (or object), referring to a following clause, phrase, or word: it helps to know the truth; I consider it dangerous to go on

  3. used in the nominative as the formal grammatical subject of impersonal verbs. When it functions absolutely in such sentences, not referring to any previous or following clause or phrase, the context is nearly always a description of the environment or of some physical sensation: it is raining; it hurts

  4. (used as complement with be) informal the crucial or ultimate point: the steering failed and I thought that was it

  1. (in children's games) the player whose turn it is to try to touch another: Compare he 1 (def. 5b)

  2. informal

    • sexual intercourse

    • sex appeal

  1. informal a desirable quality or ability: he's really got it

Origin of it

Old English hit

British Dictionary definitions for it (2 of 4)


the internet domain name for
  1. Italy

British Dictionary definitions for IT (3 of 4)


abbreviation for
  1. information technology

British Dictionary definitions for It. (4 of 4)


abbreviation for
  1. Italian

  2. Italy

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with 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.