its

[ its ]
/ ɪts /

pronoun

the possessive form of it1 (used as an attributive adjective): The book has lost its jacket. I'm sorry about its being so late.

Origin of its

1590–1600; earlier it's, equivalent to it1 + 's2
Can be confusedit's its

Confusables note

A very common mistake is to write its (the possessive form of it ) when it's (the short form of it is or it has ) is required: It's [it is] unclear what he meant. It's [it has] been wonderful seeing you again. But do not use it's for it has when has is the main verb: It has a strong flavor; use it sparingly cannot be written as It's a strong flavor… An equally common mistake is to use it's for the possessive, probably because ordinary possessives of nouns are formed with an apostrophe: the dog's coat; Mary's cell phone. But the possessive its is a pronoun, not a noun, and, like other possessive pronouns ( his, hers, yours, and theirs ), is written without that particular bit of punctuation: I have to fix my bike. Its front wheel came off.

Usage note

While it is possible to use its as a predicate adjective ( The cat is angry because the bowl you're eating out of is its! ) or as a pronoun meaning “that or those belonging to it” ( Your notebook pages are torn. Borrow my notebook—its aren't ), such use is rare and in most circumstances strained. See also me.

Definition for its (2 of 4)

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.

Origin of it

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

Usage note

See me.

Definition for its (3 of 4)

it

2
[ it ]
/ ɪt /

noun British Informal.

sweet vermouth: gin and it.

Origin of it

2
1930–35; It(alian vermouth)

Definition for its (4 of 4)

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 its (1 of 5)

its

/ (ɪts) /

determiner

  1. of, belonging to, or associated in some way with itits left rear wheel
  2. (as pronoun)each town claims its is the best

British Dictionary definitions for its (2 of 5)

IT


abbreviation for

information technology

British Dictionary definitions for its (3 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 .

British Dictionary definitions for its (4 of 5)

it

1
/ (ɪt) /

pronoun (subjective or objective)

noun

Word Origin for it

Old English hit

British Dictionary definitions for its (5 of 5)

it

2

the internet domain name for

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

Idioms and Phrases with its

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.