[ pit ]
See synonyms for: pitpitspittedpitting on Thesaurus.com

  1. a naturally formed or excavated hole or cavity in the ground: pits caused by erosion;clay pits.

  2. a covered or concealed excavation in the ground, serving as a trap.

  1. Mining.

    • an excavation made in exploring for or removing a mineral deposit, as by open-cut methods.

    • the shaft of a coal mine.

    • the mine itself.

  2. the abode of evil spirits and lost souls; hell: an evil inspiration from the pit.

  3. the pits, Slang. an extremely unpleasant, boring, or depressing place, condition, person, etc.; the absolute worst: When you're alone, Christmas is the pits.

  4. a hollow or indentation in a surface: glass flawed by pits.

  5. a natural hollow or depression in the body: the pit of the back.

  6. pits, Informal. the armpits: up to my pits in work.

  7. a small, depressed scar, as one of those left on the skin after smallpox or chicken pox.

  8. an enclosure, usually below the level of the spectators, as for staging fights between dogs, cocks, or, formerly, bears.

  9. (in a commodity exchange) a part of the floor of the exchange where trading in a particular commodity takes place: the corn pit.

  10. Architecture.

    • all that part of the main floor of a theater behind the musicians.

    • British. the main floor of a theater behind the stalls.

  11. (in a hoistway) a space below the level of the lowest floor served.

  12. Auto Racing. an area at the side of a track, for servicing and refueling the cars.

  13. Bowling. the sunken area of a bowling alley behind the pins, for the placement or recovery of pins that have been knocked down.

  14. Track. the area forward of the takeoff point in a jumping event, as the broad jump or pole vault, that is filled with sawdust or soft earth to lessen the force of the jumper's landing.

  15. the area or room of a casino containing gambling tables.

verb (used with object),pit·ted, pit·ting.
  1. to mark or indent with pits or depressions: ground pitted by erosion.

  2. to scar with pockmarks: His forehead was pitted by chickenpox.

  1. to place or bury in a pit, as for storage.

  2. to set in opposition or combat, as one against another.

  3. to put (animals) in a pit or enclosure for fighting.

verb (used without object),pit·ted, pit·ting.
  1. to become marked with pits or depressions.

  2. (of body tissue) to retain temporarily a mark of pressure, as by a finger, instrument, etc.

Origin of pit

First recorded before 900; Middle English noun pit, pit(t)e, put(e), putte, Old English pytt “pit, grave,” from Latin puteus “well, pit, shaft”; verb derivative of the noun

Other words for pit

Words Nearby pit

Other definitions for pit (2 of 2)

[ pit ]

  1. the stone of a fruit, as of a cherry, peach, or plum.

verb (used with object),pit·ted, pit·ting.
  1. to remove the pit from (a fruit or fruits): to pit cherries for a pie.

Origin of pit

An Americanism dating back to 1835–45, from Dutch, Middle Dutch pitte, pit “kernel”; cognate with pith

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

How to use pit in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pit (1 of 3)


/ (pɪt) /

  1. a large, usually deep opening in the ground

    • a mine or excavation with a shaft, esp for coal

    • the shaft in a mine

    • (as modifier): pit pony; pit prop

  1. a concealed danger or difficulty

  2. the pit hell

  3. Also called: orchestra pit the area that is occupied by the orchestra in a theatre, located in front of the stage

  4. an enclosure for fighting animals or birds, esp gamecocks

  5. anatomy

    • a small natural depression on the surface of a body, organ, structure, or part; fossa

    • the floor of any natural bodily cavity: the pit of the stomach

  6. pathol a small indented scar at the site of a former pustule; pockmark

  7. any of various small areas in a plant cell wall that remain unthickened when the rest of the cell becomes lignified, esp the vascular tissue

  8. a working area at the side of a motor-racing track for servicing or refuelling vehicles

  9. a section on the floor of a commodity exchange devoted to a special line of trading

  10. a rowdy card game in which players bid for commodities

  11. an area of sand or other soft material at the end of a long-jump approach, behind the bar of a pole vault, etc, on which an athlete may land safely

  12. the ground floor of the auditorium of a theatre

  13. British a slang word for bed (def. 1), bedroom (def. 1)

  14. another word for pitfall (def. 2)

verbpits, pitting or pitted
  1. (tr often foll by against) to match in opposition, esp as antagonists

  2. to mark or become marked with pits

  1. (tr) to place or bury in a pit

Origin of pit

Old English pytt, from Latin puteus; compare Old French pet, Old High German pfuzzi

British Dictionary definitions for pit (2 of 3)


/ (pɪt) mainly US and Canadian /

  1. the stone of a cherry, plum, etc

verbpits, pitting or pitted
  1. (tr) to extract the stone from (a fruit)

Origin of pit

C19: from Dutch: kernel; compare pith

British Dictionary definitions for pit (3 of 3)


/ (pɪt) /

  1. a Scot word for put

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

Scientific definitions for pit


[ pĭt ]

  1. The hard, inner layer (the endocarp) of certain drupes that are valued for their flesh, such as peaches, cherries, or olives. Not in scientific use.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with pit


In addition to the idiom beginning with pit

  • pit against

also see:

  • the pits

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