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bit2

[bit]
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noun
  1. a small piece or quantity of anything: a bit of string.
  2. a short time: Wait a bit.
  3. Informal. an amount equivalent to 12½ U.S. cents (used only in even multiples): two bits; six bits.
  4. an act, performance, or routine: She's doing the Camille bit, pretending to be near collapse.
  5. a stereotypic or habitual set of behaviors, attitudes, or styles associated with an individual, role, situation, etc.: the whole Wall Street bit.
  6. Also called bit part. a very small role, as in a play or motion picture, containing few or no lines.Compare walk-on(def 1).
  7. any small coin: a threepenny bit.
  8. a Spanish or Mexican silver real worth 12½ cents, formerly current in parts of the U.S.
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Idioms
  1. a bit, rather or somewhat; a little: a bit sleepy.
  2. a bit much, somewhat overdone or beyond tolerability.
  3. bit by bit, by degrees; gradually: Having saved money bit by bit, they now had enough to buy the land.
  4. do one's bit, to contribute one's share to an effort: They all did their bit during the war.
  5. every bit, quite; just: every bit as good.
  6. quite a bit, a fairly large amount: There's quite a bit of snow on the ground.
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Origin of bit2

before 1000; Middle English bite, Old English bita bit, morsel; cognate with German Bissen, Old Norse biti. See bite

Synonyms

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1. particle, speck, grain, mite; whit, iota, jot; scrap, fragment.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for quite a bit

bit1

noun
  1. a small piece, portion, or quantity
  2. a short time or distance
  3. US and Canadian informal the value of an eighth of a dollar: spoken of only in units of twotwo bits
  4. any small coin
  5. short for bit part
  6. informal way of behaving, esp one intended to create a particular impressionshe's doing the prima donna bit
  7. a bit rather; somewhata bit dreary
  8. a bit of
    1. rathera bit of a dope
    2. a considerable amountthat must take quite a bit of courage
  9. a bit of all right, a bit of crumpet, a bit of stuff or a bit of tail British slang a sexually attractive woman
  10. bit by bit gradually
  11. bit on the side informal an extramarital affair
  12. do one's bit to make one's expected contribution
  13. every bit (foll by as) to the same degreeshe was every bit as clever as her brother
  14. not a bit or not a bit of it not in the slightest; not at all
  15. to bits completely apartto fall to bits
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Word Origin

Old English bite action of biting; see bite

bit2

noun
  1. a metal mouthpiece, for controlling a horse on a bridle
  2. anything that restrains or curbs
  3. take the bit in one's teeth, take the bit between one's teeth, have the bit in one's teeth or have the bit between one's teeth
    1. to undertake a task with determination
    2. to rebel against control
  4. a cutting or drilling tool, part, or head in a brace, drill, etc
  5. the blade of a woodworking plane
  6. the part of a pair of pincers designed to grasp an object
  7. the copper end of a soldering iron
  8. the part of a key that engages the levers of a lock
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verb bits, bitting or bitted (tr)
  1. to put a bit in the mouth of (a horse)
  2. to restrain; curb
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Word Origin

Old English bita; related to Old English bītan to bite

bit3

verb
  1. the past tense and (archaic) past participle of bite
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bit4

noun maths computing
  1. a single digit of binary notation, represented either by 0 or by 1
  2. the smallest unit of information, indicating the presence or absence of a single feature
  3. a unit of capacity of a computer, consisting of an element of its physical structure capable of being in either of two states, such as a switch with on and off positions, or a microscopic magnet capable of alignment in two directions
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Word Origin

C20: from abbreviation of binary digit
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 quite a bit

bit

n.1

"small piece," c.1200; related Old English bite "act of biting," and bita "piece bitten off," probably are the source of the modern words meaning "boring-piece of a drill" (1590s), "mouthpiece of a horse's bridle" (mid-14c.), and "a piece bitten off, morsel" (c.1000). All from Proto-Germanic *biton (cf. Old Saxon biti, Old Norse bit, Old Frisian bite, Middle Dutch bete, Old High German bizzo "biting," German Bissen "a bite, morsel"), from PIE root *bheid- "to split" (see fissure).

Meaning "small piece, fragment" is from c.1600. Sense of "short space of time" is 1650s. Theatrical bit part is from 1909. Money sense in two bits, etc. is originally from Southern U.S. and West Indies, in reference to silver wedges cut or stamped from Spanish dollars (later Mexican reals); transferred to "eighth of a dollar."

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bit

n.2

computerese word, 1948 abbreviation coined by U.S. computer pioneer John W. Tukey (1915-2000) of binary digit, probably chosen for its identity with bit (n.1).

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bit

v.

past tense of bite.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

quite a bit in Science

bit

[bĭt]
  1. The smallest unit of computer memory. A bit holds one of two possible values, either of the binary digits 0 or 1. The term comes from the phrase binary digit. See Note at byte.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

quite a bit in Culture

bit

The smallest unit of information. One bit corresponds to a “yes” or “no.” Some examples of a bit of information: whether a light is on or off, whether a switch (like a transistor) is on or off, whether a grain of magnetized iron points up or down.

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Note

The information in a digital computer is stored in the form of bits.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with quite a bit

quite a bit

Also, quite a few; quite a lot. A considerable or moderate amount, as in There's still quite a bit of snow on the ground, or Quite a few parking spaces are open. [Second half of 1800s]

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bit

In addition to the idiom beginning with bit

  • bit by bit
  • bite off more than one can chew
  • bite one's nails
  • bite one's tongue
  • bite someone's head off
  • bite the bullet
  • bite the dust
  • bite the hand that feeds you

also see:

  • a bit
  • champ at the bit
  • do one's bit
  • every bit
  • not a bit
  • quite a bit
  • take the bit in one's mouth
  • two bits
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.