[ sit ]
See synonyms for: sitsatesatsitting on

verb (used without object),sat or (Archaic) sate [sat, seyt]; /sæt, seɪt/; sat or (Archaic) sit·ten [sit-n]; /ˈsɪt n/; sit·ting.
  1. to rest with the body supported by the buttocks or thighs; be seated.

  2. to be located or situated: The house sits well up on the slope.

  1. to rest or lie (usually followed by on or upon): An aura of greatness sits easily upon him.

  2. to place oneself in position for an artist, photographer, etc.; pose: to sit for a portrait.

  3. to remain quiet or inactive: They let the matter sit.

  4. (of a bird) to perch or roost.

  5. (of a hen) to cover eggs to hatch them; brood.

  6. to fit, rest, or hang, as a garment: The jacket sits well on your shoulders.

  7. to occupy a place or have a seat in an official assembly or in an official capacity, as a legislator, judge, or bishop.

  8. to be convened or in session, as an assembly.

  9. to act as a baby-sitter.

  10. (of wind) to blow from the indicated direction: The wind sits in the west tonight.

  11. to be accepted or considered in the way indicated: Something about his looks just didn't sit right with me.

  12. Informal. to be acceptable to the stomach: Something I ate for breakfast didn't sit too well.

  13. Chiefly British. to take a test or examination: I’m studying now, and I plan to sit in June.

verb (used with object),sat or (Archaic) sate [sat, seyt]; /sæt, seɪt/; sat or (Archaic) sit·ten [sit-n]; /ˈsɪt n/; sit·ting.
  1. to cause to sit; seat (often followed by down): Sit yourself down. He sat me near him.

  2. to sit astride or keep one's seat on (a horse or other animal): She sits her horse gracefully.

  1. to provide seating accommodations or seating room for; seat: Our dining-room table only sits six people.

  2. Informal. to serve as baby-sitter for: A neighbor can sit the children while you go out.

  3. Chiefly British. to take (a test or examination): She finally received permission to sit the exam at a later date.

Verb Phrases
  1. sit down,

    • to take a seat.

    • to descend to a sitting position; alight.

    • to take up a position, as to encamp or besiege: The military forces sat down at the approaches to the city.

  2. sit in,

    • to attend or take part as a visitor or temporary participant: to sit in at a bridge game; to sit in for the band's regular pianist.

    • to take part in a sit-in.

  1. sit in on, to be a spectator, observer, or visitor at: to sit in on classes.

  2. sit on / upon

    • to inquire into or deliberate over: A coroner's jury was called to sit on the case.

    • Informal. to suppress; silence: They sat on the bad news as long as they could.

    • Informal. to check or rebuke; squelch: I'll sit on him if he tries to interrupt me.

  3. sit out,

    • to stay to the end of: Though bored, we sat out the play.

    • to surpass in endurance: He sat out his tormentors.

    • to keep one's seat during (a dance, competition, etc.); fail to participate in: We sat out all the Latin-American numbers.

  4. sit up,

    • to rise from a supine to a sitting position.

    • to delay the hour of retiring beyond the usual time.

    • to sit upright; hold oneself erect.

    • Informal. to become interested or astonished: We all sat up when the holiday was announced.

Idioms about sit

  1. sit on one's hands,

    • to fail to applaud.

    • to fail to take appropriate action.

  2. sit pretty, Informal. to be in a comfortable situation: He's been sitting pretty ever since he got that new job.

  1. sit tight, to bide one's time; take no action: I'm going to sit tight till I hear from you.

Origin of sit

First recorded before 900; Middle English sitten, Old English sittan; cognate with Dutch zitten, German sitzen, Old Norse sitja; akin to Gothic sitan, Latin sedēre, Greek hézesthai (base hed- ); cf. set, sedate, cathedra, nest

confusables note For sit

See set.

Other words for sit

Words that may be confused with sit

  • set, sit (see confusables note at set)

Words Nearby sit

Other definitions for sit (2 of 2)

[ sit ]

  1. (in prescriptions) may it be.

Origin of sit

From Latin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sit in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sit (1 of 2)


/ (sɪt) /

verbsits, sitting or sat (mainly intr)
  1. (also tr; when intr, often foll by down, in, or on) to adopt or rest in a posture in which the body is supported on the buttocks and thighs and the torso is more or less upright: to sit on a chair; sit a horse

  2. (tr) to cause to adopt such a posture

  1. (of an animal) to adopt or rest in a posture with the hindquarters lowered to the ground

  2. (of a bird) to perch or roost

  3. (of a hen or other bird) to cover eggs to hatch them; brood

  4. to be situated or located

  5. (of the wind) to blow from the direction specified

  6. to adopt and maintain a posture for one's portrait to be painted, etc

  7. to occupy or be entitled to a seat in some official capacity, as a judge, elected representative, etc

  8. (of a deliberative body) to be convened or in session

  9. to remain inactive or unused: his car sat in the garage for a year

  10. to rest or lie as specified: the nut was sitting so awkwardly that he couldn't turn it

  11. (of a garment) to fit or hang as specified: that dress sits well on you

  12. to weigh, rest, or lie as specified: greatness sits easily on him

  13. (tr) mainly British to take (an examination): he's sitting his bar finals

  14. (usually foll by for) mainly British to be a candidate (for a qualification): he's sitting for a BA

  15. (intr; in combination) to look after a specified person or thing for someone else: granny-sit

  16. (tr) to have seating capacity for

  17. sitting pretty informal well placed or established financially, socially, etc

  18. sit tight

    • to wait patiently; bide one's time

    • to maintain one's position, stand, or opinion firmly

Origin of sit

Old English sittan; related to Old Norse sitja, Gothic sitan, Old High German sizzen, Latin sedēre to sit, Sanskrit sīdati he sits

British Dictionary definitions for SIT (2 of 2)


/ text messaging /

abbreviation for
  1. stay in touch

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 sit


In addition to the idioms beginning with sit

  • sit at one's feet
  • sit back
  • sit bolt upright
  • sit by
  • sit down
  • sit in
  • sit on
  • sit on one's hands
  • sit out
  • sit pretty
  • sit through
  • sit tight
  • sit up
  • sit well with

also see:

  • at a sitting

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