n. 1 a small piece or quantity (a bit of cheese; give me another bit; that bit is too small). 2 (prec. by a) a a fair amount (sold quite a bit; needed a bit of persuading). b colloq. somewhat (am a bit tired). c (foll. by of) colloq. rather (a bit of an idiot). d (foll. by of) colloq. only a little; a mere (a bit of a boy). 3 a short time or distance (wait a bit; move up a bit). 4 US sl. a unit of 12« cents (used only in even multiples). bit by bit gradually. bit of all right sl. a pleasing person or thing, esp. a woman. bit of fluff (or skirt or stuff) see FLUFF, SKIRT, STUFF. bit on the side sl. an extramarital sexual relationship. bit part a minor part in a play or a film. bits and pieces (or bobs) an assortment of small items. do one's bit colloq. make a useful contribution to an effort or cause. every bit as see EVERY. not a bit (or not a bit of it) not at all. to bits into pieces.
[ OE bita f. Gmc, rel. to BITE ]