Meaning of IT in English


I. (|)i]t, _ə], usu ]d.+V pronoun

Etymology: Middle English it, hit, from Old English hit — more at he


a. : that one — used as neuter pronoun of the third person singular that is the subject or direct object or indirect object of a verb or the object of a preposition and usually used in reference to (1) a lifeless thing

took a quick look at the house and noticed it was very old

saw the corpse and walked over to it

it is now no more — E.H.Collis

or (2) a plant

there is a rosebush near the fence and it is now blooming

or (3) an insect

felt a fly land on her neck and squirmed as it crawled down

or an animal whose sex is unknown or disregarded

saw the horse break away and watched it gallop into the canyon

or (4) an infant or child whose sex is unknown or disregarded

if a child were severely beaten every time it sneezed — Bertrand Russell

heard the baby crying and brought it some milk

or (5) a group or classification of individuals or things

the football team is in top form and it is sure of victory

buy a bag of apricots … plums and grapes for fifteen cents, wash … and eat it on our way — Claudia Cassidy

or (6) an abstract noun

beauty is everywhere and it is a source of joy

or (7) a word viewed as a word

machine is a common word and it can be applied to a variety of things

or (8) a phrase or clause

“Go ahead,” she said, but he didn't hear it

— sometimes used pleonastically together with a noun as subject of a verb especially in ballad poetry

our love it was stronger by far — E.A.Poe

and in substandard speech

the horse it ran away

— often used with a present participle like the adjective its with a gerund in a way that makes distinction between the two constructions impossible except by arbitrary analysis

wet it before applying to the seal, to prevent it sticking — H.S.Kingsford

there was a doubt about it being available — Valentine Heywood

— see its ; compare he , she , they


(1) : that male or female one whose identity is unknown or uncertain — used especially in indirect or direct questions in reference to one that is usually not directly indicated (as by pointing) or otherwise clearly specified (as by a qualifying clause or phrase)

don't know who it is

the knocking at the door continued and she finally said “who is it ?”

someone appeared dimly in the fog and it spoke like my brother

(2) : that male or female one whose identity is known — sometimes used in the speech of children or usually disparagingly in the speech of others as a subject or object in reference to any person

just look at my daddy and the big car it has

what a little haughty prude it is — W.M.Thackeray

just listen to it talk

c. : you — used in speaking to or as if to a baby

did it hurt its little knees and chin

— compare he 4

d. : itself — used as indirect or direct object of a verb or as object of a preposition

the plane plunged to earth carrying all its occupants with it


a. — used as an expletive subject of an impersonal verb that expresses a simple condition or an action without direct or implied reference to an agent in statements or questions about (1) the weather

it is raining

it is getting cold

is it a pretty day — Agnes S. Turnbull

or (2) the time

it is eleven o'clock

it is late

or divisions or points of time (as seasons, holidays, generalized parts of day or night)

it 's only a few months until spring — C.W.Morton

it will soon be Christmas

it is getting on toward evening

it will dawn early tomorrow

or (3) physical or mental conditions

it hurts when I look at a bright light

it makes him sad if he thinks about her too much

or (4) an extent of distance or space

it is five miles to the next town

b. — used as an expletive subject in other statements or questions having an undefined subject

if it hadn't been for you, I don't know what I would have done

they have what it takes



(1) — used as an anticipatory subject of a verb whose logical subject is another word or a phrase or a clause

it is me

it is he who is responsible

it is the mayor they like

it is well you found out in time

it is necessary to repeat the whole thing

it is said the danger is great

it is a wonderful vacation spot, that town

it happened that they were away

— often used as subject of a periphrasis to shift emphasis from a logical subject to some other part of a statement

it was in this city that the treaty was signed

(2) — used as an anticipatory object of a verb whose logical object is another word or a phrase or a clause

I take it that there was some kind of rift — Hamilton Basso

he made it clear, that answer of his

found it necessary to continue

made it evident that we needed help

b. now chiefly dialect — used with the verb be where there is now used

are so proud, so censorious, that it is no living with them — Paul Bayne

it was an English lady bright, and she would marry a Scottish knight — Sir Walter Scott

it ' s nobody here but me

c. — used with many transitive verbs as a direct object with little or no meaning and an almost entirely expletive or reinforcing function

really living it up

decided to rough it on his vacation

or with many intransitive verbs as an apparent direct object with the same function

footed it back to camp

the satellites were free to go it alone — Newsweek

or with some words used as nonce verbs as an apparent direct object with the same function

decided that we would … hotel it — J.K.Jerome

a man who likes to chef it now and then — Gerald Movius



(1) : a matter discussed or considered or about to be discussed or considered

remembered she had told him about it

it being agreed then — Walter Goodman

(2) : a situation referred to either directly or by implication or about to be referred to either directly or by implication

thought it was splendid

doubted it would happen

it added up to a strangeness for which nothing in the previous frontier culture was a preparation — Bernard DeVoto

(3) : a statement or idea or similar object of attention referred to either directly or by implication or about to be referred to either directly or by implication

if you remember these points it will help you

b. : something read (as a passage in a book, words on a sign)

it tells in the book about the American Revolution

it says in the papers he expects to win the election

a mile back it said to take a right turn

or something looked at (as a traffic signal, a directional arrow)

come on, it says to go

5. : the general state of affairs or circumstances : general situation

it hasn't gone so well today

came to that remote place to fish, get away from it all — Robert Murphy

remember me, when it is well with you — Gen 40:14 (Revised Standard Version)



(1) : something that has been done

do it some more

or is being done

quit it

cut it out

or is to be done

go to it

he'll do it the right way

decided to make a long weekend of it — Rebecca West

(2) : some unpleasant or dreaded eventuality

in for it now

specifically : punishment or chastisement or retribution

going to catch it

put up with his sneers as long as possible and then let him have it


(1) : all that one can desire or experience

claims he's had it and that life is now pretty much a bore

(2) : all that one can endure or suffer

had a terrible day and swore he's really had it

(3) : all that one is going to be allowed to have or do

he's had it — I'm not going to put up with that nonsense any longer

c. : all that is required : the total extent of something needed or wanted

when you've finished that job, that's it and you can go home

everyone passes by, shakes hands and that's it — D.E.Weinland

d. : an expenditure of effort in attempting to attain an objective : struggle , contest

stick to it and you'll win out

7. : a way out of a difficulty : answer to a problem : solution

I have it ! This is what we'll do


a. : what is important or essential or tenaciously held to or sought after : what counts : what matters

haven't got a chance and you should realize it is all over now

specifically : life

had stopped breathing and I could see it was all over


(1) : a crucial moment when much is at stake : a crisis on whose outcome much or everything depends

an offensive was about to be launched and headquarters felt that this was it

(2) : a point at which the end of life or the end of everything that matters is imminent

this is it . From now on no power on earth can save the doomed city — F.V.Drake


a. : a quality or group of qualities requisite or desirable for or evidenced in a particular situation

the legislators had it on most of the other delegates in convention maneuvering — Bill Hatch

b. : something that is expected or desired : something suitable or satisfactory

that's it , you're doing fine


(1) : something that perfectly or nearly perfectly meets the requirements of a situation : the very thing needed or required : just the thing wanted

here's a suggestion for a Christmas gift that is really it

(2) : something that is without equal : something peerless

stop acting as though you were it

she just seems to think she's it

(3) : something beyond which one cannot go : the ultimate : pinnacle , acme

when it comes to graciousness, she's really it

10. : sexual intercourse

if I wanted to let you touch me I would … can't you see I don't want it — Morley Callaghan

II. adjective

Etymology: Middle English hit, from hit (pron.)

now chiefly dialect : its

III. ˈit, usu ˈid.+V\ noun

( -s )

Etymology: it (I)

1. : the player in a game who performs a key active or passive function (as trying to catch others in a game of tag or to answer questions in a guessing game) essential to the nature of the game

2. : physical allure especially when accompanied by personal magnetism and charm : sex appeal

IV. abbreviation


Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.