1 /hIt/ verb past tense and past participle hitpresent participle hitting
1 TOUCH SB/STH HARD (T) to touch someone or something quickly and usually hard with your hand, a stick etc: hit sth with: Billy was hitting a tin can with a spoon. | hit sb on the nose/in the stomach/over the head etc: She hit him playfully over the head with her newspaper. | get hit: Stand back you lot, or you'll get hit.
—compare punch 1 (1), slap 1 (1)
2 HIT/CRASH INTO STH (T) to move into something quickly and hard: The football hit the trash can with a bang. | The driver was drunk and hit three stationary cars.
3 ACCIDENTALLY (T) to move a part of your body quickly and hard against something so that it hurts you: hit sth on/against etc: I fell and hit my head on the table.
a) to make something such as a ball move by hitting it with a bat, stick etc: He hit the shuttlecock gently this time.
b) to get a point or some points by hitting a ball etc: hit two goals/a six etc: The batter hit a home run.
5 WORK A MACHINE ETC (T) to press a part in a machine, car, etc to make it work: Hit the brakes!
6 HURT SB (T) to deliberately move your hand, a stick, etc against someone and hurt them: Mom, she keeps hitting me! | hit sb with sth: They used to hit the kids with a leather belt. | hit sb over the head/in the stomach etc: She hit him as hard as she could around his face.
7 BULLETS/BOMBS ETC (transitive often passive) to wound someone or damage something with a bullet, bomb etc: hit sb/sth in/on etc: A second shot hit her in the back. | be badly hit: Our ship was badly hit and sank within minutes.
8 ATTACK (intransitive, transitive usually passive) to attack someone suddenly: The convoy was hit by Afghan government troops.
9 HURT, BUT NOT PHYSICALLY (T) informal to do something that harms someone: hit sb where it hurts (=in the way you think will be most upsetting for them): You should hit your husband where it hurts most - in his wallet! | hit sb when they are down (=harm someone even though they are already defeated or very weak)
10 BAD LUCK ETC (I, T) if something such as bad luck, illness, bad weather etc hits or hits someone, it suddenly affects them: The storm finally hit. | The guilt hit him like a lead weight. | be badly/severely/hard hit: The company has been badly hit by the drop in prices. | the worst/hardest hit: the areas of the country hardest hit by the recession
11 REACH A LEVEL/NUMBER (T) to reach a particular level or number: Youth unemployment has hit the one million mark. | hit rock-bottom/hit an all-time low (=reach an extremely low level): World oil prices have hit rock-bottom.
12 PROBLEM/TROUBLE (T) to experience trouble, a problem etc: I had hit a few snags in my work. | hit a bad patch spoken (=have a short period of difficulty)
13 REALIZE (T) if a fact hits you, you suddenly realize its importance and feel surprised or shocked: The full meaning of the night's events hit me and I started crying. | it hits sb: Suddenly it hit me. He was trying to ask me to marry him.
14 not know what hit you informal to be so surprised or shocked by something that you cannot think clearly
15 ARRIVE (T) informal to arrive or go somewhere: They hit the main road two kilometres further on. | hit town especially AmE: I'll look for work as soon as I hit town.
16 hit the road informal to start on a journey
17 TELL SB STH (T) informal if you hit someone with some information or news, you tell them something surprising or entertaining: Once you've hit the customer with the price you want to close the deal quickly.
18 hit it off (with sb) informal if two people hit it off with each other, they like each other as soon as they meet: I knew you'd hit it off with Mike.
19 hit the big time informal to suddenly become very famous, successful and rich
20 hit the bottle informal to start to drink a lot of alcohol
21 hit the dirt/the deck informal to fall to the ground because of danger
22 hit the ground running to start doing something successfully without any delay
23 hit the jackpot
a) to win a lot of money
b) informal to have a big success
24 hit the nail on the head especially spoken used to say that what someone has said is exactly right
25 hit the roof/the ceiling (I) spoken to become extremely angry: Dad hit the roof when I got home at 2am.
26 hit the sack informal to go to bed
27 hit the spot informal if food hits the spot, it stops you being hungry and tastes good
—see also: the shit will hit the fan shit 1 (12) hit back phrasal verb (I) to attack or criticize a person or group that has attacked or criticized you: hit back (at sb/sth): Stung by Maria's contempt, Philip hit back with a few well-chosen words. hit on phrasal verb (T)
1 (hit on something) also hit upon to have a good idea after thinking about a problem for a long time: He hit upon this ingenious method of freezing food.
2 (hit on something) also hit upon to discover something by a lucky chance: I think you may have hit upon the only error in the whole program.
3 (hit on someone) AmE informal to talk to someone in a way that shows you are sexually attracted to them: Don spent the whole night hitting on anything that moved.
hit out at phrasal verb (T)
1 (hit out at someone/something) also hit out against to express strong disapproval of someone or something: The bishop has hit out at the government's policy on homeless people.
2 (hit out at someone) to try to hit someone: He hit out at me without thinking.
hit sb up for sth phrasal verb (T) AmE spoken to ask someone for something: Can I hit you up for a loan till Thursday? 2 noun (countable usually singular)
1 a quick, hard touch with your hand or something you are holding: That was a hard hit!
2 an occasion when something that is aimed at something else touches it, reaches it, or damages it: I scored a hit with my first shot. | a direct hit: Our ship took a direct hit and sank.
3 something such as a piece of music, a film, or a play that is extremely popular: a hit single/show etc: The latest Broadway hit musical, “The Mask” | a big/smash hit: Chris de Burgh had a smash hit with “Lady in Red”.
4 be/make a hit with sb to be liked very much by someone: Your husband was a big hit with the kids.
5 a hit at sb a remark that is intended to hurt someone
6 slang the action of deliberately breathing in the smoke of an illegal drug
7 AmE slang a murder
—see also: hit man

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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