/sIt/ verb past tense and past participle sat present participle sitting
a) (I) to be on a chair or seat, or on the ground, with the top half of your body upright and your weight resting on your buttocks
(+on/in/by etc): sitting in a comfortable armchair | We all sat around the campfire and sang songs. | She's the girl that sits next to me in my math class. | sit at a desk/table etc (=sit facing it): Harry sat at his desk and stared out of the window. | sit doing sth: We sat watching TV for a while. | sit still: I wish you children would sit still for minutes.
b) (intransitive always+adv/prep) to get to a sitting position after you have been standing up: Jim walked over and sat beside her.
c) (intransitive always + adv/prep) to make someone sit down or help them to sit down: sit sb down/on/in etc: I sat him down in the armchair by his bed.
2 OBJECTS/BUILDINGS ETC (intransitive always + adv/prep) to lie or be placed in a particular position
(+on/in etc): “Where's my coat?” “It was sitting on the bottom of the stairs last time I saw it.” | a village sitting on the side of a hill | When I got to work I found a huge bunch of flowers sitting on my desk.
3 DO NOTHING (intransitive always +adv/prep) to stay in one place for a long time, especially sitting down, doing nothing useful or helpful: I spent half the morning sitting in a traffic jam. | Well, I can't sit here chatting all day. | She just sits there complaining all day.
a) to be a member of a committee, parliament, or other official group
(+in/on): She sits on several government committees. | Their father sits in the National Assembly.
b) to have a meeting in order to carry out official business: The council only sits once a month. | The court will sit until all the evidence has been heard.
5 sit tight
a) to stay where you are and not move: If your car breaks down, just sit tight and wait for the police.
b) to stay in the same situation, and not change your mind and do anything new: We're advising all our investors to sit tight till the market improves.
6 be sitting pretty to be in a very good or favourable position: With profits up by over 80%, the company is sitting pretty.
7 sit in judgment on/over to give your opinion about whether someone has done something wrong, especially when you have no right to do this
8 sit on sb's tail to drive very close behind a car, especially because you are waiting for a chance to pass it
9 ANIMAL/BIRD (intransitive always + adv/prep)
a) to be in, or get into, a resting position, with the tail end of the body resting on a surface: The cat likes to sit on the wall outside the kitchen.
b) if a bird sits on its eggs, it covers them with its body to make the eggs hatch
10 PICTURE/PHOTO (intransitive + for) to sit somewhere so that you can be painted or photographed
11 LOOK AFTER (intransitive + for) to look after a baby or child while its parents are out; babysit
12 EXAMS (intransitive + for, transitive) BrE to take an examination: Tracy's sitting her GCSEs this year.
sit around/about phrasal verb (I) to spend a lot of time sitting and doing nothing very useful: We used to just sit around for hours talking about the meaning of life. sit back phrasal verb (I)
1 to settle yourself in a comfortable chair and relax: You sit back and watch TV - I'll wash up.
2 to relax and make no effort to get involved in something or influence what happens: Don't just sit back and wait for new business to come to you. | All we have to do now is sit back and watch the checks roll in.
sit down phrasal verb (I)
1 to be in a sitting position or get into a sitting position: Come over here and sit down ! | If you work sitting down, you need to take plenty of exercise. | sit yourself down spoken: Come in Sally, sit yourself down.
2 sit down and ... to try to solve a problem or deal with something that needs to be done, by giving it all your attention: I think we need to sit down and analyse these figures properly. | Maybe if you sat down and talked it through you could reach an agreement.
sit in phrasal verb (I)
1 to be present at a meeting but not take an active part in it
(+ on): Do you mind if I sit in on some of the interviews?
2 to do a job, go to a meeting etc instead of the person who usually does it
(+ for): This is Alan James sitting in for Suzy Williams on the mid-morning show.
3 to take part in a sit­in (=kind of protest)
sit on sth phrasal verb (T) informal to delay dealing with something: I sent my application about six weeks ago and they've just been sitting on it. sit sth out phrasal verb (T) to stay where you are until something finishes, especially something boring or unpleasant: We forced ourselves to sit the play out. | rich businessmen who had sat the war out comfortably in South Africa sit through sth phrasal verb (T) to attend a meeting, performance etc, and stay until the end, even if it is very long and boring: As a councillor, you have to sit through endless planning meetings. sit up phrasal verb
1 (I) to be in a sitting position or get into a sitting position after you have been lying down: By the time I got there he was sitting up in bed and reading a book. | At this, Faye sat up and flung aside the bed covers.
2 (transitive sit someone up) to help someone to sit after they have been lying down
3 (I) to sit in a chair with your back up straight: Just sit up straight and stop slouching.
4 (I) to stay up very late: Sometimes we just sit up and watch videos all night.
5 make sb sit up (and take notice) to do something surprising or impressive that makes someone pay attention to you: a fantastic performance that made all the critics sit up and take notice
USAGE NOTE: SIT WORD CHOICE: sit, sit at/in front of/on/in, sit down, seat, be seated You sit at a table, piano, or desk (unless you choose to sit on them!), and also at a computer or the controls of a car or plane. However, you sit in front of the television or the fire (though you can also sit by or around a fire). You sit on something that has a flat, level surface such as the floor, the grass, a simple chair or seat, a bench, or a bed. You sit in a tree, long grass, a car, a room, a corner, an armchair, the driving seat of a car. When you are talking about the action of moving from standing to sitting, it is more common to use sit down rather than sit on its own: They quietly sat down again (NOT usually sat again).). Please sit down! You usually only say Sit! to a dog. Note that seat as a verb is only transitive, is a little formal, and is used in these ways: This hall will seat 100 people (=has seats for 100 people).| They seated us at the front (=put us in seats at the front). Be seated is a formal expression for sit down. At a formal dinner for example, you might hear: Please be seated (=please sit down).

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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