Meaning of “hit” in the English Dictionary

"hit" in British English

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uk /hɪt/ us /hɪt/ present participle hitting, past tense and past participle hit

hit verb (TOUCH)

A2 [ T ] to move your hand or an object onto the surface of something so that it touches it, usually with force:

Teachers are not allowed to hit their pupils.
This type of glass won't shatter no matter how hard you hit it.
She hit her thumb with the hammer.

B1 [ T ] to touch something with sudden force:

They were going about 60 kilometres an hour when their car hit the tree.
One journalist was hit in the leg by a stray bullet.
That new shelf in the bathroom is too low - I just hit my head on it.

More examples

  • I've got a bruise where I hit my leg against the corner of the table.
  • A stone hit the window and cracked the glass.
  • I was only teasing him and suddenly he lashed out at me and hit me in the face.
  • The car skidded off the road, hit a tree and overturned.
  • Just try to concentrate on hitting the ball.

hit verb (EFFECT)

B2 [ T ] to have an unpleasant or negative effect on a person or thing:

Production has been badly hit by the strike.
Demand for transatlantic flights has been hit by fears of terrorist attacks.

C2 [ T ] If an idea or thought hits you, you suddenly think of it:

That's when it hit me that my life would never be the same again.

More examples

  • She opened the window and I was hit by an icy blast of air.
  • Small businesses have been worst hit by the recession.
  • These new tax arrangements will hit everyone, but especially middle-income families.
  • I've been having lots of short nights lately and today the lack of sleep has suddenly hit me.
  • He tries to pretend nothing has happened, but then reality hits him and it's very hard.

hit verb (SHOOT)

[ T often passive ] to shoot at or bomb a place or person, causing damage or injury:

Two schools were hit during the air raid.
He was hit in the neck by a bullet from a sniper.
Try to hit the middle of the target.

More examples

  • The bullet hit him and he crumpled into a heap on the floor.
  • Three soldiers were killed by friendly fire when a mortar bomb hit their truck.
  • 90 percent of the projected missiles will hit their target.
  • He was hit by a ricochet from a stray bullet.
  • I had four shots but I didn't even hit the target.

hit verb (REACH)

C1 [ T ] to arrive at a place or position:

If we turn left at the next junction, we should hit the main road after five miles or so.

C1 [ T ] to succeed in reaching or achieving something:

Our profits hit an all-time high of $20 million last year.
I just can't hit (= sing) those high notes like I used to.

More examples

  • The dollar has hit an all-time low against the Japanese yen.
  • It should be about six o'clock when we hit Birmingham.
  • The prime minister's opinion poll ratings have hit rock bottom.
  • Madonna's new single hit the charts today at number 3.
  • If you keep going in this direction, you will hit the coast eventually.

hit verb (SUCCESS)

hit it off informal

B2 to like someone and become friendly immediately:

I didn't really hit it off with his friends.
Jake and Sue hit it off immediately.

hitnoun [ C ]

uk /hɪt/ us /hɪt/

hit noun [ C ] (SUCCESS)

B1 a thing or person that is very popular or successful:

The Beatles had a string of number-one hits in the 1960s.
Your cake was a real hit at the party - everyone commented.
They've just released an album of their greatest hits (= their most successful songs).

More examples

  • The Beatles' first hit was 'Love Me Do'.
  • Her last film was a surprise box-office hit.
  • The new album contains some carefully-wrought new songs and a number of familiar hits.
  • He had a string of top-20 hits during the 80s.
  • We'll take a nostalgic look at the musical hits of the 60s.

hit noun [ C ] (TOUCH)

the act of hitting something or someone, or an occasion when something or someone hits you:

She gave him a hit on the head which knocked him flying.

in baseball, when the batter (= person trying to hit the ball) safely reaches first base after hitting the ball

(Definition of “hit” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"hit" in American English

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hitverb [ T ]

us /hɪt/

hit verb [ T ] (TOUCH FORCEFULLY)

present participle hitting, past tense and past participle hit to touch quickly and forcefully, with the hand or an object:

Don’t hit your little brother!
They were throwing rocks, and one of the rocks hit a window and broke it.
She must have fallen asleep, and the car hit a tree.

present participle hitting, past tense and past participle hit If something hits part of your body, or you hit it, you come up against it by accident:

He’s so tall he keeps hitting his head when he goes through a doorway.

present participle hitting, past tense and past participle hit Someone who is hit by a bullet or explosive weapon is injured by it:

One journalist was hit in the leg by a stray bullet.

hit verb [ T ] (HAVE EFFECT)

present participle hitting, past tense and past participle hit to have an unpleasant or negative effect on a person or thing:

Commuters are going to be hit hard by the rise in gasoline prices.

present participle hitting, past tense and past participle hit infml If an important fact hits you, you suddenly understand the meaning of it:

It just hit me that once she leaves, I may never see her again.

hit verb [ T ] (ARRIVE AT)

present participle hitting, past tense and past participle hit infml to arrive at a place, position, or state:

The company’s profits hit an all-time high last year.

hit verb [ T ] (BASEBALL)

to make a thrown baseball move within the playing area by touching it with a bat (= stick):

Rodriguez hit a high fly ball that was caught by the shortstop.

hitnoun [ C ]

us /hɪt/

hit noun [ C ] (SUCCESS)

someone or something that is very popular or successful:

The musical is one of the biggest hits on Broadway.

hit noun [ C ] (BASEBALL)

a base hit:

Jason had three hits in four times at bat.

hit noun [ C ] (FORCEFUL TOUCH)

the act of hitting someone or something, or an occasion when someone or something is hit:

The hospital took a direct hit from a bomb.

(Definition of “hit” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"hit" in Business English

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uk /hɪt/ us -tt-, hit

[ I or T ] to have an unpleasant or negative effect on someone or something :

Rising fuel costs hit industrial and rural areas worst.
Companies tend to be slow to lay off employees when hard times hit, but they are quicker to cease hiring.
be hit by sth Oil firms have been hit by a 10% increase in petroleum tax.
be hit with sth A tractor made in the United States and shipped to Chile is hit with $25,000 in tariffs and duties.

[ T ] to reach a particular level or amount, especially a very high or very low one:

Sales hit $300 million within the first three years.
hit an all-time/a record high/low Last week property shares hit a record low.
The company is very capable of hitting its targets well ahead of schedule.

[ T ] informal to experience a difficult situation or stop making progress with something:

Talks between the bosses and the union yesterday hit a major setback.
The project began smoothly, but then we began to hit some problems.
hit the market/shops/shelves

informal to become available for people to buy:

Although the toys are only just now hitting the market, a huge advertising campaign has been in place for several months.
be hit hard/be hard hit (by sth)

to be badly affected by something:

Car makers were among the hardest hit as consumers bought fewer vehicles last month.
The area has been hit hard by job losses in textiles and furniture.
hit a wall

to reach a point at which no more progress can be made:

The energy bill is expected to hit a wall in the Senate, where Republicans have enough votes to block it.
hit bottom

informal to reach an extremely low level:

The U.S. economy is beginning to show signs that it is hitting bottom and that a turnaround could get underway later this year.
hit it big

informal to become very successful:

The company hit it big when they received an order for three commercial satellites.
hit the buffers

mainly UK informal to suddenly stop being successful or stop happening:

The main worry is that the economy might hit the buffers.
Their plans to become one of the world's largest telecoms firms has hit the buffers.
hit the ground running

informal to immediately work hard and successfully at a new activity:

Companies often expect staff to hit the ground running.
hit the headlines

to receive a lot of attention in news reports:

He hit the headlines when he sold a million shares at £5.80 a share.
hit the jackpot

to achieve financial success:

They need a licensing deal to a big drug company before judging if their biotech venture has hit the jackpot.
hit the wall US

to be a financial failure:

The question mark is whether the company is going to hit the wall.

hitnoun [ C ]

uk /hɪt/ us

a thing or person that is very popular or successful:

a hit with sb/sth The Mexican restaurant is a huge hit with locals, who swear by the Mexican pizzas and fried bread dishes.
Plans call for doubling both the workforce and production if the vehicles prove a hit.

E-COMMERCE, MARKETING a visit to a particular website on the internet, which is then counted to calculate the number of people who see the website:

attract/get/receive hits The site typically gets an average of about 400,000 hits a day.

something that has an unpleasant or negative effect on a person or thing:

a hit to sth Investors are worried about the direct hit to consumer confidence.
For some businesses, the financial hit was substantial.
take a hit

to be badly affected by a difficult situation or problem:

Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation's economic activity, so when consumers take a hit, so does the economy.

to have to pay an unusual cost:

The company recently took a hit to the tune of $4 million in health insurance costs.

(Definition of “hit” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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