1 /bIt/ noun (C)
1 SLIGHTLY/FAIRLY a bit informal, especially BrE
a) slightly, but not very; a little: Could you turn the radio down a bit, please? | Stay a bit longer - it's still early. | I think you're a bit young to be watching this. | a bit more/less: Would you like a bit more cake? | a bit like (=a little similar): She's a bit like my sister.
b) used when you mean `very' or `quite a lot', but you do not want to emphasize it too much: It's all a bit depressing, really.
2 AMOUNT informal, especially BrE a small amount, especially of something that is not a physical object
(+ of): Let me give you a bit of advice. | We may need a bit of help. | He still likes to do a bit of gardening.
3 PIECE a small piece of something
(+ of): The floor was covered with bits of broken glass. | break/smash/blow sth to bits: The bridge was blown to bits by the blast. | fall to bits: That old table's falling to bits.
4 PART informal especially BrE a part or piece of something larger: You can play on the grass, but keep off the muddy bits.
(+ of): I liked the last bit of the film best.
5 a good bit/quite a bit especially BrE a fairly large amount, or to a fairly large degree: She knows quite a bit about European history. | She's quite a bit older than me.
6 not a bit especially BrE not at all: You're not a bit like your brother, are you? | I wasn't a bit worried.
7 every bit as just as much as: I think she's every bit as pretty as her sister.
8 bit by bit especially BrE gradually: It's a slow process, but we're getting there bit by bit.
9 a bit at a time especially BrE in several small parts, not all at the same time: Just do a bit at a time.
10 TOOL the sharp part of a tool for cutting or making holes: a drill bit
11 FOR A HORSE a metal bar that is put in the mouth of a horse and used for controlling its movements
12 COMPUTER the smallest unit of information that can be used by a computer: a 16-bit processor
-compare byte
13 a bit part a very small and unimportant acting job in a play or film: He got a bit part in `Coronation Street'.
14 bits and pieces/bits and bobs BrE informal any small things of various kinds: Let me get my bits and pieces together. | I still had a few bits and bobs of work left to do.
15 do your bit BrE informal to do your share of the work that needs to be done: I don't mind doing my bit, but I'm not organizing the whole thing on my own.
16 get the bit between your teeth BrE to start doing something in a very determined way, so that you are not likely to stop until it is done: Once she'd got the bit between her teeth, there was no stopping her.
17 take the bit between your teeth AmE to make a determined effort to deal with something difficult or unpleasant: I just have to take the bit between my teeth and start writing that essay.
a) AmE old use 12 cents: I wouldn't give you two bits for that old book.
-see also: two bits two (7)
b) BrE old use a small coin: a threepenny bit
19 YOUNG WOMAN also a bit of stuff/fluff/skirt spoken offensive expressions meaning a young woman, especially one who is sexually attractive
20 a bit of all right BrE informal used to describe someone you think is sexually attractive: She's a bit of all right.
21 a bit on the side BrE informal often humorous the girlfriend or boyfriend of someone who is already married or involved in a sexual relationship with someone else
-see also: be champing at the bit champ 1 (2), a bit of rough rough 1 (19)
22 a bit of a problem/surprise/fool etc BrE a problem, surprise etc, but not a very big or serious one: The party was a bit of a disappointment in the end. | I had a bit of a shock when I got home. | I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a hurry just now - I'll give you a ring later.
23 with a bit of luck especially BrE if things go well and there are no problems: With a bit of luck we should get it finished tomorrow.
24 take a bit of doing/fixing etc BrE to be difficult to do, fix etc: This new system takes a bit of getting used to, doesn't it?
25 play the piano a bit/speak French a bit etc BrE to be able to play the piano, speak French etc, but not particularly well or often: I used to act a bit when I was younger.
26 for a bit/in a bit BrE for or after a short period of time: Could you mind the baby for a bit? | I'll see in you in a bit then.
27 a bit much BrE used to say that something is not fair or reasonable: I thought it was a bit much, asking me to drive him all the way home.
28 not a bit of it especially BrE used to say that something did not happen, even though you expected that it would: He should at least have apologized, but not a bit of it!
29 the student bit/travelling etc bit the behaviour or experience that is typical of a student, of travelling etc: Then she gave us the concerned mother bit. | He's really gone in for the whole hippy bit.
2 the past tense of bite 1

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.


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