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a removable drilling or boring tool for use in a brace, drill press, or the like.
a removable boring head used on certain kinds of drills, as a rock drill.
a device for drilling oil wells or the like, consisting of a horizontally rotating blade or an assembly of rotating toothed wheels.

the mouthpiece of a bridle, having fittings at each end to which the reins are fastened.
anything that curbs or restrains.
the blade or iron of a carpenter’s plane.
the cutting part of an ax or hatchet.
the wide portion at the end of an ordinary key that moves the bolt.
to put a bit in the mouth of (a horse).
to curb or restrain with, or as with, a bit.
to grind a bit on (a key).
take the bit in / between one’s teeth, to cast off control; willfully go one’s own way:
He took the bit in his teeth and acted against his parents’ wishes.
a small piece or quantity of anything:
a bit of string.
a short time:
Wait a bit.
Informal. an amount equivalent to 12½ U.S. cents (used only in even multiples):
two bits; six bits.
an act, performance, or routine:
She’s doing the Camille bit, pretending to be near collapse.
a stereotypic or habitual set of behaviors, attitudes, or styles associated with an individual, role, situation, etc.:
the whole Wall Street bit.
Also called bit part. a very small role, as in a play or motion picture, containing few or no lines.
Compare walk-on (def 1).
any small coin:
a threepenny bit.
a Spanish or Mexican silver real worth 12½ cents, formerly current in parts of the U.S.
a bit, rather or somewhat; a little:
a bit sleepy.
a bit much, somewhat overdone or beyond tolerability.
bit by bit, by degrees; gradually:
Having saved money bit by bit, they now had enough to buy the land.
do one’s bit, to contribute one’s share to an effort:
They all did their bit during the war.
every bit, quite; just:
every bit as good.
quite a bit, a fairly large amount:
There’s quite a bit of snow on the ground.
Also called binary digit. a single, basic unit of information, used in connection with computers and information theory.
simple past tense and a past participle of bite.
Contemporary Examples

How ‘Moneyball’ Almost Never Happened Chris Lee September 23, 2011
Zara Knocks Down a Fence But Team GB Wins Silver Tom Sykes July 30, 2012
Mara Wilson Remembers Robin Williams: We’re All His Goddamn Kids Mara Wilson August 17, 2014
The Planet’s Best Stealth Fighter Isn’t Made in America Bill Sweetman March 23, 2014
Roughing It With Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Farther Away’ Chris Wallace April 27, 2012

Historical Examples

The Naval History of the United States Willis J. Abbot.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
Way of the Lawless Max Brand
The Grey Lady Henry Seton Merriman

a small piece, portion, or quantity
a short time or distance
(US & Canadian, informal) the value of an eighth of a dollar: spoken of only in units of two: two bits
any small coin
short for bit part
(informal) way of behaving, esp one intended to create a particular impression: she’s doing the prima donna bit
a bit, rather; somewhat: a bit dreary
a bit of

rather: a bit of a dope
a considerable amount: that must take quite a bit of courage

(Brit, slang) a bit of all right, a bit of crumpet, a bit of stuff, a bit of tail, a sexually attractive woman
bit by bit, gradually
(informal) bit on the side, an extramarital affair
do one’s bit, to make one’s expected contribution
(foll by as) every bit, to the same degree: she was every bit as clever as her brother
not a bit, not a bit of it, not in the slightest; not at all
to bits, completely apart: to fall to bits
a metal mouthpiece, for controlling a horse on a bridle
anything that restrains or curbs
take the bit in one’s teeth, take the bit between one’s teeth, have the bit in one’s teeth, have the bit between one’s teeth

to undertake a task with determination
to rebel against control

a cutting or drilling tool, part, or head in a brace, drill, etc
the blade of a woodworking plane
the part of a pair of pincers designed to grasp an object
the copper end of a soldering iron
the part of a key that engages the levers of a lock
verb (transitive) bits, bitting, bitted
to put a bit in the mouth of (a horse)
to restrain; curb
the past tense and (archaic) past participle of bite
noun (maths, computing)
a single digit of binary notation, represented either by 0 or by 1
the smallest unit of information, indicating the presence or absence of a single feature
a unit of capacity of a computer, consisting of an element of its physical structure capable of being in either of two states, such as a switch with on and off positions, or a microscopic magnet capable of alignment in two directions
The smallest unit of computer memory. A bit holds one of two possible values, either of the binary digits 0 or 1. The term comes from the phrase binary digit. See Note at byte.

Note: The information in a digital computer is stored in the form of bits.

A prison sentence: Ferrati, whose ”bit” was three to seven years (1860+ Underworld)
(also bit part) A small part in a play or other show (1900s+ Theater)
A display of pretended feeling or an outright imitation; act, shtick: So he does his hurt-puppy-dog bit/ You should see my Jimmy Cagney bit (fr theater)
A person’s particular set of attitudes, reactions, behavior patterns, etc; style; lifestyle; thing: Zen never was my real bit (1950s+ Beat & cool talk)

building integrated timing supply
binary digit
built in test

In addition to the idiom beginning with


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  • Bits-per-inch

    bits per inch

  • Bits-per-second

    bits per second

  • Bitser

    a mongrel dog. noun (Austral, informal) a mongrel dog

Disclaimer: Bits definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.