General English


  • noun an action of accessing a website


  • noun a successful match or search of a database
  • verb to press a key


  • noun an act of striking the ball in an attempt to score runs, as distinguished from a purely defensive push or blocking stroke
    Citation ‘To make this hit [the cut] … the ball must be judged to bound well to the off, rather short’ (Felix 1850)
    Citation ‘His 18 were got by some fine hits, cuts and leg-hits principally’ (Lillywhite 1860)
    Citation ‘With one of the largest hits seen in Test cricket, Garner hit Hogan out of the ground’ (WCM May 1984)
  • verb to strike the ball, especially to do so forcefully in an attempt to score runs, rather than playing purely defensively
    Citation ‘Before this alteration in the bat, defence was almost unknown. The long pod and curved form of the bat, as seen in the old paintings, was made only for hitting’ (Pycroft 1854 in HM)
    Citation ‘Having endeavoured … to enumerate a few principles as to defensive tactics, we will now try and discuss offensive tactics, or hitting’ (Badminton 1888)
    Citation ‘Not since Gilbert Jessop’s 104 against Australia at The Oval in 1902 had such hitting been seen in a Test match. Jessop hit 17 fours off 76 balls; at Old Trafford Botham hit six sixes and 13 fours off 102 balls’ (John Woodcock, Wisden 1994)
    Citation ‘Dhoni spends hours practising six-hitting, trying to master the art of hammering the ball out of the ground’ (Siddhartha Vaidyanathan, Cricinfo Magazine March 2006)
    See also leg hit


  • A successful retrieval of data from a cache, instead of main memory or a disk. Also called cache hit.
  • An instance of a Web page, or any component of it, being accessed by a user over the Internet.
  • An instance of words, data, files, URLs, or the like matching desired criteria. For instance, if an Internet search engine returns 1,500 documents based on a given combination of keywords, then there were 1,500 hits.
  • A momentary electrical disturbance in a transmission line, such as that which may be caused by a lightning stroke.


  • noun a response to a request sent from an Internet browser

Media Studies

  • noun something such as a play. musical or single which is a success with critics and audiences.
  • verb to open a particular webpage


  • noun a shot which strikes the target at which it is aimed
  • verb to strike a person or thing


  • noun a killing, assassination. An underworld euphemism from the USA since the early 1970s, used or understood all over the English-speaking world. The term invariably refers to a professional murder.
  • verb to assassinate or murder. The verb probably postdates the noun form.
  • verb to serve a drink to. Usually in a form such as ‘hit me again with one of those’.
  • verb to solicit money from, borrow from. A more robust version of the colloquial ‘touch’. A racier and more recent American version is ‘hit someone up (for)’.


  • verb to strike a ball, puck or similar object

Origin & History of “hit”

Hit is one of those words, now so common that we assume it has always been around, that is in fact a comparative latecomer to the English language, and one, what is more, whose ancestry is not at all clear. The standard Old English verb for ‘strike’ was slēan (modern English slay), but at the end of the Old English period hit suddenly appeared. It was borrowed from Old Norse hitta, a verb of unknown origin which meant not ‘strike’ but ‘come upon, find’ (as Swedish hitta still does). this sense was carried over into English (and still survives in hit upon), and it was not until the 13th century that the meaning ‘strike’ began to appear.