What does bit mean?

Definitions for bit

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word bit.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. spot, bitnoun

    a small piece or quantity of something

    "a spot of tea"; "a bit of paper"; "a bit of lint"; "I gave him a bit of my mind"

  2. bit, chip, flake, fleck, scrapnoun

    a small fragment of something broken off from the whole

    "a bit of rock caught him in the eye"

  3. moment, mo, minute, second, bitnoun

    an indefinitely short time

    "wait just a moment"; "in a mo"; "it only takes a minute"; "in just a bit"

  4. piece, bitnoun

    an instance of some kind

    "it was a nice piece of work"; "he had a bit of good luck"

  5. bitnoun

    piece of metal held in horse's mouth by reins and used to control the horse while riding

    "the horse was not accustomed to a bit"

  6. bitnoun

    a unit of measurement of information (from binary + digit); the amount of information in a system having two equiprobable states

    "there are 8 bits in a byte"

  7. morsel, bit, bitenoun

    a small amount of solid food; a mouthful

    "all they had left was a bit of bread"

  8. snatch, bitnoun

    a small fragment

    "overheard snatches of their conversation"

  9. act, routine, number, turn, bitnoun

    a short theatrical performance that is part of a longer program

    "he did his act three times every evening"; "she had a catchy little routine"; "it was one of the best numbers he ever did"

  10. bitnoun

    the part of a key that enters a lock and lifts the tumblers

  11. bitnoun

    the cutting part of a drill; usually pointed and threaded and is replaceable in a brace or bitstock or drill press

    "he looked around for the right size bit"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Bitnoun

    Signifies the whole machine of all the iron appurtenances of a bridle, as the bit-mouth, the branches, the curb, the sevil holes, the tranchefil, and the cross chains; but sometimes it is used to signify only the bit-mouth in particular. Farrier’s Dict.

    Etymology: bitol, Saxon.

    They light from their horses, pulling off their bits, that they might something refresh their mouths upon the grass. Philip Sidney.

    We have strict statues, and most biting laws,
    The needful bits and curbs of headstrong steeds. William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

    He hath the bit fast between his teeth, and away he runs. Edward Stillingfleet.

    Unus’d to the restraint
    Of curbs and bits, and fleeter than the winds. Joseph Addison, Cato.

  2. Bitnoun

    Etymology: bitol, Saxon.

    How many prodigal bits have slaves and peasants
    This night englutted? William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens.

    Follow your function, go and batten on cold bits. William Shakespeare.

    The mice found it troublesome to be still climbing the oak for every bit they put in their bellies. Roger L'Estrange.

    By this the boiling kettle had prepar’d,
    And to the table sent the smoaking lard,
    A sav’ry bit, that serv’d to relish wine. John Dryden, Fables.

    John was the darling; he had all the good bits, was crammed with good pullet, chicken, and capon. John Arbuthnot, J. Bull.

    Then clap four slices of pilaster on’t,
    That, lac’d with bits of rustick, makes a front. Alexander Pope.

    He bought at thousands, what with better wit
    You purchase as you want, and bit by bit. Alexander Pope, Epistles.

    His majesty has power to grant a patent for stamping round bits of copper, to every subject he hath. Jonathan Swift.

    There are few that know all the tricks of these lawyers; for aught I can see, your case is not a bit clearer than it was seven years ago. John Arbuthnot, History of J. Bull.

  3. To Bitverb

    To put the bridle upon a horse.

    Etymology: from the noun.


  1. Bit

    The bit is the most basic unit of information in computing and digital communications. The name is a portmanteau of binary digit. The bit represents a logical state with one of two possible values. These values are most commonly represented as either "1" or "0", but other representations such as true/false, yes/no, on/off, or +/− are also commonly used. The relation between these values and the physical states of the underlying storage or device is a matter of convention, and different assignments may be used even within the same device or program. It may be physically implemented with a two-state device. A contiguous group of binary digits is commonly called a bit string, a bit vector, or a single-dimensional (or multi-dimensional) bit array. A group of eight bits is called one byte, but historically the size of the byte is not strictly defined. Frequently, half, full, double and quadruple words consist of a number of bytes which is a low power of two. A string of four bits is a nibble. In information theory, one bit is the information entropy of a random binary variable that is 0 or 1 with equal probability, or the information that is gained when the value of such a variable becomes known. As a unit of information, the bit is also known as a shannon, named after Claude E. Shannon. The symbol for the binary digit is either "bit" as per the IEC 80000-13:2008 standard, or the lowercase character "b", as per the IEEE 1541-2002 standard. Use of the latter may create confusion with the capital "B" which is used for the byte.


  1. bit

    A bit (short for binary digit) is the most basic unit of information in computing and digital communications. It is represented as either 0 or 1 in binary code. Bits are used to measure data volume, data transfer rates, and to represent the value of a particular function at a certain point in time in computing systems.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Bit

    the part of a bridle, usually of iron, which is inserted in the mouth of a horse, and having appendages to which the reins are fastened

  2. Bit

    fig.: Anything which curbs or restrains

  3. Bitverb

    to put a bridle upon; to put the bit in the mouth of

  4. Bit

    imp. & p. p. of Bite

  5. Bit

    a part of anything, such as may be bitten off or taken into the mouth; a morsel; a bite. Hence: A small piece of anything; a little; a mite

  6. Bit

    somewhat; something, but not very great

  7. Bit

    a tool for boring, of various forms and sizes, usually turned by means of a brace or bitstock. See Bitstock

  8. Bit

    the part of a key which enters the lock and acts upon the bolt and tumblers

  9. Bit

    the cutting iron of a plane

  10. Bit

    in the Southern and Southwestern States, a small silver coin (as the real) formerly current; commonly, one worth about 12 1/2 cents; also, the sum of 12 1/2 cents

  11. Bit

    3d sing. pr. of Bid, for biddeth

  12. Bit

    of Bite

  13. Bit

    of Bite


  1. Bit

    A bit is the basic unit of information in computing and digital communications. A bit can have only one of two values, and may therefore be physically implemented with a two-state device. The most common representation of these values are 0and1. The term bit is a contraction of binary digit. The two values can also be interpreted as logical values, algebraic signs, activation states, or any other two-valued attribute. The correspondence between these values and the physical states of the underlying storage or device is a matter of convention, and different assignments may be used even within the same device or program. The length of a binary number may be referred to as its bit-length. In information theory, one bit is typically defined as the uncertainty of a binary random variable that is 0 or 1 with equal probability, or the information that is gained when the value of such a variable becomes known. In quantum computing, a quantum bit or qubit is a quantum system that can exist in superposition of two bit values, true and false. The symbol for bit, as a unit of information, is either simply bit or lowercase b. A group of eight bits is commonly called one byte, but historically the size of the byte is not strictly defined.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Bit

    bit, n. a bite, a morsel: a small piece: the smallest degree: a small tool for boring (see Brace): the part of the bridle which the horse holds in his mouth (see Bridle)—hence, To take the bit in his teeth, to be beyond restraint.—v.t. to put the bit in the mouth; to curb or restrain:—pr.p. bit′ting; pa.p. bit′ted.—Bit by bit, piecemeal, gradually. [From Bite.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. bit

    [from the mainstream meaning and “Binary digIT”] 1. [techspeak] The unit of information; the amount of information obtained from knowing the answer to a yes-or-no question for which the two outcomes are equally probable. 2. [techspeak] A computational quantity that can take on one of two values, such as true and false or 0 and 1. 3. A mental flag: a reminder that something should be done eventually. “I have a bit set for you.” (I haven't seen you for a while, and I'm supposed to tell or ask you something.) 4. More generally, a (possibly incorrect) mental state of belief. “I have a bit set that says that you were the last guy to hack on EMACS.” (Meaning “I think you were the last guy to hack on EMACS, and what I am about to say is predicated on this, so please stop me if this isn't true.”) “I just need one bit from you” is a polite way of indicating that you intend only a short interruption for a question that can presumably be answered yes or no.A bit is said to be set if its value is true or 1, and reset or clear if its value is false or 0. One speaks of setting and clearing bits. To toggle or invert a bit is to change it, either from 0 to 1 or from 1 to 0. See also flag, trit, mode bit.The term bit first appeared in print in the computer-science sense in a 1948 paper by information theorist Claude Shannon, and was there credited to the early computer scientist John Tukey (who also seems to have coined the term software). Tukey records that bit evolved over a lunch table as a handier alternative to bigit or binit, at a conference in the winter of 1943-44.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. bit

    A West Indian silver coin, varying from 4d. to 6d. In America it is 12-1/2 cents, and in the Spanish settlements is equal with the real, or one-eighth of a dollar. It was, in fact, Spanish money cut into bits, and known as "cut-money."

Suggested Resources

  1. BIT

    What does BIT stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the BIT acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'bit' in Nouns Frequency: #222

How to pronounce bit?

How to say bit in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of bit in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of bit in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of bit in a Sentence

  1. Tony Jacklin:

    If Tiger can get his putting right you wouldn't rule him out, from tee to green his ball-striking has been pretty good since he returned from his back injury at the end of 2017 and a bit of links golf might just whet his appetite.

  2. Michael Metcalfe:

    The market has gotten perhaps ahead of itself in quite confidently pricing in (U.S) interest rate cuts, powell was quite dismissive of the latest downturn in inflation... which I think has caused the market to reassess that a little bit.

  3. Matthew Johnson:

    People like being on it, but that doesn't validate the claims of microdosing, people like being on a little bit of cocaine, too.

  4. Jordan Spieth:

    I just got real quick( with those bad swings), i know they're still in the bag right now, so I've got a little bit of scar tissue left.

  5. Lori Stevenson:

    He did struggle a bit, but it was his first debate, i mean, if Donald Trump could get elected, I think there are a lot of mulligans to be given.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for bit

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • قليلArabic
  • късче, захапка, парче, частица, битBulgarian
  • mos, poquet, micaCatalan, Valencian
  • okamžik, vrták, chvilka, flastr, fréza, troška, dílek, udidlo, kousek, bitCzech
  • lidtDanish
  • Bisschen, Happen, Bohrer, Stückchen, Mundstück, Wenig, Gebiss, Stück, BitGerman
  • στομίδα, δυφίο, μπιτGreek
  • peco, bito, bitEsperanto
  • broca, bocado, pocoSpanish
  • osa, kakku, kuolain, palanen, pala, juttu, hetki, osanen, poranterä, bittiFinnish
  • mors, peu, petit morceau, foret, bitFrench
  • giotánIrish
  • mìr, criomag, bìdeag, carScottish Gaelic
  • bocado, freoGalician
  • દ્વયંકGujarati
  • ביטHebrew
  • द्वयंकHindi
  • zablaHungarian
  • կտորArmenian
  • sedikitIndonesian
  • tvíundatölustafur, bitiIcelandic
  • trapano, poco, punta, pezzettino, freno, ottavo di dollaro, pezzetto, punta di trapano, morso, pocaItalian
  • 少々, ちょっと, 少し, ビットJapanese
  • 재갈, 도막, 작은 조각, 약간, 12센트 반, 조금, 비트Korean
  • көзөч, кесек, мүштөк, тилим, кесинди, ачкычтын урчугу, тешкич, үзүм, бөлүкчө, ооздук, тилке, чагым, бөлүк, бургу, кесим, мундштукKyrgyz
  • frēnumLatin
  • žąslai, grąžtas, bitasLithuanian
  • mutes dzelži, laužņi, bitsLatvian
  • piti, inati, tiri, pīhi, niho, maramaraMāori
  • џем, трошка, ѓем, парченце, парче, сврдел, битMacedonian
  • द्वयंकMarathi
  • द्वयंकNepali
  • hapje, bit, boortje, stuk, beetjeDutch
  • bitt, bitNorwegian
  • yáálNavajo, Navaho
  • porcja, kawałek, wędzidłoPolish
  • porção, pedaço, bocado, morso, verruma, bocal, broca, pua, bitPortuguese
  • bucată, burghiu, frâuRomanian
  • кусок, сверло, удила, битRussian
  • košček, bitSlovene
  • lite, bitSwedish
  • charazaSwahili
  • ముక్క, బిట్టు, తునక, తుంపుTelugu
  • تھوڑاUrdu

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    easily diffused or spread as from one person to another
    A articulate
    B contagious
    C aculeate
    D unsealed

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