Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hit v.

[sporting imagery]

1. [early 16C+] to discover, to guess correctly; usu. as hit it v. (1)

2. as lit. or fig. violence.

(a) [late 16C–17C; 1920s+] (orig. US, also hit it, ...pussy) to have sexual intercourse with a woman; note later US black use at hit it v. (7)

(b) [1920s+] to rob, to hold up; lit. and fig. uses.

(c) [1950s+] to kill, to assassinate.

(d) [1960s; 2000s] to seduce.

(e) [1960s+] to attack, to criticize.

(f) [2000s] (US) to sodomize.

3. in the context of consumption.

(a) [mid-17C] of an aphrodisiac, to take effect.

(b) [mid-19C+] (drugs) to use or consume drugs or alcohol.

(c) [late 19C+] (US campus) to use, to consume.

(d) [1920s+] to inject narcotics.

(e) [1920s+] of a (narcotic) drug, to take effect; occas. of alcohol.

(f) [1940s+] to give someone an injection of narcotics.

(g) [1940s+] (drugs, also hit on) to take a puff of a cigarette or marijuana cigarette.

(h) [1960s+] (drugs) to adulterate drugs before selling them.

4. to request.

(a) [mid-18C; mid-19C+] (US) to beg, to ask for a loan, to accost.

(b) [1950s+] to charge money, e.g. as rent.

(c) [1990s+] (US black/drugs) to call someone on a pager.

5. in criminal contexts.

(a) [19C+] (US) to send to prison.

(b) [1950s+] to raid an establishment; usu. of police.

(c) [1990s+] to stop and search, usu. of a vehicle.

6. to attain an aim.

(a) [late 19C–1920s] to defeat, to overcome.

(b) [late 19C+] (US campus) to pass an exam with a high grade.

(c) [1910s+] to make a successful bet.

(d) [1930s+] (US black) to work hard.

(e) [1940s+] of a bet, to prove successful.

7. in the context of motion.

(a) [late 19C+] to go to, to visit; to arrive at; the subject is usu. a person but occas. a thing.

(b) [1910s] to meet.

(c) [1920s+] to do something, usu. involving motion.

(d) [1940s+] to switch on or off, to apply, e.g. the lights or the brakes of a vehicle.

8. (orig. US) to give.

(a) [late 19C+] to pay, to hand over money, to bet.

(b) [1920s+] to deal out a card, usu. in imper. (cf. hit me! ).

(c) [1930s+] to give someone a drink, usu. in imper. (cf. hit me! ).

(d) [2000s] to present, of a gesture or a grimace.

(e) (US drugs) to hand over drugs (to).

(f) to telephone.

9. to obtain, legally or otherwise.

(a) [20C+] to take.

(b) [1960s] to make money.

In phrases

hit... (v.)

see also under relevant n. or adj.

hit a 180 (v.) [180°]

[1990s+] to make an abrupt reversal; to change one’s mind.

hit for (v.)

see separate entry.

hit (in) the vein (v.)

[mid-17C] of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

hit it (v.)

see separate entry.

hit on (v.)

see separate entry.

hit on all cylinders (v.) (also hit all four cylinders, ...all six cylinders) [automobile imagery]

[1910s+] to work properly, esp. in sports .

hit one’s hobbles (v.) [racing use hit the hobbles, for a horse to keep galloping despite a hobble chain]

[1950s+] (Aus.) to play at one’s best.

hit red (v.)

[1960s+] (US drugs) to draw blood into the syringe, where it mixes with the water/narcotic solution prior to injection.

hit someone off (v.)

[1990s+] (US black) to give someone (something), to pass something on to someone.

hit someone on the hip (v.)

[1990s+] (US black) to page someone.

hit someone up (v.) [1980s+] (US black)

1. to attack physically.

2. to challenge verbally.

3. (also hit someone back, H.M.U.) to approach, to get in touch with someone.

hit someone with (v.)

1. [1950s] to approach someone with a plan.

2. [1950s+] to give someone something.

hit the ball (v.)

see separate entry.

hit the books (v.)

see separate entry.

hit the bottle (v.) (also hit the flask, ...jug)

[late 19C+] (orig. US) to drink heavily.

hit the ceiling (v.)

see separate entry.

hit the gas (v.)

[1920s+] (US) to accelerate in a motorcar.

hit the gate (v.)

see under gate n.

hit the pit (v.)

1. [20C+] (US Und.) to be imprisoned.

2. see under pit n.

hit the road (v.)

see separate entry.

hit the ties (v.) [SE tie, a railway sleeper] [1900s–30s] (US)

1. to walk along railway tracks, esp. after quitting one’s job in a work camp.

2. in fig. use, to be out of a job.

hit the trail (v.) (also hit the track)

[late 19C+] (orig. US) to leave; as hit the smoky trail, leave by a railway.

hit up (v.)

see separate entries.

In exclamations

hit me! [specific excl. f. sense 8b/sense 8c]

1. [1930s+] (orig. US gambling) an invitation to the dealer to give one another card.

2. [1940s+] (orig. US) an invitation to a bartender to pour one another drink.