Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hit v.

[sporting imagery]

1. to discover, to guess correctly; usu. as hit it v. (1)

[UK]J. Rastell Gentleness and Nobility line 276: Now well hit! by Goddes body, well hit Of one that hath but lyttyll wyt!
[UK]Dryden Sir Martin Mar-all I i: I have hit of a thing my self sometimes, when wiser Heads have miss’d it.
[UK]J. Lacy Old Troop IV i: Ha, ha, ha: in truth you hit so home.

2. as lit. or fig. violence.

(a) (orig. US, also hit it, ...pussy) to have sexual intercourse with a woman; note later US black use at hit it v. (7)

[UK]‘Cambridg Libell’ in May & Bryson Verse Libel 338: Poor Fletcher cannot hit yt right, / His bolt doth some what square.
[UK]Shakespeare Love’s Labour’s Lost IV i: Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit it, Thou canst not hit it, my good man.
[UK]Wily Beguiled 49: Thou art my Cipherlillie; / And I thy Trangdidowne dilly, / And sing hey ding a ding ding: And do the tother thing, / And when tis done not misse, / To give my wench a kisse: / And then dance. / Canst thou not hit it?
[UK]Fletcher Wife for a Month III i: If you hit her, Be sure you hit her home, and kill her with it; There are such women that will dye with pleasure.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 461: I would at any time (might I but chuse) The fairest White for this same Black refuse. But mischief on’t, let me shoot e’re so right, It can’t be said that I did hit the White.
[UK]C. Cotton Erotopolis 109: These Academies stand open all night long, and there are some so accustomed to these Exercises, that they will hit the Mark as well by night as by day.
[UK]D. Manley Lost Lover III ii: I have bin telling her, how eager all the young Fellows will be of hitting the Bride in the Face; but be-dad, I hope I shall hit her better somewhere else.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 93: The first time I hit her / I nearly broke her shitter.
[UK]S. Selvon Lonely Londoners 123: Some white fellars feel is a big thrill to hit a black number.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 125: Get hit Have sexual intercourse.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 176: They called fucking ‘hitting’ in ordinary conversation.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 15: I’ll be hittin’ the fuck out of some good pussy.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 63: Half the fun in hitting pussy was in talking about it afterwards with your boys.
[US]50 Cent ‘Wanksta’ [lyrics] Now shorty think Ima sweat her, sipping on a armareda / I’m hit once than dead her, I know I can do betta / She look good but I know she after my chedda.
[US]G. Pelecanos (con. 1972) What It Was 110: I hit that thing right [...] She got some good pussy on her, man.

(b) to rob, to hold up; lit. and fig. uses.

[US]D. Hammett ‘The Big Knockover’ Story Omnibus (1966) 280: They hit two banks at ten sharp.
[US]J.H. O’Hara Pal Joey 31: That night I hit a crap game for about eighty clams.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 162: Not a knocked-out heister, maybe hitting filling-stations.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 11: The guy would have to eat [...] and that would be the time to hit him.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 50: Hank goes out and hits some place and he’s got a lot of loot and he’s turnin’ everyone on and he’s some kind of hero or something and all I ever get is busted and serve time.
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 13: Johnny had been looting for three years...he knew which carriers to hit.
[US]C. Stroud Close Pursuit (1988) 99: The Duke had hit the wrong clubhouse on a rip-off scam last February.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 138: I know somewhere we can hit.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 7: All that hitting the high street banks with the jolly old sawn-off went out with sideboards and radiograms.
[SA]Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) 8 Jan. [Internet] The robbers hit and took their Rolexes.

(c) to kill, to assassinate.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 267/1: Maybe we hit (shoot) this fink (rat).
[US]M. Spillane Return of the Hood 33: If I prowl the streets, either Big Step hits me or the cops do.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 76: They hit the Polack two years ago, it’s nothing concerns me.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 217: Does he plan on having me hit?
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 225: A girl [...] suddenly collapsed on to the tarmac. ‘We thought: What happened? Did somebody hit her?’.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 341: Was it Cyrus who hit the Wilsons?
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] They reckon he was hit over some sort of drug money — there was a contract out on him.

(d) to seduce.

[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 38: Man, I saw that chick and hit. Man, I struck solid gold.
[US]G. Pelecanos Night Gardener 101: Maybe [...] the victim had been hitting some other yo’s girlfriend.

(e) to attack, to criticize.

[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 41: They hit the old Brinks BOQ on Christmas Eve.
[UK]V. Headley Yardie 62: I want to hit dem now!

(f) (US) to sodomize.

J. Buchman ‘feeling bad for u’ posting at 12 May [Internet] I got down and proceeded to hit her in the shitter with a one–eyed critter until she fainted.
[US](con. 1998–2000) J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 30: Yo, fish [...] Y’ever been hit in the shitter?

3. in the context of consumption.

(a) of an aphrodisiac, to take effect.

[UK]Wandring Whore I 8: Here’s none but are old beaten Soldiers at that sport, and as easy with them as pissing backwards, and that is onely drying their flowers to powder, and then giving it in posset Drink, and it hits effectually.

(b) (drugs) to use or consume drugs or alcohol.

J.L. Dusenbury in AS XXVI:3 (1951) 183/1: John set the decanter and after seeing us hit it to our satisfaction went to show us [...].
[US]McClure’s mag. 190: At first, if Jimmy-hit-the-bottle felt any emotion, whether joy, resentment, terror, or anything man can feel, his face did not show it.
[US]Detroit Free Press (MI) 26 Apr. 82/3: I was back in the old ways, hitting the dope harder than ever.
[US](con. 1918–19) S.V. Benét Beginning of Wisdom 289: They was both hittin’ the hop with their eyes shut.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 48: Oh well, I suppose I’ll hit a cigar once in a while.
[US]C.R. Shaw Jack-Roller 161: He repaid me by telling me of his experiences in life, how he started to ‘hit M’ (morphine).
[US]N. Algren Never Come Morning (1988) 144: You must be hitting it [i.e. heroin] pretty hard.
[Aus]Sun (Sydney) 12 Aug. 8/3: Every time Mr. Smith hit the grog, he hit her and she hit the ground.
[US]W. Brown Run, Chico, Run (1959) 37: He’d been hitting the tea, but plenty.
[Aus]A. Buzo Rooted II iii: gary : Been down the rubbity lately? bentley : No, I haven’t hit the hops for a couple of weeks.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 109: She hit her martini again and looked away.
[UK]M. Read Scouting for Boys in Best Radio Plays (1984) 170: He used to swear, can you imagine? Swear dreadfully. And, I’m afraid, he hit the port rather.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 90: The Thomas Brothers used their fingernails to hit the coke.
[US]T. Dorsey Stingray Shuffle 45: The women nodded, one hitting a roach clip, the other holding her smoke.

(c) (US campus) to use, to consume.

[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 20: hit v. 1. To use; to make demands upon.
[US]M.E. Smith Adventures of a Boomer Op. 60: The way he was hitting that water cooler, he must have needed water as bad as a duck on the Mojave desert.
[UK]T. Black Gutted 144: I took up my pint, drained the last of it. I had a wee goldie waiting, I hit that too.

(d) to inject narcotics.

[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 18: ‘Hit the vein,’ he said. ‘I’m taking it right at the heart. And gimme a grain and a half of “c”.’.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Golden Spike 138: He hit himself and, as he began to kick, he said, ‘Look at him, he wants to stay off it’.
[US]Larner & Tefferteller Addict in the Street (1966) 28: Put the spike on the dropper, strap the arm up and wait till the veins come up and then just hit directly.
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 188: Every two hours or so, just as Les was about to come round, he would hit him with five grains of the Big M.
[US](con. 1938) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 133: The guy that brought us there, he would hit me and my friend, and we’d leave. I got one shot a day.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 76: Those able to hit themselves go off to do just that.

(e) of a (narcotic) drug, to take effect; occas. of alcohol.

[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 137: That last shot didn’t hit me right; we’d better cook up another.
[US]A.J. Liebling Back Where I Came From (1990) 140: Ten cents’ worth of smoke will out-hit a pint of blended whiskey.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 58: Then the big drive hits ’n here they come out of it cryin’ like a baby ’r laughin’ like a loon.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 234: The food was simple but very good and they had a brown Swedish beer which could hit as hard as a martini.
[US]Kerouac letter 19 Oct. in Charters II (1999) 220: Mescaline is not just ‘cute’ because the very 2 hours when it really hits it’s as strong as pure big fourbutton peote shot – if not more.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) H. Huncke ‘Florence’ in Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 200: She had taken several Doraphen, and when the stuff hit her, she sort of zonked out.
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 148: The methadone didn’t really hit till I was halfway home.

(f) to give someone an injection of narcotics.

[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 57: Hit me, Fixer. Hit me.
[US]N. Algren ‘Watch Out for Daddy’ in Entrapment (2009) 135: He hit me then in a way no doctor or nurse on earth ever could. It takes a junkie to fix a junkie.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 144: Hit me, will you, Ike?
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 68: She took the spike and hit me good.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) H. Huncke ‘Florence’ in Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 197: Arnie gave her the stuff and asked me to hit her.
[US](con. 1930s–60s) H. Huncke Guilty of Everything (1998) 233: I had to be hit the first time. The idea of sticking a needle into my arm terrified me.

(g) (drugs, also hit on) to take a puff of a cigarette or marijuana cigarette.

[US]J.W. Arnold ‘Lang. of Delinquent Boys’ AS XX:2 121/2: Hit on. To take a drag on a cigaret .
[UK]S. Selvon Lonely Londoners 137: He was hitting an end of weed that Five pass on to him.
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 123: She hit again.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 44: She pranced back to the window hitting the joint.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 49: Linney handed Bennet the lit bone. Bennet hit it hard, kept the smoke down in his lungs.
[US]N. Green Angel of Montague Street (2004) 187: Silvano fired it [i.e. a joint] up, but didn’t hit on it.

(h) (drugs) to adulterate drugs before selling them.

[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 141: She hit again.
[US]H. Feldman et al. Angel Dust 124: We’d hit it or buff it out maybe three to one ration – three parts anoscitol corn sugar to one part PCP – and then market it as crazy coke or cannabinol.
[US]T. Philbin Under Cover 148: This is the purest. From Brazil. We cut it here. You can hit it two, maybe three times.

4. to request.

(a) (US) to beg, to ask for a loan, to accost.

[UK]Cibber Harlot’s Progress 9: Lords and Dukes I’ll delight, / And make all the Rakes with their Ready come down, / The Stock-jobing Cit, / For a hundred I’ll hit.
[UK]M. Lemon Golden Fetters II 142: I shall obtain my money’s worth—I shall be Mr. Clendon’s creditor [...] I shall hit them both; I shall touch her through her pocket, touch him through his pride.
[US]J. London Road 28: I uttered the barbaric phrase, ‘two-bits.’ You see, I was trying delicately to hit them for a ‘light piece.’ [Ibid.] 124: I ‘hit’ some firemen I found in the round-house. They fixed me up with the leavings from their lunch-pails.
[US] ‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 84: Domestic panhandling, or hitting back doors, is the older form.
[US]Kerouac On the Road (The Orig. Scroll) (2007) 103: I finally hit a Greek minister [...] He gave me the quarter with a nervous lookaway.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 29: I’m going to hit this croaker I know.
[US]G.V. Higgins Rat on Fire (1982) 30: This is the third time I’ve been hit this week.
[UK]Observer Rev. 30 Jan. 2: I approached a pretty brunette and hit her with a line Lorna had identified as a humdinger.

(b) to charge money, e.g. as rent.

[UK]S. Selvon Lonely Londoners 13: He [...] let out rooms to the boys, hitting them anything like three or four guineas for a double.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 143: I’ll only hit you for one zone.
[UK]Guardian G2 14 Jan. 3: Didn’t the Spice Girls’ sacked manager hit them for a £15m payoff.

(c) (US black/drugs) to call someone on a pager.

[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Hit (one)/hit one on one’s hip (verb) To call on a pager.
Luniz ‘Dict.’ at [Internet] Hit Me: Call Me On My Pager.

5. in criminal contexts.

(a) (US) to send to prison.

[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 460: They’re going to hit you with twenty to life someplace.

(b) to raid an establishment; usu. of police.

[US]Q. Reynolds Police Headquarters (1956) 227: Wait until they come out and then grab them and we’ll hit the place.
[US]K. Marlowe Mr Madam (1967) 276: There were two other principal madams in town, for call-boys, who were being hit by the ‘heat’.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 58: Early that morning the Rican police hit our suite.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 118: I hit my first in a long series of cheap bars.
[US]C. Hiaasen Native Tongue 144: He saw the place had been torn apart [...] ‘I can’t fucking believe it,’ he said, ‘Somebody hit the place.’.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 192: Yeah, cops’d figure it out, but they’d hafta hit the joint just right, on a make-up day.

(c) to stop and search, usu. of a vehicle.

[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 34: If the Man hits the van, it ain’t hot.

6. to attain an aim.

(a) to defeat, to overcome.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Feb. 13/4: The Brisbane Courier has a ‘leader’ […] on the evils of gambling. It is to be hoped that none of the staff who have a weakness that way have been ‘hit’ lately.
[US]J. Lait Broadway Melody 77: They think becus nobody ever hit ’em, there ain’t no sharpshooters what can.

(b) (US campus) to pass an exam with a high grade.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 40: hit, v. To answer all of a professor’s questions.
[UK]P. Marks Plastic Age 36: Would he hit Math I in the eye.

(c) to make a successful bet.

[US]H.A. Franck Zone Policeman 88 243: Did not ‘Joe’ who slept in the next room to me at Gatun ‘hit Duque for two pieces’— which is to say he had $3,000 to sprinkle along with his police salary?
[US]W.R. Burnett Dark Hazard (1934) 27: You might hit a couple more lucky guesses and make a reputation for yourself.
[US] (con. mid–19C) H. Asbury Sucker’s Progress 93: If a player was successful, he was said to have hit, a term which was a part of the jargon of Policy as early as 1840. It is now commonly used in the Numbers game.
[US]E. Hoffman Price ‘Murder Salvage’ in Spicy Detective Apr. [Internet] I just hit a long shot at the races.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 13: The square hit Spider four times before he missed his point.
[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 59: I hit the numbers for my money.
[US](con. 1950s) D. Goines Whoreson 105: If you hit five licks you have to pass the dice.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 160: Nick hit the number in a big way, back in ’49.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 48: Didn’t have to keep the numbers bankroll in the shop anymore — someone hit the number, Brian’s runner brought the payoff around.

(d) (US black) to work hard.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 163: ’Tain’t many mens dat will hit from sun to sun for a woman.
[US]L. Pettiway Workin’ It 229: I stayed hitting the books so that I could stay on top of my grades and shit.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun 113: They had spent the weekend hitting the books.

(e) of a bet, to prove successful.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 68: A dime played on a gig that hits brings eighty-six dollars.
[US](con. 1946) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 54: You’ll win a bundle if it hits.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Culture 30 Apr. 1: As soon as Easy Rider hit she asked me if she could have the $1100 back!

7. in the context of motion.

(a) to go to, to visit; to arrive at; the subject is usu. a person but occas. a thing (see cit. 1992).

[US]Detroit Free Press Oct. n.p.: Professor Rose, who hit this town last spring, is around calling us a fugitive from justice [F&H].
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 17: I never hit St. Louis that it didn’t get me down and out.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ John Henry 95: She could tell [...] that I wanted to pull out of the siding and hit the main line for home.
[US]J. Lomax Cowboy Songs 59: We hit Caldwell.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper XL:3 148: Tomorrow we’ll hit for Ten Bow.
[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 39: You just wait till we hit France.
[UK](con. WW1) P. MacDonald Patrol 7: We ought to hit the river by to-morrow night.
[Aus]Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld) 1 Mar. 10/4: Hittin’ Bowen with a ten quid cheque and a twenty quid thirst.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 483: Lad, I just hit town and I’m on my uppers.
[US]W. Guthrie Bound for Glory (1969) 249: Good old Pampa. I hit here in 1926.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 168: I’d like to hit for the pool but I feel too lazy.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 35: I was with Montana Slim and we started hitting the bars.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 82: I hit the high life much more than I should have.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 58: You could hit [...] maybe ten schools along the way.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 110: I told you time and again since you hit this town.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 29: When we hit somewhere she would put us into school.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 172: [He] cross-checked records against physical stats until he hit Lamar Hinton.
[UK]I. Rankin Wolfman 134: The lunchtime edition will be hitting the streets.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 63: I knock off early and hit the bar at the social club downstairs.
[US]Hip-Hop Connection Jan./Feb. 26: They arrive doused in fog when they hit London.
[US]J. Ellroy Hilliker Curse 13: Jean Hilliker hit L.A. in late ’38.

(b) to meet.

[UK]B.E.F. Times 15 Aug. (2006) 208/2: Boulogne [...] where we hit a cove called AMLO.

(c) to do something, usu. involving motion.

[US]H. Wiley Wildcat 46: Ketch a truck to Chemin Blanc and hit th’ rattler fr’m there south.
[UK]R. Carr Rampant Age 259: Paul hastily hit into a muffin to keep from laughing in her face.
[US]J. Lait Put on the Spot 90: ‘Hit it!’ called Goldie. With a lunge the limousine leaped forward like a frightened animal.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 502: Okay, men, let’s hit it.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 235: He wrote and wrote and wrote. Drunk or sober he hit that typewriter.
[US]Kerouac letter 8 June in Charters II (1999) 341: Let’s see you now really hit out the big book everybody’s expecting from you.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 61: Let’s hit it, then.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 6 Feb. 23: Hopkins shouts ‘Hit it,’ and we dive.

(d) to switch on or off, to apply, e.g. the lights or the brakes of a vehicle.

[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 6: Paul cut in front and made him hit the brakes. Paul made it by a hair.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 169: Hit your parkin’ lights a couple of times.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 34: Marcus Clay hit the gas, ascending the big hill of 13th Street.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 94: Any chance of seconds? Or shall I just hit the lights.

8. (orig. US) to give.

(a) to pay, to hand over money, to bet.

[US]Daily Trib. (Bismarck, ND) 5 Sept. 11/5: He chipped in two dollars [...] and I hit her the same size and raised him five.
[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 243: Hit-me-with-a-dime.
[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 13: Hit him the five.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 107: I’ll hit you with it when we get paid from the city.

(b) to deal out a card, usu. in imper. (cf. hit me! ).

[US](con. 1918) Anderson & Stallings What Price Glory? 126: Hit me again.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Spanish Blood’ in Spanish Blood (1946) 9: Hit me again, Dave.
[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 77: ‘Stepik, hit me again.’ Stepik snaps the top card and skims it across the lumpy blanket.

(c) to give someone a drink, usu. in imper. (cf. hit me! ).

[US](con. 1918) B.M. Harvey Me and Bad Eye and Slim 21: The men hold out their mess kits and say, Hit me hard or hit me light, like in blackjack.
[US]S. Longstreet Decade 81: Hit me again, Miff.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 191: Hit me with another Gluckenheimer.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Cop This Lot 219: Hit us with a beer, matey.

(d) to present, of a gesture or a grimace.

[US]E. Weiner Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 14: She hit me with a poker pan and a distinct lack of remorse.

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

[US]Simon & Burns ‘Hot Shots’ Wire ser. 2 ep. 3 [TV script] ‘You hit D?’ ‘D ain’t up’.

(f) to telephone.

[US]Tennessean (Nashville, TN) 7 Aug. 25/5: ‘Hey man, I’ll hit ya’ back later on’.
[US]G. Hayward Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 32: Yo’ hit me when you get off.
[US]‘Dutch’ ? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] Hit me in three days.

9. to obtain, legally or otherwise.

(a) to take.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 210: If we don’t get a piece of change soon we’ll have to hit a freight when we go.
[UK]Wodehouse ‘Extricating Young Gussie’ in Man with Two Left Feet 29: I hit what seemed to me the happy mean. I cabled to Gussie’s mother and made it urgent.
[US]Odum & Johnson Negro and His Songs (1964) 232: Git off my money, don’t you hit my money, / ’Cause I’m a nigger, don’t cuts no figger.
[UK]S. Selvon Lonely Londoners 63: Take a plate from the cupboard and hit a pigfoot and rice.

(b) to make money.

[US]J. Thompson Texas by the Tail (1994) 54: I’m holding light, Frank [...] I need to hit.
[US](con. c.190) J. Thompson King Blood (1989) 26: They needed to hit big.

In phrases

hit... (v.)

see also under relevant n. or adj.

hit a 180 (v.) [180°]

to make an abrupt reversal; to change one’s mind.

[US]Source Nov. 202: Myu’fuckas from all walks of life get to talkin’ that retirement shit, only to hit a 180 some time later.
hit for (v.)

see separate entry.

hit (in) the vein (v.)

of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

[UK] ‘The Night Encounter’ in Ebsworth Merry Drollery Compleat (1875) 251: He went to it again, and hit in the Vein / Where all her whole grief did lye.
[UK] ballad in Wardroper (1969) 180: Yet she said, ‘Stay! Go not away / Although the point be bended! / But to’t again, and hit the vein! / Once more, and none can mend it.’.
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]

to work properly, esp. in sports .

Chicago Dly Trib. 23 Oct. 12/7: When these three contests are played the famous Yost machine will be hitting on all cylinders.
[US]NY Tribune 6 Oct. 18/6: Clothed in the best fashion, buying their own cars and headed down the road to matrimony ‘hitting’ on all six cylinders.
[US]R.J. Fry Salvation of Jemmy Sl. II i: Hello, mammy. Well, gummer, how they hittin’ today? On all four?
[US]NY Tribune 19 Jan. 12/1: The Giants, with bancroft leading the way, were hitting on all cylinders.
[US]M.E. Smith Adventures of a Boomer Op. 71: Red had an audience in the smoking room and was hitting all six with his foot on the gas.
[US]E. Wheelan Don. K. Haughty [comic strip] Methinks sometimes that my good master’s noodle hitteth not on all cylinders.
[US] in W.C. Fields By Himself (1974) 449: I was not hitting on all four cylinders at the time.
[US]J. Weidman What’s In It For Me? 152: The accent was hitting all cylinders again.
[US]Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT) 30 Mar. 5/2: Layton got away to a slow start in the current [billiards] touney but is hitting on all cylinders now.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Men from the Boys (1967) 21: Maybe we’ll have supper together when my gut is hitting on all cylinders.
[UK]W. Talsman Gaudy Image (1966) 76: Your motor’s missin’, honey. You’re only hittin’ on one cylinder.
Newport Dly News (RI) 20 Sept. 10/7: [advert] Made Rite Potato Chips Is Hitting On All Cylinders Again After the Fire on Friday Morning.
Galveston Dly News (TX) 20 Nov. 11/2: ‘We are just not hitting on all cylinders,’ said linebacker D.D. Lewis.
[US]S. King Thinner (1986) 74: She’s just great. In the pink. Feeling her oats. Hitting on all cylinders.
Dly Trib. (Wisconsin Rapids, WI) 2 Mar. 9/5: ‘We have all give girls on the floor hitting on all cylinders’.
Argus-Leader (Sious Falls, SD) 12 Mar. 15B/6: [headline] Bush hitting on all cylinders in victory talk.
News-Star (Monroe, LA) 27 May C2/3: ‘For us to come through this tournament we’re going to need a bunch of guys hitting on all cylinders’.
hit one’s hobbles (v.) [racing use hit the hobbles, for a horse to keep galloping despite a hobble chain]

(Aus.) to play at one’s best.

[Aus]A. Buzo The Roy Murphy Show (1973) 108: Those blokes looked like Brown’s cows last year, but you’ve got ’em really hitting their hobbles and blazing up the come-back trail.
[NZ](con. 1989) McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 102: hobbles In top form. E.G. ‘Any French team – if it hits its hobbles on the right day – can be impossible to beat.’ [...] Auckland Star, 15 June 1989. 20 July [Internet] They [i.e. a rugby team] did not hit their hobbles often but when they did they were hard to stop.
hit out (for) (v.)

(US) to set off for, to leave for.

H.B. Darrach Jr. ‘Sticktown Nocturne’ in Baltimore Sun (MD) 12 Aug. A-1/1: [of Baltimore] We hit out for the Barbary Coast.
hit red (v.)

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

[US]N. Heard House of Slammers 88: The cat looked hard, his arms were scarred / And he was tryin’ to find some room / When he hit red, Honky Tonk said, / ‘Be cool, baby, this stuff’s doom.’.
hit someone off (v.)

(US black) to give someone (something), to pass something on to someone.

[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z 48/2: Hit me off with fifty dollars, bro.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 70: And every now and then one of them old holy-rolling bitches bites, be like, ‘Hit me off with a twenty’.
[US]G. Hayward Corruption Officer [ebook] Ch. 31: I wanted to hit Flocko off with some pouches.
hit someone on the hip (v.)

(US black) to page someone.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 4: hit someone on the hip – communication via pager.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 266: Leave me a message or hit me on my hip.
hit someone up (v.) (US black)

1. to attack physically.

[US]G. Sikes 8 Ball Chicks (1998) 116: If you do something wrong, they’re gonna go hit you up, take your car, your money.

2. to challenge verbally.

[US](con. 1970s) K. Scott Monster (1994) 10: ‘Hittin’ people up’ means asking where they are from, i.e., which gang they are down with.

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

[US](con. 1967) E. Spencer Welcome to Vietnam (1989) 13: If Marine recruiters had hit me up in high school, who knows what would have happened.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 4: hit someone back – get in touch later; return a phone call.
[US]G. Pelecanos Way Home (2009) 259: ‘Hit me up.’ ‘I plan to arrange this quick’.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014 8: H.M.U. – get in touch with: ‘H.M.U. if you’re fixing to chill.’.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014 Fall 3: HIT ME UP – get in touch with: ‘Hit me up some time tomorrow’.
hit someone with (v.)

1. to approach someone with a plan.

[US]J. Thompson Alcoholics (1993) 108: Maybe you hit him with exactly the right line at the right time.
[US]R. Prather Always Leave ’Em Dying 92: This was a lot for her to get hit with all at once.

2. to give someone something.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 97/1: Hit one with. [...] 2. To give something unpleasant, undesirable, or counterfeited, as a forged check, a prison sentence, a bogus bill, etc.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Cop This Lot 92: Blokes in ut only speak English, an’ then you hit ’im with Itie.
[US]W. Pastrano in Heller In This Corner (1974) 393: They hit me with the smelling salts and all that jive.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 38: The Yanks wouldn’t say ‘have a nice day’ unless you hit them with half a dollar.
[Aus]B. Moore Lex. of Cadet Lang. 187: usage: ‘Hey Macca, can you hit me with ten smackers [dollars] till Monday?’.
[Ire]P. Howard Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 297: Hit me with something. Give me a thought for the night.
hit the ball (v.)

see separate entry.

hit the books (v.)

see separate entry.

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

(orig. US) to drink heavily.

‘O’Reilly’ [US army poem] O’Reilly hit the bottle, after six years up the pole, / He blew himself at Casey’s Place and then went in the hole.
[US]World (N.Y.) 10 May 7/6: There must be some truth in the report that Tom Ramsey has been ‘hitting the bottle’.
[US]Hopkinsville Kentuckian (KY) 9 Mar. 3/3: Men who drink too much and too frequently are said to suffer from ‘hitting the bottle’’.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 44: My two ducks had a bottle apiece and were hitting them up pretty hard.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 272: He hits up th’ bottle pretty stiff.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 146: Harold, who had hit the cheering rye bottle many times [...] was ever so cheerful.
[US]Van Loan ‘The Mexican Marvel’ in Lucky Seventh (2004) 193: You-all been a-hittin’ that ole gin bottle too strong lately.
[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 214: He set the bottle on the bar counter with a sarcastic thump. ‘That,’ he growled glumly, ’is the only damn thing they hit.’.
[US]S.J. Perelman in Marschall That Old Gang o’ Mine (1984) 70: Poor old Geebick had been hitting the flask.
[US]Frankie Trumbauer [instrumental title] Hittin’ the Bottle.
[US]J.T. Farrell ‘A Sunday in April’ in Fellow Countrymen (1937) 432: ‘Tell me, Red, hitting the bottle these days?’ asked Phil.
[US]N. Algren Never Come Morning (1988) 109: Wondering idly what had gotten into the old man to make him start hitting the bottle that way.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 94: The musicians who were bottle babies, always hitting the jug and then coming up brawling after they got loaded.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 161: Before you start hittin’ the bottle [...] I want to do you a small favor.
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 112: Hitting the jug and letting himself go.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 177: We had been hitting the bottle heavy.
[US]D. Pearce Cool Hand Luke (1967) 33: This guy’s cunt sent him a Dear John and so he started hittin’ the bottle.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 301: Jo-Jo (who can hit the bottle like Willie Mays can wallop the horeshide).
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Watching the Girls Go By’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Well, to be honest with you Del, I’ve been hitting the bottle a bit too much.
[UK]Guardian G2 9 Mar. 2/2: She walked out. Then she hit the bottle with a vengeance and the bottle hit back.
hit the ceiling (v.)

see separate entry.

hit the gas (v.)

(US) to accelerate in a motorcar.

[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 3: Not in the new 88. Ya hit the gas and its throwsya outta the seat.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 31: I come into the intersection [...] Then I hit the gas.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 126: I hit the gas, shot into the intersection and turned left.
hit the gate (v.)

see under gate n.

hit the pit (v.)

1. (US Und.) to be imprisoned.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 28: Hit the Pit To be jailed or imprisoned.

2. see under pit n.

hit the road (v.)

see separate entry.

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

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

[US]J. London Road 130: It was up to me to hit the ties to Wadsworth.
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 450: Hit the ties, To walk along the railway.

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

[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 5 Feb. [synd. col.] A long time since the actor has hit the ties.
hit the trail (v.) (also hit the track)

(orig. US) to leave; as hit the smoky trail, leave by a railway.

[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 313: What makes him hit the trail for Red Dog that a-way no one learns.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 109: I just give my other gen’lemen fren’ the office, an’ hit the trail!
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 112: Why didn’t you hit the trail last year, old man?
[UK]Wodehouse Carry on, Jeeves 117: He has come to save New York from itself; to force it – in his picturesque phrase – to hit the trail.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 253: When do we hit the trail, Jim?
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 103: You don’t have any business here. Hit the trail, sweetie. Buzz off but fast.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 140: I stood there shuck and looked her square in the eye. / She said, ‘Stick around, daddy, till I get back,’ / says, ‘I feel kind a lucky and I think I’ll hit the track.’.
[US](con. 1916) G. Swarthout Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 229: They hit the trail back to Edhogg.
[NZ]R. Morrieson Pallet on the Floor 80: I’m hitting the track.
hit up (v.)

see separate entries.

In exclamations

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

1. (orig. US gambling) an invitation to the dealer to give one another card.

[UK]J. Curtis You’re in the Racket, Too 245: The dealer started to pass the third card. ‘Hit me,’ said the man on his left.

2. (orig. US) an invitation to a bartender to pour one another drink.

[US]T. Dorsey Florida Roadkill 69: ‘Hit me!’ he told the bartender.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 76: ‘Hit me.’ Stefanos took the Jack off the middle shelf and poured.