(1)   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"
(2)   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"
(3)   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"
(4)   A small fragment
"Overheard snatches of their conversation"
(5)   An instance of some kind
"It was a nice piece of work"
"He had a bit of good luck"
(6)   A small amount of solid food; a mouthful
"All they had left was a bit of bread"
(7)   A small fragment of something broken off from the whole
"A bit of rock caught him in the eye"
(8)   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"
(9)   A small quantity
"A spot of tea"
"A bit of paper"
(10)   An indefinitely short time
"Wait just a moment"
"It only takes a minute"
"In just a bit"

Etymology 1

From and - all from , from .


  1. A piece of metal placed in a horse's mouth and connected to reins to direct the animal.
  2. A rotary cutting tool fitted to a drill, used to make holes.
  3. An eighth of a dollar. Note that there is no coin minted worth 12.5 cents.
    A quarter is two bits.
  4. A coin of a specified value.
    A threepenny bit.
  5. A small amount of something.
    There were bits of paper all over the floor.
    Does your leg still hurt? / Just a bit now.
  6. Specifically, a small amount of time.
    I'll be there in a bit, I need to take care of something first.
    He was here just a bit ago, but it looks like he's stepped out.
  7. A portion of something.
    I'd like a big bit of cake, please.
  8. A prison sentence.
  9. An excerpt of material from a stand-up comedian's repertoire.

coin, piece morsel , piece, scrap portion, share, segment snaffle, pelham, kimberwicke


  1. To a small extent; in a small amount (usually with "a").
    That's a bit too sweet.

Etymology 3

Coined by in 1946 as an abbreviation of , probably influenced by connotations of “small portion”. First used in print 1948 by . Compare and .


  1. A binary digit, generally represented as a 1 or 0.
  2. The smallest unit of storage in a digital computer, consisting of a binary digit.
  3. Any datum that may take on one of exactly two values.