There are 2 main definitions of nit in English:

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nit1

Line breaks: nit
Pronunciation: /nɪt
 
/

noun

informal
1The egg or young form of a louse or other parasitic insect, especially the egg of a human head louse attached to a hair.
Example sentences
  • Lice lay nits on hair shafts close to the skin's surface, where the temperature is perfect for keeping warm until they hatch.
  • If you do not want to use these products, you have to pick the lice and nits out of the hair by hand or use a special comb to remove them.
  • For an effective treatment for nits and hair lice, soak at least 20 seeds for an hour in warm water.
2British A foolish person: you stupid nit!

Origin

Old English hnitu, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch neet and German Nisse.

More
  • A nit is the tiny egg of a human head louse, and was in use for something small or insignificant by Shakespeare's day. However, nitwit is not recorded until the 1920s and nit-picking or pedantic fault-finding did not come into the language until the 1950s. The idea here is of painstakingly searching through someone's hair for nits. In Australia children shout ‘nit!’ to warn their friends when a teacher is approaching. The person who is keeping watch is said to keep nit. Nit is this context is probably an alteration of nix (late 18th century), which comes from German nichts, ‘not’.

Phrases

pick nits

1
chiefly North American Look for and criticize trivial faults; nit-pick: the press will stop picking nits once the next president is in office
More example sentences
  • And while I'm picking nits, I must add my opinion of Furst's female characters.
  • But these ideas would require a boldness and ingenuity that cannot come from candidates shackled to the very interests that profit from today's regressive tax policies, leaving the candidates to think small and pick nits.
  • Not to pick nits, but the phrase, ‘Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness’, is from the New Testament.

Derivatives

nitty

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • Logically enough, the movie tackles the Powerpuff origins, the nitty details of how they came to be and how their superhero-ness was forged.
  • Then there were the little nitty things: doing my own computer support.
  • Most of the story is the trial and all the boring nitty details therein - the only bright spot is the freakish D.A.

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There are 2 main definitions of nit in English:

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nit2

Line breaks: nit
Pronunciation: /nɪt
 
/

exclamation

Australian informal
Used as a warning that someone is approaching.

Origin

late 19th century: probably from nix3.

More
  • A nit is the tiny egg of a human head louse, and was in use for something small or insignificant by Shakespeare's day. However, nitwit is not recorded until the 1920s and nit-picking or pedantic fault-finding did not come into the language until the 1950s. The idea here is of painstakingly searching through someone's hair for nits. In Australia children shout ‘nit!’ to warn their friends when a teacher is approaching. The person who is keeping watch is said to keep nit. Nit is this context is probably an alteration of nix (late 18th century), which comes from German nichts, ‘not’.

Phrases

keep nit

1
Keep watch or act as a guard.
Example sentences
  • If you keep nit while a burglary is conducted, you're guilty of the burglary even though you haven't even entered the property.
  • Their caution, if slight, remained, each kept nit by rote, all had their something to contribute though.
  • Well, I started it, and I say that we keep nit here, and not turn it into a separate board.

Definition of nit in:

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