v. sat (săt), sit·ting, sits
1. To rest with the torso vertical and the body supported on the buttocks.
a. To rest with the hindquarters lowered onto a supporting surface. Used of animals.
b. To perch. Used of birds.
3. To cover eggs for hatching; brood.
4. To be situated or located: a house that sits on a hill.
5. To lie or rest: Dishes were sitting on a shelf. See Usage Note at set1.
6. To pose for an artist or photographer.
a. To occupy a seat as a member of a body of officials: sit in Congress.
b. To be in session.
8. To remain inactive or unused: Her expensive skis sat gathering dust.
9. To affect one with or as if with a burden; weigh: Official duties sat heavily upon the governor.
10. To fit, fall, or drape in a specified manner: The jacket sits perfectly on you.
11. To be agreeable to one; please: The idea didn't sit well with any of us.
12. Chiefly British To take an examination, as for a degree.
13. To blow from a particular direction. Used of the wind.
14. To keep watch or take care of a child.
1. To cause to sit; seat: Sit yourself over there.
2. To keep one's seat on (an animal): She sits her horse well.
3. To sit on (eggs) for the purpose of hatching.
4. To provide seating accommodation for: a theater that sits 1,000 people.
a. The act of sitting.
b. A period of time spent sitting.
2. The way in which an article of clothing, such as a dress or jacket, fits.
To take a seat.
1. To be present or participate as a visitor at a discussion or music session.
2. To act as a substitute: She sat in for the vacationing news anchor.
3. To take part in a sit-in.
sit on (or upon)
1. To confer about.
2. To suppress or repress: sat on the evidence.
3. To postpone action or resolution regarding.
4. Slang To rebuke sharply; reprimand.
1. To stay until the end of.
2. To refrain from taking part in: sit out a dance.
1. To rise from lying down to a sitting position.
2. To sit with the spine erect.
3. To stay up later than the customary bedtime.
4. To become suddenly alert: The students sat up when he mentioned the test.
sit on (one's) hands
To fail to act.
sit pretty Informal
To be in a very favorable position.
sit tight Informal
To be patient and await the next move.
[Middle English sitten, from Old English sittan; see sed- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.