Etymology
Advertisement
hit (v.)

late Old English hyttan, hittan "come upon, meet with, fall in with, 'hit' upon," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse hitta "to light upon, meet with," also "to hit, strike;" Swedish hitta "to find," Danish and Norwegian hitte "to hit, find," from Proto-Germanic *hitjan, which is of uncertain origin. Meaning shifted in late Old English period to "strike, come into forcible contact" via the notion of "to reach with a blow or missile," and the word displaced Old English slean (modern slay) in this sense. Original sense survives in phrases such as hit it off (1780, earlier in same sense hit it, 1630s) and is revived in slang hit on (1970s).

To hit the bottle "drink alcohol" is from 1933 (hit the booze in the same sense is from 1889, and hit the pipe "smoke opium" is also late 19c.). To figuratively hit the nail on the head (1570s) is from archery. To hit the hay "go to bed" is from 1912. Hit the road "leave" is from 1873; hit the bricks is from 1909, originally trade union jargon meaning "go out on strike." To hit (someone) up "request something" is from 1917. To not know what hit (one) is from 1923. Related: Hitting.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
hit (n.)

late 15c., "a rebuke;" 1590s, "a blow, stroke," from hit (v.). Meaning "successful play, song, person," etc., 1811, is from the verbal sense of "to hit the mark, succeed" (c. 1400). Underworld slang meaning "a killing" is from 1970, from the criminal slang verb meaning "to kill by plan" (1955). Meaning "dose of narcotic" is 1951, from phrases such as hit the bottle.

Related entries & more 
ceiling (n.)

mid-14c., celynge, "act of paneling a room," noun formed (with -ing) from Middle English verb ceil "put a cover or ceiling over," later "cover (walls) with wainscoting, panels, etc." (early 15c.); from Old French celer "conceal," also "cover with paneling" (12c.), from Latin celare "to hide" (from PIE root *kel- (1) "to cover, conceal, save"). Probably influenced by Latin caelum "heaven, sky" (see celestial).

Extended to the paneling itself from late 14c., then to lath-and-plaster work. The meaning "interior overhead surface of a room" is attested by 1530s; by late 19c. the meaning "wainscoting" was only in provincial English. Figurative sense of "upper limit" is from 1934.

Colloquial figurative phrase hit the ceiling "lose one's temper, get explosively angry" is attested by 1908; earlier it meant "to fail" (by 1900, originally U.S. college slang). Glass ceiling in the figurative sense of "invisible barrier that prevents women from advancing" in management, etc., is attested from 1988.

Related entries & more 
hit-and-run (adj.)

1940, in reference to military raids, etc., from hit (v.) + run (v.). As a noun phrase, Hit and run is from 1899 as a baseball play, 1924 as a driver failing to stop at an automobile accident he caused.

Related entries & more 
hit-or-miss (adv.)

"at random," c.1600, from hit (v.) + miss (v.).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
touche 

exclamation acknowledging a hit in fencing, 1902, from French touché, past participle of toucher "to hit," from Old French touchier "to hit" (see touch (v.)). Extended (non-fencing) use by 1907.

Related entries & more 
sky (v.)

"to raise or throw toward the skies," 1802, from sky (n.). By 1865 in reference to paintings hung near the ceiling in an exhibit. Related: Skyed; skyer; skying.

Related entries & more 
no-hitter (n.)

baseball term for a baseball game in which one side fails to make a hit, 1939, from no + hit (n.).

Related entries & more 
soffit (n.)

architectural term referring to under-faces, 1610s, from Italian soffita, fem. of soffitto "ceiling," noun use of adjective meaning "fixed beneath," from Vulgar Latin *suffictus "fastened below," from Latin suffixus (see suffix (n.)).

Related entries & more 
jut (v.2)

"to strike, hit, shove, push," 1540s, echoic. Related: Jutted; jutting.

Related entries & more