early 13c., verbal noun from sit (v.). Meaning "a meeting of a body" is from c. 1400. Meaning "interval during which one sits" (for some purpose, especially to have one's portrait taken) is from 1706. Sitting-room first recorded 1771. Slang sitting duck "easy target" first recorded 1944; literal sense is from 1867 (it is considered not sporting to shoot at one).