W1S1 [sıt] v past tense and past participle sat [sæt] present participle sitting
1¦(in a chair etc)¦
2¦(objects/buildings etc)¦
3¦(do nothing)¦
4¦(committee/parliament etc)¦
7¦(look after)¦
8 sit tight
9 be sitting pretty
10 sit in judgment (on/over somebody)
11 not sit well/easily/comfortably (with somebody)
12 sit on the fence
13 sit on your hands
Phrasal verbs
 sit around
 sit back
 sit by
 sit down
 sit in
 sit in for somebody
 sit on something
 sit something<=>out
 sit through something
 sit up
[: Old English; Origin: sittan]
1.) ¦(IN A CHAIR ETC)¦
a) also be sitting down
to be on a chair or seat, or on the ground, with the top half of your body upright and your weight resting on your ↑buttocks
sit on/in/by etc
I sat on the shore and looked at the sea.
She was sitting in a chair by the fire.
She's the girl who sits next to me at school.
In the driving seat sat a man of average height.
sit at a desk/table etc
(=sit facing it)
Jean sat at the table writing a letter.
sit doing sth
They sat sipping their drinks.
We used to sit and listen to her for hours.
She wandered round all morning, unable to sit still .
She was sitting upright in her chair.
He was sitting cross-legged on the floor.
b) [i]also sit down [I always + adverb/preposition]
to get into a sitting position somewhere after you have been standing up
He came over and sat beside her.
Sam sat opposite her and accepted a cigarette.
c) also sit sb down [T always + adverb/preposition]
to make someone sit or help them to sit
sit sb on/in etc sth
I gently led her to the chair and sat her on it.
2.) ¦(OBJECTS/BUILDINGS ETC)¦ [I always + adverb/preposition]
to be in a particular position or condition
sit on/in etc
a little church sitting on a hillside
The parliament building sits in a large square.
He's got a computer sitting on his desk, but he doesn't use it.
My climbing boots were sitting unused in a cupboard.
The house has sat empty for two years.
3.) ¦(DO NOTHING)¦ [I always + adverb/preposition]
to stay in one place for a long time, especially sitting down, doing nothing useful or helpful
I spent half the morning sitting in a traffic jam.
Well, I can't sit here chatting all day.
Are you just going to sit there complaining?
to be a member of a committee, parliament, or other official group
sit in/on
They both sat on the management committee.
He was the first journalist to sit in parliament.
5.) ¦(MEETING)¦ [I]
to have a meeting in order to carry out official business
The council only sits once a month.
The court will sit until all the evidence has been heard.
6.) ¦(ANIMAL/BIRD)¦ [I always + adverb/preposition]
a) to be in, or get into, a resting position, with the tail end of the body resting on a surface
The cat likes to sit on the wall outside the kitchen.
b) Sit!
used to tell a dog to sit with the tail end of its body resting on the ground or floor
c) if a bird sits on its eggs, it covers them with its body to make the eggs ↑hatch
7.) ¦(LOOK AFTER)¦ [I + for]
to look after a baby or child while its parents are out
= ↑babysit
8.) sit tight[i]spoken
a) to stay where you are and not move
Just sit tight - I'll be there in five minutes.
b) to stay in the same situation, and not change your mind and do anything new
We're advising all our investors to sit tight till the market improves.
9.) be sitting pretty
to be in a very good or favourable position
We've paid off the mortgage, so we're sitting pretty now.
10.) sit in judgment (on/over sb)
to give your opinion about whether someone has done something wrong, especially when you have no right to do this
How can you sit in judgement on somebody you hardly know?
11.) not sit well/easily/comfortably (with sb)
if a situation, plan etc does not sit well with someone, they do not like it
He had never before been accused of stealing, and it did not sit well with him.
12.) sit on the fence
to avoid saying which side of an argument you support or what your opinion is about a particular subject
The weakness of the book is that it sits on the fence on important issues.
13.) sit on your hands
to delay taking action when you should do something
Workers are losing their jobs while the government sits on its hands and does nothing.
14.) ¦(EXAMS)¦ [I and T]
BrE to take an examination
Tracy's sitting her GCSEs this year.
sit for
They were preparing children to sit for the entry examination.
to sit somewhere so that you can be painted or photographed
sit for
She sat for (=was painted by) Holman Hunt and Millais.
sit around [i]phr v
to spend a lot of time sitting and doing nothing very useful
We sat around for a bit, chatting.
sit back phr v
1.) to get into a comfortable position, for example in a chair, and relax
Sit back and relax - I'll open a bottle of wine.
2.) to relax and make no effort to get involved in something or influence what happens
Don't just sit back and wait for new business to come to you.
sit by phr v
to allow something wrong or illegal to happen without doing anything about it
I'm not going to sit by and watch a man go to prison for something I've done.
sit down phr v
1.) to be in a sitting position or get into a sitting position
It was good to be sitting down eating dinner with my family.
Sit down, Amy - you look tired.
sit yourself down
Sit yourself down and have a drink.
2.) sit sb down
to make someone sit down or help them to sit down
sit somebody down in/on
I helped her into the room and sat her down in an armchair.
3.) sit down and do sth
to try to solve a problem or deal with something that needs to be done, by giving it all your attention
The three of us need to sit down and have a talk.
Sit down and work out just what you spend.
sit in phr v
to be present at a meeting but not take an active part in it
sit in on
Would you like to sit in on some of my interviews?
sit in for [sit in for sb] phr v
to do a job, go to a meeting etc instead of the person who usually does it
This is Alan James sitting in for Suzy Williams on the mid-morning show.
sit on [sit on sth] phr v
to delay dealing with something
I sent my application about six weeks ago and they've just been sitting on it.
sit out [sit sth<=>out] phr v
1.) to stay where you are and do nothing until something finishes, especially something boring or unpleasant
She had two weeks to sit it out while she waited to hear if she had got the job.
She was prepared to sit out the years of Jack's jail sentence.
2.) to not take part in something, especially a game or dance, when you usually take part
Johnson sat out the game with a shoulder injury.
sit through [sit through sth] phr v
to attend a meeting, performance etc, and stay until the end, even if it is very long and boring
I wasn't the least bit interested in all the speeches I had to sit through.
sit up phr v
1.) to be in a sitting position or get into a sitting position after you have been lying down
He was sitting up in bed, reading his book.
She sat up and reached for her glass.
2.) sit sb up
to help someone to sit after they have been lying down
sit somebody up in/on etc
I'll sit you up on the pillows and you'll be nice and comfortable.
3.) to sit in a chair with your back straight
Just sit up straight and stop slouching.
4.) to stay up very late
Sometimes we just sit up and watch videos all night.
5.) sit up (and take notice)
to suddenly start paying attention to someone, because they have done something surprising or impressive
If Maria succeeded, then everyone would sit up and take notice.
WORD CHOICE: sit, sit down, sit in/on, seat
You usually use sit down rather than sit to say that someone moves into a sitting position : Everyone sat down to listen.
You use sit when you mention where someone sits down : She sat next to me. | Where shall I sit?
!! You sit on or sit in a chair, depending on whether it is flat and simple or soft and comfortable : We sat on barstools. | He sat in his favourite armchair. You sit on flat things such as a bench, the floor, or the grass. You sit in a room, a corner, long grass, a tree, or a seat in a car : I get travel sick when I sit in the back.
!! To tell someone to sit down, say 'Sit down' , 'Have a seat' , or in very formal situations, 'Be seated' . You usually only say 'Sit!' to a dog.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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