hit on, to
hit (up)on someone or something
1. Lit. to strike or pound on someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Jeff hit upon the mugger over and over. I hit on the radio until it started working again.
2. Fig. to discover someone or something. I think I have hit upon something. There is a lever you have to press in order to open this cabinet. I hit on Tom in an amateur play production. I offered him a job in my nightclub immediately.
3. Go to hit on someone; hit on something.
hit someone (or an animal) on something
to strike someone or an animal in a particular place. The stone hit me on the leg. I hit the beaver on its side and it didn't seem to feel it. She hit herself on her left cheek.
hit on someone
Inf. to flirt with someone; to make a pass at someone. The women were all hitting on George, but he didn't complain. I thought he was going to hit on me—but he didn't.
hit on something
to discover something. She hit on a new scheme for removing the impurities from drinking water. I hit on it when I wasn't able to sleep one night.
1. Also, hit upon. Discover, happen to find, as in I've hit upon a solution to this problem. [c. 1700]
2. Make sexual advances to someone, especially unwanted ones, as in You can't go into that bar without being hit on. [Slang; mid-1900s]
1. To strike someone or something in some particular area: A branch fell off the tree and hit me on the back.
2. To discover something: We finally hit on a solution to our financial problems.
3. Slang To pay unsolicited and usually unwanted sexual attention to someone: I can't believe that the bartender hit on me!
hit on, to
To make a romantic advance or sexual proposition. A Boston Globe cartoon by Harry Bliss had the caption, “No, John, I don’t remember the ‘Summer of Love.’ But I do recall the spring when you hit on my sister!” (June 21, 2010). An older version is to make a pass at, which dates from the 1920s. A classic use of the term appeared in Dorothy Parker’s quip, “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses” (Not So Deep as a Well, 1936).
See also: hit