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A very unpleasant or unfortunate thing, situation, or circumstance. I'm sorry to hear about your divorce, Sam—that's the pits! I worked as a telemarketer one summer, and it was the pits.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
The worst possible situation, as in Spending your birthday working alone is the pits, or That job is the pits. The allusion in this term is unclear. Some think it refers to coal pits, others to armpits, and still others to the area beside an auto racecourse, also called the pits, where cars are serviced during a race. [Second half of 1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
If you describe something as the pits, you mean that it is extremely bad. Mary Ann asked him how dinner had been. `The pits,' he replied. Reading someone else's diary is the pits.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
1. n. the armpits. (Usually crude.) Man, you have a problem in your pits.
2. and the pits n. anything really bad. (Always with the in this sense.) This whole day was the pits from beginning to end.
3. and the pits n. the depths of despair. (Always with the in this sense. Often with in as in the example.) It’s always in the pits with him.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
the pits, (it's)
It can’t get any worse than this; wholly objectionable. Originating in America in the second half of the twentieth century, this expression is nonetheless mysterious in origin. Some speculate that it originally meant the coal pits, an unpleasant place for miners; some think it alludes to armpits, traditionally a smelly place. The American humorist Erma Bombeck played on it in the title of her book If Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? (1978). And Robert Barnard (Death and the Chaste Apprentice, 1989) has a character say, “I think anyone would have been a letdown. But Capper she thought the absolute pits.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer