the pits


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the pits

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.
See also: pit
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the pits

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]
See also: pit
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.

the pits

SPOKEN
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.
See also: pit
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

pits

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.
See also: pit

the pits

verb
See pits
See also: pit
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
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References in classic literature ?
After the first jerk as I reached the end of the rope that had been paid out to let me fall below the pit's edge they lowered me quickly but smoothly.
The pit, which my imagination had pictured as bottomless, proved to be not more than a hundred feet in depth; but as its walls were smoothly polished it might as well have been a thousand feet, for I could never hope to escape without outside assistance.
For fifteen days the noble Hor Vastus has languished in the darkness of the pits, but not in vain.
"It took me but a short time to locate the plans of the pits of Helium among thy official papers.
"Love in the pits of O-Tar!" he cried, and again his thin laughter jarred upon the silence of the subterranean vaults.
"Few there are who visit the pits other than the dead, except my pupils--ey!
Decision and action usually occurred simultaneously in the life of the ape-man, and now he was away through the leafy branches ere the realization of the pit's purpose had scarce formed in his mind.
At the pit's verge the ape-man dropped to the ground in the center of the trail.
At that he stood irresolute for a moment, then turned, scrambled out of the pit, and set off running wildly into Woking.
The rope came in tight and strained; and ring after ring was coiled upon the barrel of the windlass, and all eyes were fastened on the pit. The sobered man was brought up and leaped out briskly on the grass.
As these were made, they were hung upon an arm of the pitman who had last come up, with instructions how to use them: and as he stood, shown by the light he carried, leaning his powerful loose hand upon one of the poles, and sometimes glancing down the pit, and sometimes glancing round upon the people, he was not the least conspicuous figure in the scene.
The soldiers dragged it awkwardly from the post and began pushing it into the pit.
Pierre glanced into the pit and saw that the factory lad was lying with his knees close up to his head and one shoulder higher than the other.
Coming to the ground at the side of the pit, he examined the stakes and as he did so was rather surprised to note that Numa gave no evidence of anger at his approach.
Therefore we tarried only a short time at the pit. We rested the horses and ourselves, and felt for a few minutes the blessed shade of the ancient buildings.