Hit It Off – Meaning and Origin

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

Hit it off means to get along or form an instant connection or rapport with someone. This idiom, with its roots delving deep into the annals of history, paints a vivid picture of two individuals quickly finding common ground or shared interests.

Idioms are fascinating elements of language. They are phrases that might not make literal sense on their own, but they carry significant meaning when used in the right context. They add color, depth, and cultural richness to conversations. And while English might have its quirks and complexities, mastering idioms is one of the joys that bring you closer to being fluent.

Want to know more about the history of “hit it off” and how to weave it seamlessly into your chats? Keep reading!

What Is the Meaning of ‘Hit It Off’?

Hit It Off – Meaning and Origin

To hit it off means to immediately get along with someone well. It implies that you feel friendly toward and in sync with someone upon first impression. Two people who have hit it off are said to have “clicked” and usually have interests, hobbies, goals, or attitudes in common.

The phrase hit it off may be applied to people who become friends as well as two people who become a romantic couple.

For example:

  • Although I had been nervous about starting college, I hit it off right away with my roommate, which made me a lot less anxious.
  • Sarah and Dylan hit it off during their summer internship and ended up married three years later.
  • At the party, Delia and Mike instantly hit it off over their shared love for vintage movies.
  • My dog and my neighbor’s cat surprisingly hit it off the first time they met.
  • On their first date, they hit it off so well that they talked for hours without realizing it.

Hit It Off Origins

Hit it off Ngram
Hit it off usage trend.

The idiom “hit it off” embodies the original, archaic definition of the word “hit.” In the 1600s, the Old English words “hyttan” and “hittan” meant to meet up with or to come upon. It is actually sourced back to the Old Norse “hitta,” meaning to light up (come upon) or meet with.

Eventually, the meaning of “hit” evolved to mean “to strike,” but the original definition is preserved in the idiom “hit it off.” “Hit it” is from the 1630s, meaning to fall in with or “hit” upon, and “hit it off” came into use in the 1780s. The slang “hit on,” meaning to be attracted to or to flirt with, came into use in the 1970s.

Today, we use “hit it off” to continue its original usage to indicate two or more people getting along upon meeting.

Let’s Review

The word hit originally meant you were meeting up with someone. This original usage originated from Old Norse and Old English and first appeared in the 1600s. Somewhere between then and now, the word became used to describe striking someone, but its original intent is still embodied in the idiom to hit it off.

To hit it off means to get along well with people you have just met. This can be platonic or romantic and usually infer that the parties involved have similar beliefs, ideas, morals or values, interests, etc.

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