Pit stop

Pit stop is an idiom that has been in use since the 1800s. We will examine the meaning of the common saying pit stop, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

The idiom pit stop means a rest stop, especially when one is traveling, in order to relieve one’s bladder, to stretch one’s legs, or to obtain refreshments. The idiom pit stop is derived from the literal term, pit stop, which is an automobile racing term. In automobile racing, a pit stop means a break that an automobile racer takes in order to refuel and check the mechanical viability of his automobile. The word pit has been used since the 1800s to mean the place where engines are repaired. The expression pit stop to mean a rest stop when one is traveling came into use in earnest around the 1920s, and its popularity has soared since the 1980s.

Examples

More than 50 people gathered at the Central Maine Veterans Memorial Park Tuesday afternoon to cheer on the Wreaths Across America convoy as it made a pit stop on its way to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. (Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel)

On the way back to New York from Greensboro, [North Carolina,] we made a pit stop in Richmond. (Richmond Magazine)

Around noon Sunday, a reportedly all-White group driving about a thousand jeeps, pickups and motorcycles flying “Back the Blue” banners and at least one Confederate battle flag, according to news reports, showed up to the parking lot at Friendship West for what they said was a “pit stop” during a highway parade to support police. (D Magazine)