I. pronoun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hit — more at he Date: before 12th century 1. that one — used as subject or direct object or indirect object of a verb or object of a preposition usually in reference to a lifeless thing <
took a quick look at the house and noticed it was very old
, a plant <
there is a rosebush near the fence and it is now blooming
, a person or animal whose sex is unknown or disregarded <
don't know who it is
, a group of individuals or things, or an abstract entity <
beauty is everywhere and it is a source of joy
— compare he, its, she, they 2. — used as subject of an impersonal verb that expresses a condition or action without reference to an agent <
it is raining
3. a. — used as anticipatory subject or object of a verb <
it is necessary to repeat the whole thing
— often used to shift emphasis to a part of a statement other than the subject <
it was in this city that the treaty was signed
b. — used with many verbs as a direct object with little or no meaning <
footed it back to camp
4. — used to refer to an explicit or implicit state of affairs or circumstances <
how is it going
5. a crucial or climactic point <
this is it
II. noun Date: 1842 the player in a game who performs the principal action of the game (as trying to find others in hide-and-seek)

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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