Dictionary: PIS-TOLE' – PITCH'-ORE

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PIS-TOLE', n. [Fr.]

A gold coin of Spain, but current is the neighboring countries.


Shot with a pistol.

PIS'TO-LET, n. [Fr.]

A little pistol.


Shooting with a pistol.

PIS'TON, n. [Fr. and Sp. piston, from the root of Sp. pisar, pistar. L. pinso, the primary sense of which is to press, send, drive, thrust or strike, like embolus, from Gr. εμβαλλω, βαλλω.]

A short cylinder of metal or other solid substance, used in pumps and other engines or machines for various purposes. It is fitted exactly to the bore of another body so as to prevent the entrance or escape of air, and is usually applied to the purpose of forcing some fluid into or out of the canal or tube which it fills, as in pumps, fire-engines and the like.


The rod attaching the piston to the adjoining machinery. – Haldeman.

PIT, n. [Sax. pit or pyt; D. put; W. pyd; Ir. pit; L. puteus; Sans. put, puttu; W pydaw, a well or spring, an oozing fluid. It is uncertain whether this word originally signified a hollow place dug in the earth, or a natural spring of water and its basin. See Ar. فَبَطَ, to spring, and Class Bd, No. 58, 59, 63.]

  1. An artificial cavity made in the earth by digging; a deep hole in the earth. – Bacon. Shak.
  2. A deep place; an abyss; profundity. Into what pit thou seest / From what hight fallen. – Milton.
  3. The grave. – Ps. xxviii and xxx.
  4. The area for cock-fighting; whence the phrase, to fly the pit. – Locke. Hudibras.
  5. The middle part of a theater. – Dryden.
  6. The hollow of the body at the stomach. We say, the pit of the stomach.
  7. The cavity under the shoulder; as, the arm-pit.
  8. A dint made by impression on a soft substance, as by the finger, &c.
  9. A little hollow in the flesh, made by a pustule, as in the small pocks.
  10. A hollow place in the earth excavated for catching wild beasts; hence in Scripture, whatever insnares and brings into calamity or misery, from which it is difficult to escape. – Ps. vii. Prov. xxii and xxiii.
  11. Great distress and misery, temporal, spiritual or eternal. – Is. xxxviii. Ps. xl.
  12. Hell; as, the bottomless pit. – Rev. xx.
  13. [Dutch.] The kernel of fruit, as of a cherry, &c.

PIT, v.t.

  1. To indent; to press into hollows.
  2. To mark with little hollows, as by variolous pustules; as, the face pitted by the small pocks.
  3. To set in competition, as in combat. – Federalist, Madison.


A shrub of California, which yields a delicious fruit, the Cactus Pitajaya of Jacquin, or Cerus Pitajaya of De Candolle. – Encyc.

PIT'A-PAT, adv. [probably allied to beat.]

In a flutter; with palpitation or quick succession of beats; as, his heart went pitapat.


A light quick step. Now I hear the pitapat of a pretty foot, through the dark alley. – Dryden.

PITCH, n.1 [Sax. pic; D. pik; G. pech; Sw. beck; Dan. beg or beeg; Ir. pic or pech; W. pyg; Sp. pez; It. pece; Ir. poix; L. pix; Gr. πισσα or πιττα; most probably named from its thickness or inspissation, from the root of πηγω, πηγνυω, πησσω, L. figo. See Class Bg, No. 23, 24, 33, 66.]

  1. A thick tenacious substance, the juice of a species of pine or fir called Abies picea, obtained by incision from the bark of the tree. When melted and pressed in bags of cloth, it is received into barrels. This is white or Burgundy pitch; by mixture with lampblack it is converted into black pitch. When kept long in fusion with vinegar, it becomes dry and brown, and forms colophony. The smoke of pitch condensed forms lampblack. – Fourcroy.
  2. The impure resin of pine, or turpentine, inspissated; used in calking ships and paying the sides and bottom.

PITCH, n.2 [from the root of pike, peak, W. pig. See the Verb.]

  1. Literally, a point; hence, any point or degree of elevation; as, a high pitch; lowest pitch. How high a pitch his resolution soars. – Shak. Alcibiades was one of the best orators of his age, notwithstanding he lived when learning was at its highest pitch. – Addison.
  2. Highest rise. – Shak.
  3. Size; stature. So like in person, garb and pitch. – Hudibras.
  4. Degree; rate. No pitch of glory from the grave is free. – Waller.
  5. The point where a declivity begins, or the declivity itself; descent; slope; as, the pitch of a hill.
  6. The degree of descent or declivity.
  7. A descent; a fall; a thrusting down.
  8. Degree of elevation of the key-note of a tune, or of any note.

PITCH, v.i.

  1. To light; to settle; to come to rest from flight. Take a branch of the tree on which the bees pitch, and wipe the hive. – Mortimer.
  2. To fall headlong; as, to pitch from a precipice; to pitch on the head. – Dryden.
  3. To plunge; as, to pitch into a river.
  4. To fall; to fix choice; with on or upon. Pitch upon the best course of life, and custom will render it the most easy. – Tillotson.
  5. To fix a tent or temporary habitation; to encamp. Laban with his brethren pitched in the mount of Gilead. – Gen. xxxi.
  6. In navigation, to rise and fall, as the head and stern of a ship passing over waves.
  7. To flow or fall precipitously, as a river. Over this rock the river pitches in one entire sheet. – B. Trumbull.

PITCH, v.t. [formerly pight; W. piciaw, to dart, from pig, a point, a pike; D. pikken, to peck, to pick, to pitch; G. pichen; Fr. ficher; Arm. ficha; coinciding with L. figo, to fix, and uniting pike, pique with fix, Sp. picar, It. piccare, to prick or sting.]

  1. To throw or thrust, and primarily, to thrust a long or pointed object; hence, to fix; to plant; to set; as, to pitch a tent or pavilion, that is, to set the stakes. – Dryden.
  2. To throw at a point; as, to pitch quoits.
  3. To throw headlong; as, to pitch one in the mire or down a precipice.
  4. To throw with a fork; as, to pitch hay or sheaves of corn.
  5. To regulate or set the key-note of a tune in music.
  6. To set in array; to marshal or arrange in order; used chiefly in the participle; as, a pitched battle.
  7. [from pitch.] To smear or pay over with pitch; as, to pitch the seams of a ship.


Black as pitch.


A mineral; a compound of the oxyds of uranium and iron.


Set; planted; fixed; thrown headlong; set in array; smeared with pitch.

PITCH'ER, n. [Arm. picher; Basque, pegar; from its spout, or from throwing.]

  1. An earthen vessel with a spout for pouring out liquors. This is its present signification. It seems formerly to have signified a water-pot, jug or jar with ears. – Shak.
  2. An instrument for piercing the ground. – Mortimer.


A play in which copper coin is pitched into a hole; called also chuck-farthing, from the root of choke.

PITCH'FORK, n. [W. picforç.]

A fork or farming utensil used in throwing hay or sheaves of grain, in loading or unloading carts and wagons.

PITCH'I-NESS, n. [from pitch.]

Blackness; darkness. [Little used.]


In navigation, the rising and falling of the head and stern of a ship, as she moves over waves; or the vertical vibration of a ship about her center of gravity. – Mar. Dict.


  1. Setting; planting or fixing; throwing headlong; plunging; daubing with pitch; setting, as a tune.
  2. adj. Declivous; descending; sloping; as a hill.


Pitch-blend, an ore of uranium.