English 10: Writing Portfolio
Catholic Memorial High School
|The definition of the word “sit”
has not always been sitting in the same forms over time. Sit is a
commonly used word throughout the entire English vocabulary. It is used as a verb most of the time.
In that sense it is used in a form with the word “to” in front of it. Sit means to rest on your
buttocks, and that’s what common people think it means. The word sit was introduced around the year
1000 BC, during the time of when the English language was first written in old English. So the word
sit is about 1000 years old. During this time the word was spelled very differently than it is
spelled now. The word sit has massive amount of spellings, it would be impossible to name all of
them. Old and modern day definitions, old and modern day authors, they all tie into each other. This
word teaches us how the English language has changed over time.
Today, there are so many dictionaries that try to explain a certain word just a little bit better
than the last dictionary did. Some dictionaries have the same definition and some have a totally
different definition. In the American Heritage dictionary, the word sit means “to rest with the
torso vertical and the body supported on the buttocks.” In the Webster’s dictionary, the definition
is “to occupy a place as a member of an official or formal body.” In the Encarta Worldwide
dictionary, the definition of the word sit is “to assume a position of rest in which the weight is
largely supported by the buttocks, usually with the body vertical and the thighs horizontal.” As you
can see that all of these recent definitions have some things in common and other things added or
taken out of the definition. But all of the definitions have the same general standpoint of the word
The first use of the word sit came from a sentence in Beowulf, around 1000 BC. In this circumstance
the definition was to be or remain in that posture in which the weight of the body rests upon the
posteriors, to be seated. As well as Beowulf using this definition, there are branch offs. As to sit
in or upon something, for example if you were to sit on a throne or a seat. Also you could sit up,
meaning you’re in a seat and you’re sitting up straight. That meaning of the word sit would closely
relate to today’s definition of the word. It can also be used as to sit at a table and do something
at that table. This definition was first used around 1494, quoted in Ordin. Household “And the Kinge
sitt in the chamber, that the board must bee on the left hand.” There must be a purpose in why you
are sitting there, or engaged in eating, drinking or something along those lines. The last two uses
of this word are, to sit in or to take part in something in a public place and to baby-sit. Back
then it was hyphenated, but now the change has occurred and it is represented as two words.
Many famous authors have written the word sit, starting in old English all the way up to the present
day. The thing that is most ironic about the whole thing is that the most famous author that wrote
about the word sit was someone that we don’t even know. All we know is that it seems to be written
by a monk, due to the creative writing and the great literacy in the story. The novel that the word
sit is written from is Beowulf in the year 1000. It also has been used by many other authors
including: Malory (1470). The sentence was quoted in Arthur XI, “As he satte so hym thoughte he herd
a noyse of houndes.” Udall (1542)”He cutte the benche yt Darius had sittn on”, Hodges (1893) “The
chair in which he sits.” These sentences with the word “sit” in them all mean the same thing, to
rest with the torso vertical and the body supported on the buttocks in a seat or throne.
The word sit today means the same thing as before but now has many other uses. On October 24th and
article about rugby was found in the London Times. “A move like this did not sit well with some of
the more senior member of England’s party.” In this instance the word mean that whatever move the
coach made, it didn’t satisfy the players.
The English language changes over time as we see from the past. It changes while the people change.
The word sit has evolved in many ways over time, the definitions, meanings and the spelling of the
word. The word sit will eventually change again in another 1000 years while the people change.