English, common language for so many around the world, yet the source of so many unfathomable idiomatic variations. Here’s one tormenting the mind of Bill from Toronto:

Answer me this: What does it mean to be ‘fit’?

Here in North America, it means physically fit: someone who goes to the gym or jogs or does Pilates and has toned muscles.

In the UK it seems to mean something different, though. “She’s fit.” “He’s fit.” “Phwoar, you’re well fit!”

Does it mean ‘hot’? Where we’d say someone is hot, you’d say they were fit? Is there any connotation of physical fitness to being ‘fit’? Madonna has lots of muscles showing, but she’s just looking stringy, not hot. Adele doesn’t have muscles showing, but she’s definitely hot.

Readers, would you agree that Bill has pretty much answered his own question? If not, go to the comments and elaborate upon the exact specification of fitness as opposed to hotness. I’d say that while they’re approximately interchangeable, ‘fit’ does imply a certain amount of physical buffing that is not necessarily a condition of ‘hot’. But, as Bill suspects, not every fittie is a hottie.

It’s possible that ‘fit’ is being deployed in the British slang-sense south of the Canadian border, though: here’s a previous question we received about ‘fit’ness from a North American. Chew on that, geographical linguists.


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