Is "to pit technically something/somebody against something/somebody" an idiom ? I'm not sure whether it is an idiom or not. If it's an idiom, then how do I use it in a sentence? Does it have another meaning in any other context?

Could anyone help me to understand it?

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    @Shyam, that edit completely changed the question, in my opinion. Why did you delete the word "technically"? May 19, 2012 at 14:54
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    Sorry @MarkBeadles. IMHO the OP was not familiar with the meaning of "pit" as a verb, where it stands for "match".
    – Bravo
    May 19, 2012 at 15:09
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    @Shyam That certainly may be -- but then I fear the question becomes "general reference". May 19, 2012 at 15:10
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    @MarkBeadles : i don't think this is a general reference question .i asked here because of the term technically ....otherwise there is no point to put this question up here. May 19, 2012 at 15:52

3 Answers 3


What you describe is not an idiom as such, although it does make use of an idiom.

"to pit (something) against (something)" means to place the two things in opposition or competition against each other. This usage is a standard idiom.

"to pit (something) against (something) technically" is not an idiom. It's just extending the meaning into a technical area. The meaning is to place the two things in opposition or competition against each other on a technical basis.

Also, note that you have placed "technically" in the wrong place in your question. In English we don't put the adverb like "technically" in between the main verb "pit" and the direct object "something". You need to put the adverb before or after the verb and objects. That is, "to pit sth. against sth. technically", or potentially "to technically pit sth. against sth".

EDIT: In a comment below, the questioner gives another example:

the champions league final will pit technically accomplished X at home against Y

This is just the standard idiom "to pit (something) against (something)", although I think you may be analyzing it incorrectly. In this case we should analyze it as:

(the champions league final) will pit (technically accomplished X) (at home) against (Y)

(subject) will pit (something) (place-adverb) against (something)

...where the first "something" is "technically accomplished X", or an X that has shown technical accomplishments, and the second "something" is "Y".

  • for what it's worth, this answer refers to the original version of the question. May 19, 2012 at 14:58
  • I agree with your opinion regarding the place of adverb technically. although i can use it as---- The champions league final will pit technically accomplished X at home against Y.hear pit and technically comes together. May 19, 2012 at 15:46
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    @KrishnaChandraTiwari I will update my answer to reflect this, thank you. May 19, 2012 at 16:19
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    @MarkBeadles: now i got it. thanks for your support. May 19, 2012 at 16:33
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    @MarkBeadles:sounds good!!! thank you for suggest me such a explanation May 19, 2012 at 16:44

To add to Mark's good answer, this definition of pit being used in your phrase comes from the old practice of having two animals fight against each other (in a pit) for sport:

( pit someone/something against) set someone or something in conflict or competition with : a chance to pit herself against him.

historical set an animal to fight against (another animal) for sport. [ORIGIN: because formerly set against each other in a ‘pit’ or enclosure.]


According to Etymonline, this sense of the word goes back to the mid-1700s.


Supposedly, according to Steven Fry on his show QI, to pit someone against originates from cock fighting (series C episode 11)

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