definition of pitch by The Free Dictionary

pitch 1



1. Any of various thick, dark, sticky substances obtained from the distillation residue of coal tar, wood tar, or petroleum and used for waterproofing, roofing, caulking, and paving.

2. Any of various natural bitumens, such as mineral pitch or asphalt.

3. A resin derived from the sap of various coniferous trees, as the pines.

tr.v. pitched, pitch·ing, pitch·es

To smear or cover with pitch.

[Middle English pich, from Old English pic and from Anglo-Norman piche, both from Latin pix, pic-.]

pitch 2


v. pitched, pitch·ing, pitch·es


a. To throw, usually with careful aim. See Synonyms at throw.

b. To discard by throwing: pitched my worn-out sneakers.

2. Baseball

a. To throw (the ball) from the mound to the batter.

b. To play (a game or part of a game) as pitcher.

c. To assign as pitcher: The manager decided to pitch a left-hander.

3. To erect or establish; set up: pitched a tent; pitch camp.

4. To set firmly; implant; embed: pitched stakes in the ground.

5. To set at a specified downward slant: pitched the roof at a steep angle.


a. To set at a particular level, degree, or quality: pitched her expectations too high.

b. Music To set the pitch or key of.

c. To adapt so as to be applicable; direct: pitched his speech to the teenagers in the audience.

7. Informal To attempt to promote or sell, often in a high-pressure manner: “showed up on local TV to pitch their views” (Business Week).

8. Sports To hit (a golf ball) in a high arc with backspin so that it does not roll very far after striking the ground.

9. Games

a. To lead (a card), thus establishing the trump suit.

b. To discard (a card other than a trump and different in suit from the card led).


1. To throw or toss something, such as a ball, horseshoe, or bale.

2. Baseball To play in the position of pitcher.

3. To plunge headlong: He pitched over the railing.


a. To stumble around; lurch.

b. To buck, as a horse.


a. Nautical To dip bow and stern alternately.

b. To oscillate about a lateral axis so that the nose lifts or descends in relation to the tail. Used of an aircraft.

c. To oscillate about a lateral axis that is both perpendicular to the longitudinal axis and horizontal to the earth. Used of a missile or spacecraft.

6. To slope downward: The hill pitches steeply.

7. To set up living quarters; encamp; settle.

8. Sports To hit a golf ball in a high arc with backspin so that it does not roll very far after striking the ground.


1. The act or an instance of pitching.

2. Baseball

a. A throw of the ball by the pitcher to the batter.

b. A ball so thrown: hit the pitch into left field.

3. Sports A playing field. Also called wicket.


a. Nautical The alternate dip and rise of a vessel’s bow and stern.

b. The alternate lift and descent of the nose and tail of an airplane.


a. A steep slope.

b. The degree of such a slope.

c. Sports A single interval between ledges or anchors used as belaying points in mountaineering: a climb of six pitches.

6. Architecture

a. The angle of a roof.

b. The highest point of a structure: the pitch of an arch.

7. A level or degree, as of intensity: worked at a feverish pitch.


a. Acoustics The distinctive quality of a sound, dependent primarily on the frequency of the sound waves produced by its source.

b. Music The relative position of a tone within a range of musical sounds, as determined by this quality.

c. Music Any of various standards for this quality associating each tone with a particular frequency.


a. The distance traveled by a machine screw in a single revolution.

b. The distance between two corresponding points on adjacent screw threads or gear teeth.

c. The distance between two corresponding points on a helix.

10. The distance that a propeller would travel in an ideal medium during one complete revolution, measured parallel to the shaft of the propeller.

11. Informal

a. A line of talk designed to persuade: [his] pious pitch for … austerity” (Boston Globe).

b. An advertisement.

12. Chiefly British The stand of a vendor or hawker.

14. Printing The density of characters in a printed line, usually expressed as characters per inch.

Phrasal Verbs:

pitch in Informal

1. To set to work vigorously.

2. To join forces with others; help or cooperate.

pitch into Informal

To attack verbally or physically; assault.

pitch on/upon

Informal To succeed in choosing or achieving, usually quickly: pitched on the ideal solution.

[Middle English pichen, probably from Old English *piccean, causative of *pīcian, to prick.]

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




1. to hurl or throw (something); cast; fling

2. (usually tr) to set up (a camp, tent, etc)

3. (tr) to place or thrust (a stake, spear, etc) into the ground

4. (intr) to move vigorously or irregularly to and fro or up and down

5. (tr) to aim or fix (something) at a particular level, position, style, etc: if you advertise privately you may pitch the price too low.

6. (Marketing) (tr) to aim to sell (a product) to a specified market or on a specified basis

7. (intr) to slope downwards

8. (intr) to fall forwards or downwards

9. (Nautical Terms) (intr) (of a vessel) to dip and raise its bow and stern alternately

10. (Cricket) cricket to bowl (a ball) so that it bounces on a certain part of the wicket, or (of a ball) to bounce on a certain part of the wicket

11. (Aeronautics) (intr) (of a missile, aircraft, etc) to deviate from a stable flight attitude by movement of the longitudinal axis about the lateral axis. Compare yaw1, roll14

12. (Golf) (tr) (in golf) to hit (a ball) steeply into the air, esp with backspin to minimize roll

13. (Music, other) (tr) music

a. to sing or play accurately (a note, interval, etc)

b. (usually passive) (of a wind instrument) to specify or indicate its basic key or harmonic series by its size, manufacture, etc

14. (Card Games) (tr) cards to lead (a suit) and so determine trumps for that trick

15. (Baseball) baseball

a. (tr) to throw (a baseball) to a batter

b. (intr) to act as pitcher in a baseball game

16. dialect Southwest English (used with: it as subject) to snow without the settled snow melting

17. in there pitching informal US and Canadian taking part with enthusiasm

18. pitch a tale pitch a yarn to tell a story, usually of a fantastic nature


19. the degree of elevation or depression


a. the angle of descent of a downward slope

b. such a slope

21. the extreme height or depth

22. (Mountaineering) mountaineering a section of a route between two belay points, sometimes equal to the full length of the rope but often shorter

23. (Architecture) the degree of slope of a roof, esp when expressed as a ratio of height to span

24. (General Engineering) the distance between corresponding points on adjacent members of a body of regular form, esp the distance between teeth on a gearwheel or between threads on a screw thread

25. (General Engineering) the distance between regularly spaced objects such as rivets, bolts, etc

26. the pitching motion of a ship, missile, etc

27. (Aeronautics)

a. the distance a propeller advances in one revolution, assuming no slip

b. the blade angle of a propeller or rotor

28. the distance between the back rest of a seat in a passenger aircraft and the back of the seat in front of it

29. (Music, other) music

a. the auditory property of a note that is conditioned by its frequency relative to other notes: high pitch; low pitch.

b. an absolute frequency assigned to a specific note, fixing the relative frequencies of all other notes. The fundamental frequencies of the notes A–G, in accordance with the frequency A = 440 hertz, were internationally standardized and accepted in 1939. See also concert pitch1, international pitch

30. (Cricket) cricket the rectangular area between the stumps, 22 yards long and 10 feet wide; the wicket

31. (Geological Science) geology the inclination of the axis of an anticline or syncline or of a stratum or vein from the horizontal

32. (Card Games) another name for seven-up

33. (Cricket) the act or manner of pitching a ball, as in cricket

34. (Commerce) chiefly Brit a vendor’s station, esp on a pavement

35. (Marketing) slang a persuasive sales talk, esp one routinely repeated

36. (General Sporting Terms) chiefly Brit (in many sports) the field of play

37. (Golf) golf Also called: pitch shot an approach shot in which the ball is struck in a high arc

38. make a pitch for slang

a. to give verbal support to

b. to attempt to attract (someone) sexually or romantically

39. queer someone’s pitch informal Brit to upset someone’s plans

[C13 picchen; possibly related to pick1]




1. (Elements & Compounds) any of various heavy dark viscid substances obtained as a residue from the distillation of tars. See also coal-tar pitch

2. (Elements & Compounds) any of various similar substances, such as asphalt, occurring as natural deposits

3. (Elements & Compounds) any of various similar substances obtained by distilling certain organic substances so that they are incompletely carbonized

4. (Elements & Compounds) crude turpentine obtained as sap from pine trees.


(tr) to apply pitch to (something)

[Old English pic, from Latin pix]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014




1. to erect or set up (a tent, camp, or the like).

2. to put, set, or plant in a fixed or definite place or position.

3. to throw, fling, hurl, or toss.

4. Baseball.

a. to deliver or serve (the ball) to the batter.

b. to serve as pitcher of (a game).

5. to set at a certain point, degree, level, etc.: He pitched his hopes too high.

6. to establish the musical key of.

7. to set or build with a downward slope: a pitched roof.

8. to pave or revet with small stones.

9. Informal. to attempt to sell or win approval for; promote; advertise: to pitch cereals at a sales convention.


10. to plunge or fall forward or headlong.

11. to lurch.

12. to throw or toss.

13. Baseball.

a. to deliver or serve the ball to the batter.

b. to fill the position of pitcher.

14. to slope downward; dip.

15. to plunge with alternate fall and rise of bow and stern, as a ship.

16. (of a rocket or guided missile) to deviate from a stable flight attitude by oscillations of the longitudinal axis in a vertical plane about the center of gravity.

17. to fix a tent or temporary habitation; encamp.

18. Golf. to play a pitch shot.

19. pitch in, Informal. to contribute to a common cause.

20. pitch into, Informal. to attack verbally or physically.


21. relative point, position, or degree: a high pitch of excitement.

22. the degree of inclination or slope; angle.

23. (in music, speech, etc.) the degree of height or depth of a tone or of sound, depending upon the relative rapidity of the vibrations by which it is produced.

24. Music. the particular tonal standard with which given tones may be compared in respect to their relative level.

25. the apparent predominant frequency sounded by an acoustical source.

26. the act or manner of pitching.

27. a throw or toss.

28. Baseball. the serving of the ball to the batter by the pitcher.

29. a pitching movement, as of a ship.

30. a sloping part or place: the pitch of a hill.

31. a quantity of something pitched or placed somewhere.

32. Cricket. the central part of the field; area between the wickets.

33. Informal. a sales talk, often high-pressured.

34. Aeron.

a. the nosing of an airplane or spacecraft up or down about a transverse axis.

b. the distance that a given propeller would advance in one revolution.

35. (of a rocket or guided missile)

a. the motion due to pitching.

b. the extent of the rotation of the longitudinal axis involved in pitching.

36. Geol. the inclination of a linear feature, as the axis of a fold or an oreshoot, from the horizontal.


a. the distance between the corresponding surfaces of two adjacent gear teeth, measured between perpendiculars to the root surfaces.

b. the distance between any two adjacent things in a series, as screw threads or rivets.

39. a unit of typographic measurement indicating the number of characters to a horizontal inch.

[1175–1225; Middle English picchen to thrust, pierce, set up (a tent, etc.), array, throw]




1. any of various dark, tenacious, and viscous substances for caulking and paving, consisting of the residue of the distillation of coal tar or wood tar.

2. any of certain bitumens, as asphalt: mineral pitch.

3. any of various resins.

4. the sap or crude turpentine that exudes from the bark of pines.


5. to smear or cover with pitch.

[before 900; Middle English pich, Old English pic < Latin pic- (s. of pix), whence also Dutch pek, German Pech; akin to Greek píssa pitch]

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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