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nit +‎ -y. The “shining” sense is from Latin nitidus, or a clipping of of the borrowed nitid.



nitty (comparative more nitty, superlative most nitty)

  1. Full of nits.
    • before 1588, (Anonymous), Robin Good-fellow: His Mad Prankes and Merry Jests[1]:
      About mid-night do I walke, and for the trickes I play they call me Pach. When I find a slut asleepe, I smuch her face if it be cleane; but if it be durty, I wash it in the next pisse-pot that I can finde: the balls I use to wash such sluts withal is a sow’s pancake or a pilgrime's salve. Those that I find with their heads nitty and scabby, for want of combing, I am their barbers, and cut their hayre as close as an ape’s tayle; or else clap so much pitch on it, that they must cut it off themselves to their great shame.
    • 1601, Jonson, Ben, The Poetaster, Act III:
      Tuc.: (…) Can thy author do it impudently enough?
      Hist.: O, I warrant you, captain, and spitefully enough too; he has one of the most overflowing rank wits in Rome; he will slander any man that breathes, if he disgust him.
      Tuc.: I’ll know the poor, egregious, nitty rascal; an he have these commendable qualities, I’ll cherish him. (…)
  2. (obsolete, rare) Shining; elegant; spruce.
    • 1598, Marston, John, The Metamorphosis of Pigmalions Image. And Certaine Satyres, Satire III:
      O dapper, rare, complete, sweet nitty youth!


nitty (plural nitties)

  1. (MLE, African American Vernacular, slang) A druggie, a dope fiend.
    • 1998, “Fiend”, in Respect, performed by Shaquille O'Neal:
      See me breeze in a cream Bentley
      Fronting in the sun that's two-seated
      Believe it, pull up to the light and now you looking defeated
      Girl, grilling my ice got you heated (yeah)
      Yep, beef with the nitty I never needed (wha-wha)
    • 2016 February 22, Monkey (lyrics), “Let’s Lurk”, performed by 67 ft Giggs:
      Trapping ain't dead, the nitty still clucking and ringing my phone
      Chilling with bro, talking ’bout money, dough to the dome
    • 2017 September 6, “My Kingdom”, performed by Tel Money:
      I got some nitties on this phone
      They ring me consistently
      I know the ops hate this face
      wanna make me #history
    • 2017 December 22, “No Hook”, performed by 61 – Cee Drilla x Beans x Nz x Ruger:
      And I am whipping off raw, that’s messy
      The nitties them call that selly