verb (used with object)

  1. to go to and stay with (a person or family) or at (a place) for a short time for reasons of sociability, politeness, business, curiosity, etc.: to visit a friend; to visit clients; to visit Paris.
  2. to stay with as a guest.
  3. to come or go to: to visit a church for prayer.
  4. to go to for the purpose of official inspection or examination: a general visiting his troops.
  5. to come to in order to comfort or aid: to visit the sick.
  6. to come upon; assail; afflict: The plague visited London in 1665.
  7. to cause trouble, suffering, etc., to come to: to visit him with sorrows.
  8. to access, as a website.
  9. to inflict, as punishment, vengeance, etc. (often followed by on or upon).

verb (used without object)

  1. to make a visit.
  2. to talk or chat casually: to visit on the phone with a friend.
  3. to inflict punishment.


  1. the act of or an instance of visiting: a nice, long visit.
  2. a chat or talk: We had a good visit on the way back from the grocery store.
  3. a call paid to a person, family, etc.
  4. a stay or sojourn as a guest.
  5. an official inspection or examination.
  6. the act of an officer of a belligerent nation in boarding a vessel in order to ascertain the nature of its cargo, its nationality, etc.: the right of visit and search.

verb -its, -iting or -ited

  1. to go or come to see (a person, place, etc)
  2. to stay with (someone) as a guest
  3. to go or come to (an institution, place, etc) for the purpose of inspecting or examining
  4. (tr) (of a disease, disaster, etc) to assail; afflict
  5. (tr; foll by upon or on) to inflict (punishment, etc)the judge visited his full anger upon the defendant
  6. (tr usually foll by with) archaic to afflict or plague (with punishment, etc)
  7. (often foll by with) US and Canadian informal to chat or converse (with someone)


  1. the act or an instance of visiting
  2. a stay as a guest
  3. a professional or official call
  4. a formal call for the purpose of inspection or examination
  5. international law the right of an officer of a belligerent state to stop and search neutral ships in war to verify their nationality and ascertain whether they carry contrabandthe right of visit and search
  6. US and Canadian informal a friendly talk or chat

1620s, from visit (v.).


early 13c., “come to (a person) to comfort or benefit,” from Old French visiter, from Latin visitare “to go to see, come to inspect,” frequentative of visere “behold, visit” (a person or place), from past participle stem of videre “to see, notice, observe” (see vision). Originally of the deity, later of pastors and doctors (c.1300), general sense of “pay a call” is from 1620s. Meaning “come upon, afflict” (in reference to sickness, punishment, etc.) is recorded from mid-14c. Related: Visited; visiting.

see pay a call (visit).

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