Glossary Home Idioms

Hit the sack

“Hit the sack” is a common English idiom. It’s used to describe someone’s desire to go to bed or to inspire someone else to do the same. 

The idiom is thought to have been inspired by the fact that bedding was originally made out of hay stuffed into a cloth sack. The phrase can be used in a wide variety of situations, ranging from conversations with friends about something that happened to you to one expressing their desire to collapse in bed to co-workers after a long day.

Hit the sack meaning and origin

“Hit the sack” Meaning

“Hit the sack” is an English idiom. It’s a pithy way of saying that one is going to go to bed.

The “sack” is a metaphor for someone’s bed, or in some instances just sleep in general, and “hit” is a way of saying someone is going to head to bed or retire for the evening. Often, the phrase is employed when someone is quite tired. “Hitting” the sack is something one needs to do in order to function adequately the next day. 


“Hit the sack,” like most idioms, has a long history. It’s assumed that both “hit the sack” and “hit the hay” came from the fact that beds used to be made of cloth stuffed with hay. This “sack” was one’s actual bed. Some have also suggested, according to Grammarist, that the word “hit” is literal and that people used to hit their bedding in order to fluff it up.

When To Use “Hit the sack” 

It’s possible to use “hit the sack” in many different situations. It’s a casual phrase, though, so it’s important to remember that it may not make the best impression if it’s used in a professional situation. It’s best used among friends, family members, and close colleagues that one doesn’t need to worry about professionalism with. 

The phrase is most commonly used when someone is describing what they want to do. They might say “I can’t wait to get home and hit the sack after this day of work.” Or, in another scenario, someone might use the phrase when they’re retelling a story. So, for example, “After I got home from the bar I immediately hit the sack.” As these examples demonstrate, the phrase is incredibly colloquial. If one changed “hit the sack” to “went to bed” or “go to bed” the sentences would be elevated immediately. 

Example Sentences 

  • Is it time to hit the sack yet? I’m so tired. 
  • All I could think about all day was hitting the sack. 
  • When they finally ran out of energy, they all hit the sack at once. 
  • When you’re working hard it’s easy to forget you need to hit the sack every once in a while. 
  • I had a really hard day yesterday and when I finally hit the sack I couldn’t get to sleep. 
  • My dad would always hit the sack early when he fought with his co-workers. 

Why Do Writers Use “Hit the sack?” 

Writer use “hit the sack” in the same way and for the same reasons that people use the phrase in everyday situations. The phrase could be used in a dialogue between two or more people or within a narrator’s depiction of a situation. In regard to the latter, someone might say that they want to hit the sack themselves after witnessing something or that they think someone else would benefit from going to bed as soon as possible. For example, a writer might have their narrator say, “After the events of the last few days, I couldn’t understand how my sister was still functioning. The sooner she hit the sack the better.” 

In another situation, a writer might choose to write the idiom into a conversation. Two friends might be talking about what an exhausting day they had and the fact that they both need to “hit the sack” as soon as possible. 

Often, writers use idioms and proverbs in their writing in an effort to make it sound more realistic. If the reader comes upon phrases they’re used to hearing in everyday life they’re more likely to relate to the content. But, this can in some situations, backfire. Some idioms are far more cliché than others. This might mean that the dialogue comes off sounding forced or fake. 


What is the meaning of the idiom “hit the sack?”

The meaning is that one is going to go to bed. The “sack” is used to represent one’s bed, and hitting is used as a pithy way of describing getting into it. 

What figure of speech is “hit the sack?”

“Hit the sack” is an idiom. This means that it’s a phrase that uses words that don’t reveal its meaning. It requires context, such as a prior understanding of the phrase, in order to make sense of it in a conversation

Is it “hit the hay” or “hit the sack?”

Both of these idioms are commonly used and mean the same thing. They both suggest that one should go to bed.

Why do people use “hit the sack?” 

People use “hit the sack” when they want to describe their desire to go to bed or want to encourage someone else to do so. 

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