No, “hit the spot” has nothing to do with hitting — slapping, paddling, punching — you know, causing physical harm. In fact, hitting has nothing to do with this idiom, unless if you want to think that “hit” means to aim at a target, such as a bull’s eye, or your stomach, or a place in your brain, a spot, that tells you when you are satisfied.
We really do not use “hit the spot” in general terms for aiming at a bull’s eye because most of us do not shoot at a shooting gallery or an archery spot. We may use that term if we are dart players, and we are aiming at the bull’s eye on the dart board, but the term is not readily used except when it comes to food.
Ah…food. We do like to eat in America, and there are plenty of restaurants to prove that! But, we can eat and eat, and sometimes that food does not hit the spot. It’s not about eating, it’s about eating what we have a taste for. For instance, if I really want a burger, and everyone else wants seafood, I may go along for the camaraderie, but the seafood is not really going to satisfy my taste. I want that burger. But, if we go for a burger, and it is a good, juicy hand-packed burger grilled to my specifications with swiss cheese and mushrooms galore, it is going to hit the spot. Once I taste what I have visualized my brain will tell me my desire has been satisfied. My tasting that burger has gone to that spot in my brain and hit it. I am satisfied.
True, sometimes you will hear that getting a “cat nap” hit the spot because it is exactly what was needed at that moment, but we basically use the idiom for food and beverage.
Think about it. What is the best on a hot day? Lemonade or a cold beer may hit the spot. Even though we love our coffee, coffee will never hit the spot on a hot day. We like the contrast of hot/cold. Once again, it is our brain talking to us. I could not imagine that my brain is going to want hot coffee or hot chocolate when it is 100 out. And vice versa. Could you imagine having an ice cold drink standing in sub-zero weather? That would definitely not hit the spot! But steaming hot coffee. Definitely. It would hit the spot.
Then, there are times when no certain food plays a part of the equation. So, nothing will hit the spot. But then, thinking about food, and earlier today I was thinking about pizza, but I thought, maybe another day. Now, I am really thinking about pizza. It would hit the spot, because it was on my mind earlier, and my brain has played with my taste buds for the better part of the day. When I get the pizza tomorrow, it will really hit the spot. Tonight. Well, it looks like it will be a left-over kinda night for me, which will not hit any spot. But tomorrow — my brain is working overtime right now. It’s yelling pizza, pizza. All I have to do is refrain from eating everything in sight until I get my “hit the spot” fix.
Hey, have a great weekend.
What hits your spot?