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PIT, fossa. A hole dug in the earth, which was filled with water, and in which women thieves were drowned, instead of being hung. The punishment of the pit was formerly common in Scotland.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The image is of being hit in the pit of the stomach, or screaming in pain, or with laughter.
And in one swift movement it's like we too are back at school, recalling that feeling in the pit of the stomach when a student unexpectedly gets the upper hand over a teacher and the natural order of things is unbalanced.
We Were Promised Jetpacks In The Pit Of The Stomach ONLY the Edinburgh band's second album but they've stepped up to the plate.