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I’m trying to understand why committee members are not gripped by these realities. After more than a century of relative democratic stability maybe it’s hard for some people to imagine precisely how the fits of political violence that bedevil other nations could hit our shores. Maybe the committee members are imprisoned in the categories set by past investigation committees — Watergate and 9/11. (David Brooks)

The word fit reads in on-line Oxford Dictionary:

The particular way in which something, especially a garment or component, fits.

I don't understand what fits of political violence means in the context.

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    The word fit has more than one meaning. Google "define:fit". Please incorporate a link into your citation of the Oxford Dictionary. Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 11:29
  • I did a quick Google of 'fit meaning Oxford' and chose the first result I got. To my surprise, it doesn't even mention the noun form that Michael gives in his answer (which is the form and meaning intended in your example). So, if you happen to be using www.oxfordlearners.com as your dictionary, you might want to consider switching to something else.
    – tkp
    Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 12:31
  • @tkp the first meaning cited in a dictionary does not mean it is the most important. Words have more than one meaning, they can be verbs, adjectives and nouns. The noun form which is mentioned in Michael's answer is included but it's under noun, look to the right-hand side for the link. Moreover, the OP's definition appears to come from Lexico not the OALD.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 9:48
  • Under fit 2 we have: "A sudden attack of convulsions and/or loss of consciousness, typical of epilepsy and some other medical conditions."
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 9:53

1 Answer 1

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Fit is a verb, but also a noun. Fits of political violence are sudden outbreaks of political violence. See meaning (2) below.

Fit (noun)

1 an uncontrolled expression of strong emotion
He threw a fit [=he became very angry and upset] when they accused him of cheating.
She has/throws a fit [=tantrum] when she doesn't get what she wants.

2 a sudden occurrence of some activity, emotion, etc.
a fit of anger
a fit of coughing = a coughing fit
He apologized profusely in a fit of remorse.
The joke sent the audience into fits of laughter. [=it made the people in the audience laugh a lot]

3 an abnormal state in which you become unconscious and your body moves in an uncontrolled and violent way
an epileptic fit [=(more commonly) seizure]

Fit (noun) - Britannica Dictionary

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  • My Glasgow friend said her father 'threw an epi' when she came home drunk one Saturday night as a teenager. Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 12:02
  • I think " the fits of political violence" can be translated into a lot of politcal violence, by the help of the dictionary.
    – Mankak
    Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 12:45
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    @Mankak - the essence is that the occurrences or outbreaks of political violence are sudden, not that they are necessarily large. Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 14:58

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