Dictionary

1retort

verb re·tort \ri-ˈtrt\

Definition of RETORT

transitive verb
1
:  to pay or hurl back :  return <retort an insult>
2
a :  to make a reply to
b :  to say in reply
3
:  to answer (as an argument) by a counter argument
intransitive verb
1
:  to answer back usually sharply
2
:  to return an argument or charge
3
:  retaliate
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Origin of RETORT

Latin retortus, past participle of retorquēre, literally, to twist back, hurl back, from re- + torquēre to twist — more at torture
First Known Use: circa 1557

2retort

noun

Definition of RETORT

:  a quick, witty, or cutting reply; especially :  one that turns back or counters the first speaker's words

First Known Use of RETORT

1600

Synonym Discussion of RETORT

answer, response, reply, rejoinder, retort mean something spoken, written, or done in return. answer implies the satisfying of a question, demand, call, or need <had answers to all their questions>. response may imply a quick or spontaneous reaction to a person or thing that serves as a stimulus <a response to the call for recruits>. reply often suggests a thorough response to all issues, points, or questions raised <a point-by-point reply to the accusation>. rejoinder can be a response to a reply or to an objection <a salesman with a quick rejoinder to every argument>. retort implies a reaction to an implicit or explicit charge, criticism, or attack which contains a countercharge or counterattack <she made a cutting retort to her critics>.

3retort

noun re·tort \ri-ˈtrt, ˈrē-ˌ\

Definition of RETORT

:  a vessel or chamber in which substances are distilled or decomposed by heat

Illustration of RETORT

Origin of RETORT

Middle French retorte, from Medieval Latin retorta, from Latin, feminine of retortus; from its shape
First Known Use: 1605

Other Chemical Engineering Terms

alkali, cation, decant, hygroscopic, isotope, oxidize, slurry, solute, viscous

4retort

verb re·tort \ri-ˈtrt, ˈrē-ˌ\

Definition of RETORT

transitive verb
:  to treat (as oil shale) by heating in a retort

First Known Use of RETORT

1850

Other Chemical Engineering Terms

alkali, cation, decant, hygroscopic, isotope, oxidize, slurry, solute, viscous
RETORTS Defined for Kids

1retort

verb re·tort \ri-ˈtrt\
re·tort·edre·tort·ing

Definition of RETORT for Kids

1
:  to reply usually angrily or sharply
2
:  to reply with an argument against <When Mom objected to ice cream as unhealthy, I retorted that it contained milk.>

2retort

noun

Definition of RETORT for Kids

:  a quick, clever, or angry reply

Word Root of RETORT

The Latin word torquēre, meaning to twist, and its form tortus give us the root tort. Words from the Latin torquēre have something to do with twisting. A retort, or angry reply to another's words, twists those words back at the person. To contort is to twist the body in unusual ways. To distort is to twist something, such as the truth, so much that it appears to be something else.
Medical Dictionary

retort

noun re·tort \ri-ˈt(ə)rt, ˈrē-ˌ\

Medical Definition of RETORT

:  a vessel or chamber in which substances are distilled or decomposed by heat

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