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verb \ˈwit\

Definition of wit

wist play \ˈwist\ wit·ting present 1st & 3d singular wot play \ˈwät\

  1. 1 archaic :  know

  2. 2 archaic :  to come to know :  learn

Origin of wit

Middle English witen (1st & 3d singular present wot, past wiste), from Old English witan (1st & 3d singular present wāt, past wisse, wiste); akin to Old High German wizzan to know, Latin vidēre to see, Greek eidenai to know, idein to see

First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with wit




Simple Definition of wit

  • : an ability to say or write things that are clever and usually funny

  • : a person who is known for making clever and funny remarks

  • wits : the ability to think or reason

Full Definition of wit

  1. 1 a :  mind, memory b :  reasoning power :  intelligence

  2. 2 a :  sense 2a —usually used in plural <alone and warming his five wits, the white owl in the belfry sits — Alfred Tennyson> b (1) :  mental soundness :  sanity —usually used in plural (2) :  mental capability and resourcefulness :  ingenuity

  3. 3 a :  astuteness of perception or judgment :  acumen b :  the ability to relate seemingly disparate things so as to illuminate or amuse c (1) :  a talent for banter or persiflage (2) :  a witty utterance or exchange d :  clever or apt humor

  4. 4 a :  a person of superior intellect :  thinker b :  an imaginatively perceptive and articulate individual especially skilled in banter or persiflage

at one's wit's end or at one's wits' end
  1. :  at a loss for a means of solving a problem

Examples of wit

  1. She is full of wit and vivacity.

  2. His latest book doesn't have the same wit as his earlier books.

  3. The book is a collection of his wit and wisdom.

  4. She was a famous writer and wit.

Origin of wit

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German wizzi knowledge, Old English witan to know

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of wit

wit, humor, irony, sarcasm, satire, repartee mean a mode of expression intended to arouse amusement. wit suggests the power to evoke laughter by remarks showing verbal felicity or ingenuity and swift perception especially of the incongruous <a playful wit>. humor implies an ability to perceive the ludicrous, the comical, and the absurd in human life and to express these usually without bitterness <a sense of humor>. irony applies to a manner of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is seemingly expressed <the irony of the title>. sarcasm applies to expression frequently in the form of irony that is intended to cut or wound <given to heartless sarcasm>. satire applies to writing that exposes or ridicules conduct, doctrines, or institutions either by direct criticism or more often through irony, parody, or caricature <a satire on the Congress>. repartee implies the power of answering quickly, pointedly, or wittily <a dinner guest noted for repartee>.

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February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

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