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adjective wit·ty \ˈwi-tē\

Simple Definition of witty

  • : funny and clever

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of witty



  1. 1 archaic :  having good intellectual capacity :  intelligent

  2. 2 :  amusingly or ingeniously clever in conception or execution <the costumes are sumptuous and witty — Virgil Thomson> <the musical background is … often witty — Wolcott Gibbs>

  3. 3 :  marked by or full of clever humor or wit:  smartly facetious or jocular <a witty novel>

  4. 4 :  quick or ready to see or express illuminating or amusing relationships or insights <a witty raconteur>


play \ˈwi-tə-lē\ adverb


play \ˈwi-tē-nəs\ noun

Examples of witty in a sentence

  1. We'd kept everything witty and cool, until the air between us was so ironized that to say anything in earnest would have been a breach of manners, even of trust. —Tobias Wolff, Old School, 2003

  2. … when she walked up to me and made a caustic remark on the principal's address of the morning, I couldn't help laughing, as she was obviously not only intelligent but very witty. —Margaret A. Edwards, The Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts, 1994

  3. Yet for all his solemnity, Hamlet was also the play's and Shakespeare's wittiest wit, with as many one-liners as any comic in the whole canon. —Reed Whittemore, Pure Lives, 1988

  4. a witty talk show host

  5. <a witty and sardonic blogger who never fails to amuse his legion of readers>

witty and Wise

When we call someone witty, we are typically ascribing to them the quality of clever humor. This has not always been the case: witty (and the word it is formed from, wit) originally referred to intelligence or good judgment. Although the “mentally capable” meaning of witty has largely become obsolete, we still see vestiges of it in various expressions involving wit, such as wit and wisdom or out of one’s wits. Another phrase, to wit, meaning “that is, namely,” comes directly from the Middle English to witen (“to know”).

Origin and Etymology of witty

(see 2wit)

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of witty

witty, humorous, facetious, jocular, jocose mean provoking or intended to provoke laughter. witty suggests cleverness and quickness of mind <a witty remark>. humorous applies broadly to anything that evokes usually genial laughter and may contrast with witty in suggesting whimsicality or eccentricity <humorous anecdotes>. facetious stresses a desire to produce laughter and may be derogatory in implying dubious or ill-timed attempts at wit or humor <facetious comments>. jocular implies a usually habitual fondness for jesting and joking <a jocular fellow>. jocose is somewhat less derogatory than facetious in suggesting habitual waggishness or playfulness <jocose proposals>.

WITTY Defined for Kids


adjective wit·ty \ˈwi-tē\

Definition of witty for Students



  1. :  having or showing cleverness <a witty person> <a witty remark>

Seen and Heard

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a sculptured or ornamented band

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