banter

verb
ban·​ter | \ˈban-tər \
bantered; bantering; banters

Definition of banter 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to speak to or address in a witty and teasing manner She laughed and bantered him a little, remembering too late that she should have been dignified and reserved.— Kate Chopin

2 archaic : delude

3 chiefly Southern US and Midland US : challenge

intransitive verb

: to speak or act playfully or wittily The two friends bantered with each other.

banter

noun

Definition of banter (Entry 2 of 2)

: good-natured and usually witty and animated joking listening to their lively banter

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Other Words from banter

Verb

banterer \ˈban-​tər-​ər \ noun
banteringly \ˈban-​tə-​riŋ-​lē \ adverb

Can banter be vicious?

Noun

Banter refers to a form of jesting or to the act of exchanging joking repartee. Although the word once meant “ridicule,” and though it has a regional sense "a challenge or dare" (as in, "he performed a banter [or banner], jumping from the roof onto the snowbank"), in modern use it usually refers to a light-hearted form of wit. You would not be wrong to say that someone engages in “cruel banter,” if that is what is intended, but the word is far more often encountered in combination with modifiers such as witty, friendly, or lighthearted.

Examples of banter in a Sentence

Verb

the teacher bantered pleasantly, albeit a bit awkwardly, with the students at the school dance

Noun

I enjoyed hearing their good-natured banter. members of the Algonquin Round Table were known for their brilliant and witty banter
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

From across the red police tape, the young patrol officer in the street bantered with a group of mostly teenage boys and two girls in the park. Hannah Leone, chicagotribune.com, "After Gage Park shooting, 'You're just a little young to be out here'," 24 June 2018 Both are constantly bouncing jokes off each other and bantering away the long hours. Longreads, "Tennis vs. Tennis," 13 July 2018 Your professor holds forth in class, lecturing, orating, gesturing, bantering — equal parts pedagogue and performer. Alfred Lubrano, Philly.com, "After complaints, Ratemyprofessors.com does away with its 'hotness' ratings," 11 July 2018 On a recent Friday afternoon, the crew at Station 31 bantered while eating lunch at the dining table. Sarah Wu, The Seattle Times, "Is Station 31 making Seattle firefighters sick? Study hopes to find answers about ‘Cancer House’," 6 July 2018 Shortly after 5pm, German recording artist NoMBe, also a client of Udell's, bantered with the crowd while the soundmen worked out a few kinks. Nicole Pajer, Billboard, "Winston House & 2332 Collective Make Sure West LA Music Scene Doesn't Fade Away," 2 July 2018 On the company's trading floor, men bantered about groping the Queen of England's genitals. Anchorage Daily News, "Pregnancy discrimination is rampant inside America’s biggest companies," 16 June 2018 Each show begins with Pasi, Brenden and Coleman on stage bantering about their week, nobody missing an opportunity to take a co-host down a peg. Mike Acker, OregonLive.com, "Portland comics revamp 'You're Welcome' show with music and more," 23 May 2018 Han and Lando play mind games with each other while bantering about their respective chips — Lando owns the Millennium Falcon, which Han wants. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Solo: A Star Wars Story': New footage reveals how it went down when Han met Lando," 24 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To workers flanked by the constant banter of their colleagues’ business dealings and personal dramas, the booths represent their best hope for any semblance of privacy. ... Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, "The Best Spot in the Office Is a Phone Booth—If You Can Get Into One," 27 Nov. 2018 Visich, who did not respond to four requests for comment by email and phone, has described these emails as banter among friends. Ben Guarino, The Verge, "An academic reported sexual harassment. Her university allegedly retaliated," 12 Nov. 2018 As far as the couple's public banter on Twitter goes, gracing the cover of the hip-hop magazine’s latest issue was seemingly enough to get the rapper through security, even though the issue only listed his stage name. Fox News, "Rapper G-Eazy claims magazine cover got him through airport security," 2 Oct. 2018 The banter-laden tension between the two provides the through-line that propels the Galbraith mysteries along their way. Constance Grady, Vox, "J.K. Rowling’s latest Robert Galbraith novel is addictive, murderous fun," 18 Sep. 2018 Angela Bassett and Tiffany Haddish's on-stage banter. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Emmys 2018 Best Moments: 12 Unforgettable Things You Need to Know About," 17 Sep. 2018 The date was great, the chemistry undeniable, and the banter healthy. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "6 Girls Get Real About Their STD Horror Stories," 6 Sep. 2018 The reported couple trolls each other on Instagram, posts adorable photos of each other, and isn't afraid to engage in some hilarious Twitter banter. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Lili Reinhart Clapped Back at Trolls Who Speculate About Her Relationship With Cole Sprouse," 16 Oct. 2018 But that, plus the ongoing chase after Ghost, is just a gossamer excuse for Reed to construct action set pieces that play with scale in all sorts of inventive ways, and inject them with witty banter. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Ant-Man and the Wasp," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'banter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of banter

Verb

1653, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1688, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for banter

Verb

of obscure origin

Noun

noun derivative of banter entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near banter

bantay

bantayan

banteng

banter

Banthine

Banting

bantling

Statistics for banter

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for banter

The first known use of banter was in 1653

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More Definitions for banter

banter

noun

English Language Learners Definition of banter

: talk in which people make jokes about each other in a friendly way

banter

noun
ban·​ter | \ˈban-tər \

Kids Definition of banter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: good-natured teasing and joking

banter

verb
bantered; bantering

Kids Definition of banter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to tease or joke with in a friendly way

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More from Merriam-Webster on banter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with banter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for banter

Spanish Central: Translation of banter

Nglish: Translation of banter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of banter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on banter

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