banter

verb
ban·​ter | \ ˈban-tər How to pronounce banter (audio) \
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 How to pronounce banter (audio) \ noun
banteringly \ ˈban-​tə-​riŋ-​lē How to pronounce banter (audio) \ 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 The idea sprung from friendly locker room banter among the Barons, who were in desperate need of a kicker. David Hinojosa, ExpressNews.com, "Saint Mary’s Hall kicker Hunter Hoelscher proves she’s no joke," 5 Nov. 2020 Nearly half of Wilson’s rhapsodic monologues and banter among the session musicians has been cut or substantially condensed. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ review: In 1927 Chicago, Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis and August Wilson play glorious three-part harmony," 20 Nov. 2020 The Morning Show actress graced the 2020s Emmys stage tonight to help facilitate some delightfully corny award show banter with host Jimmy Kimmel — and tell some run-of-the-mill social distancing jokes. Natalie Morin, refinery29.com, "Jennifer Aniston Crashed The Emmys To Sanitise The Stage," 21 Sep. 2020 An upbeat Fisher has reason for rascally banter heading into his third season with the Aggies — primarily because so far there is a season for the SEC, along with the Big 12 and ACC. Brent Zwerneman, ExpressNews.com, "Jimbo Fisher thrilled Texas A&M is back at work," 18 Aug. 2020 As the two bantered about the early days, Yearwood started mentioning all the songs that Brooks pitched to have her record, only to take them back and record himself. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'We're all in this together': Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood home concert crashes Facebook Live," 24 Mar. 2020 Before a White House signing of the partial trade deal with China, Trump bantered with business leaders. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump's autograph is a hot commodity on eBay. Just ask him," 16 Jan. 2020 Relationships play out in weird fast-motion bursts, with characters who have never met before bantering like longtime friends seconds later, and characters who have met literally one time falling in love. EW.com, "The Outer Worlds is a great RPG if you ignore its characters," 22 Oct. 2019 Instead, the two begin bantering about who is better at what, with things really heating up after Corden declares that British people are better at sports than Americans. Lexy Perez, Billboard, "James Corden and Harry Styles' UK Team Challenge Michelle Obama's Team U.S.A. in 'Late Late Show' Dodgeball: Watch," 18 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There’s no better time to wrap yourself up like mummy and enjoy a night of classic monster movie banter. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "Wondering about ordinary things exercises the brain: Whit & Whimsey," 12 Feb. 2021 On Tuesday morning, Klingberg fired a shot of friendly banter at Swedish pal and former Stars forward Mattias Janmark, who Dallas faced for the first time Sunday. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Stars notebook: Rookie goalie Jake Oettinger takes the blame for back-to-back overtime losses," 10 Feb. 2021 Powers’s script lends a fly-on-the-wall appeal to the fictionalized banter among Cooke, Clay, Brown and X, as their larger-than-life personas fuel a crackling dialogue on faith and philosophy. Washington Post, "After ‘Hamilton,’ Leslie Odom Jr. just wanted to be himself. Then the role of Sam Cooke came calling.," 14 Jan. 2021 Between the two of them, the banter tends toward light. Alison Bowen, chicagotribune.com, "As these Chicago doctors do battle in a COVID-19 unit, their friendship has become a lifeline: ‘She’s living it with me.’," 24 Nov. 2020 With that comes the political banter over who fits which seat, a kind of card-trading and prediction game that engulfs much of the political class until nominations are secured and submitted. cleveland, "Will anyone from Ohio get a post in Joe Biden’s Cabinet?," 15 Nov. 2020 In the cover story, the two banter about Alain de Botton novels, how Pilates has loosened up Styles’ hamstrings, and watching Clueless during lockdown (relatable). Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Harry Styles’ Dress On The Cover Of Vogue Is A Sign Of The Times," 14 Nov. 2020 Given that the plot unfolds over a single day, and one in which students are taking final exams, the noise or banter of a regular classroom is also purposefully absent. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Flashback to Lebanon ‘1982,’ for an empathetic look at life with war on the horizon," 17 Jan. 2021 The West Valley City Democrat said her religion rarely comes up beyond playful banter. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Latter-day Saints are overrepresented in Utah’s Legislature, holding 9 of every 10 seats," 14 Jan. 2021

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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Statistics for banter

Cite this Entry

“Banter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/banter. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce banter (audio) \

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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Comments on banter

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