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

But that gave way to banter with players, general managers, and even MLS owners over his various drawings. Jacob Feldman, SI.com, "How ESPN Is Covering the World Cup Without Highlights," 10 July 2018 Burke is behind the counter and at the stove in the open kitchen, taking orders, exchanging jovial banter with customers, and cooking turkey burgers and falafel. Devra First, BostonGlobe.com, "He cooked in upscale restaurants. Now he’s cooking for your family.," 31 May 2018 Ogabek Masharipov, a 23-year-old with Teach for Russia, a programme that sends young college graduates to teach in rural schools, banters with pupils and begins his lesson with an interactive exercise. The Economist, "Reformists and traditionalists are at war over Russian schools," 26 May 2018 The film’s trailers have prompted discussion over Lando’s flirty banter with Han, and even a potential attraction between Lando and his droid co-pilot L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Lando Calrissian’s newfound ‘pansexuality’ is bullshit," 17 May 2018 Handmaids in the City promises banter with a heavy-handed dose of oppression. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "SNL Asks: Is Handmaid’s Tale The SATC Of 2018?," 13 May 2018 Hobbs also make's a brief appearance here, interrupting Tej's fun banter with the live actor to warn of the FBI leading Shaw to their location. Matt Cabral, The Hollywood Reporter, "What It's Like Riding with the 'Fast & Furious' Crew at Universal Studios," 5 May 2018 Abby's banter with Alioune and Zack initially plays like sitcom dialogue, draining the work of its neo-Pinteresque menace and setting up erroneous expectations of what stylistically lies ahead. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "In 'Belleville,' two Americans in Paris head into Hitchcock territory," 24 Apr. 2018 In contrast to his past practice of offering gibberish as banter between songs, Matthews spoke directly and with sincerity on the topic of children being separated from parents arrested on charges of unauthorized entry to the United States. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Four ways Dave Matthews Band played a youthful 39th show at Ruoff amphitheater," 7 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

Last Updated

21 Aug 2018

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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Comments on banter

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