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 banterer (audio) \ noun
banteringly \ ˈban-​tə-​riŋ-​lē How to pronounce banteringly (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 At some point, costumed performers appeared onstage and started bantering. Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker, "The Mysteries of “Baby Shark”," 21 Nov. 2019 Bethel, in his best post-Hart-of-Dixie usage, banters well with Missick and has some dynamic courtroom moments. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Bluff City Law' and 'All Rise': TV Reviews," 23 Sep. 2019 Dylan was also seen working on music with Johnny Cash, and, looking and sounding strung out, bantering nonsensically with John Lennon in the back of a car in London. Hillel Italie, BostonGlobe.com, "Oscar-winning documentary maker D.A. Pennebaker dies at 94," 3 Aug. 2019 David, by contrast, was an extrovert who attended several dinner parties a week and bantered with reporters, politicians and friends in New York society. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "David Koch, Billionaire Who Fueled Right-Wing Movement, Dies at 79," 23 Aug. 2019 The two bantered before slapping hands on the way back to the line of scrimmage. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders WR Antonio Brown suits up, runs routes in practice: ‘He’s getting close’," 30 July 2019 Our guys, despite what may be bantered about, understand that. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Justin Verlander and the Astros are not above the rules, and their decision to deny a reporter access is a black eye for baseball," 24 Aug. 2019 On most teams, the outfielders stroll in silence or bantering lightly off the field between innings. Stephanie Apstein, SI.com, "To the Nationals, Juan Soto Isn't Bryce Harper. He Might Be Better," 15 Aug. 2019 Dylan was also seen working on music with Johnny Cash, and, looking and sounding strung out, bantering nonsensically with John Lennon in the back of a car in London. Hillel Italie, Washington Post, "D.A. Pennebaker, filmmaker who brought cinéma vérité to culture and politics, dies at 94," 5 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The banter between Curtin and his sassy assistant, Lindy (Micaela Diamond), is nearly worth the price of admission and seems to be the point of the piece. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'A Play Is a Poem': Theater Review," 22 Sep. 2019 The one-take cover is gorgeously sung and the banter in the middle is perfect for any fan of Nickelodeon/Disney crossovers. Brenton Blanchet, Billboard, "The 10 Best Ariana Grande Songs That Were Never Officially Released," 18 Sep. 2019 But similar to the banter between chicken chains in this summer's Chicken Sandwich War, Del Taco took a swing at Taco Bell's freebie, which is available from 2 to 6 p.m. local time in restaurants. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Del Taco takes a swing at Taco Bell with competing World Series free taco deal Wednesday," 30 Oct. 2019 Our friendships were fast and vulgar and full of banter. Henry Dawson, Bon Appétit, "I Didn't Know How to Tell My Guy Friends I Cared, So I Learned to Bake," 4 Oct. 2019 The remastered tracks reveal a bit of the banter behind the scenes — insight into a band that was in harmony, not acrimony. CBS News, "50 years later, "Abbey Road" remix reveals insight into the Beatles' swan song," 27 Sep. 2019 Inua Ellams’s play traces the unique environment of the barber shop as a place for African men to banter about the state of the world, here shifting from London to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, and Accra. Terry Byrne, BostonGlobe.com, "Paulus’s 10th season to include a revue of ART’s greatest hits," 21 May 2018 The president recently reached out to some people Kelly had sought to excommunicate, calling former communications director Anthony Scaramucci to banter about politics and inviting Lewandowski and Bossie to dinner in the residence. Philip Rucker And Robert Costa, chicagotribune.com, "'Tired of the wait game': White House stabilizers gone, Trump calling his own shots," 1 Apr. 2018 But Wallace kept up an optimistic banter into the fourth quarter, and Buffalo rallied for a 17-16 victory. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "What do Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Levi Wallace say during NFL games?," 12 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for banter

Time Traveler

The first known use of banter was in 1653

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Statistics for banter

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Banter.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bantered. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on banter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for banter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with banter

Spanish Central: Translation of banter

Nglish: Translation of banter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of banter for Arabic Speakers

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