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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

First came Amy Schumer’s use of the C-word while bantering with Jennifer Lawrence. Vogue, "The Most Shocking Golden Globe Moments of All Time," 3 Jan. 2019 Stuart and his band showcased its country tunes while bantering with audience. Ed Condran, Philly.com, "Hall & Oates' Hoagie Nation returns to Festival Pier for its second year," 27 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The banter and body language will be as interesting as the play itself. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Will You Pay to Watch Tiger and Phil?," 23 Aug. 2018 Even in that honeymoon phase, adversarial banter was the nature of our rapport. Nora Zelevansky, Town & Country, "When I First Met My Husband, It Was Hate At First Sight," 10 May 2016 And the banter between him and Kate—his and Kate's energy is really funny. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Jokes About Prince William's Hair All the Time," 15 Mar. 2019 As the banter continues, the African pendants worn by both shimmer in the sunlight. Aaron Carter, Philly.com, "Germantown Friends' McKoy twins will continue track careers at Lafayette, Lehigh," 2 June 2018 The flirty banter of this good-looking bouncer couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "After 10 Years of Dating in New York, This Is What I’ve Learned," 11 Feb. 2019 With all the glittering banter of 1930s noir, this novel takes class, privilege, and identity theft and wraps them inside a murder mystery. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Return to an alternate history space race with two new Lady Astronaut novels," 18 Sep. 2018 People save voicemail in order to hear once again the voice of someone who has gone, or text exchanges, alive with banter and the mundane notes that make up a life. Beth Teitell, BostonGlobe.com, "Phone contacts: Do you delete the deceased?," 9 July 2018 Buddy’s name is a mystery, as is his face, his true nature and any possible demons under the banter and the roles. John Timpane, Philly.com, "Bryn Mawr alum wins prestigious Frost Farm poetry prize," 8 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about banter

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

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up banter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!