out·​wit | \ ˌau̇t-ˈwit How to pronounce outwit (audio) \
outwitted; outwitting

Definition of outwit

transitive verb

1 : to get the better of by superior cleverness : outsmart
2 archaic : to surpass in wisdom

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Examples of outwit in a Sentence

The fox managed to outwit the hunter by hiding in a tree. They thought they had outwitted the new teacher.
Recent Examples on the Web While San Diego health care workers rolled up their sleeves for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, local scientists stressed that a new strain of the virus likely won’t outwit current vaccines. San Diego Union-Tribune, "First San Diegans get Moderna vaccine, with scientists urging caution, not panic, over new COVID strain," 22 Dec. 2020 Over Zoom, Yaron Singer, its cofounder and CEO, demonstrates a program that uses AI to outwit the AI that reads checks, an early application for modern machine learning. Will Knight, Wired, "This Company Uses AI to Outwit Malicious AI," 2 Dec. 2020 But if there are games, there must be a games master, and Arisu is determined to outwit him (or her). Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Action-packed Alice in Borderland trailer boasts a killer tiger and bikini-fu," 1 Nov. 2020 Creating a really useful deepfake detector might be even harder than the contest suggests, according to Farid of UC Berkeley, because new techniques are rapidly emerging and a malicious deepfake maker might work hard to outwit a particular detector. Will Knight, Wired, "Deepfakes Aren't Very Good. Nor Are the Tools to Detect Them," 12 June 2020 Yes, her account of one Jewish-Czech family’s race to outwit the Nazis makes for thrilling reading. New York Times, "A Box of Secrets Led to the Story of Her Father’s Painful Wartime Past," 28 Mar. 2020 Murphy estimates that 60% of fines arose from crooks' outwitting banks' screening systems, while another 20% came about because of simple errors on the part of bank employees. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "A near record year for money laundering: Banks hit with $10 billion in fines," 11 Mar. 2020 The Cowboys defense was thoroughly outwitted on a double-reverse trick play as a Bills receiver found a Bills running back for a touchdown. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "Buffalo Bills make statement with win over error-prone Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day," 29 Nov. 2019 The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "Are you ready for ‘Hunger Games’ prequel book and film?," 29 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'outwit.' 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 outwit

circa 1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for outwit

Time Traveler

The first known use of outwit was circa 1630

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Statistics for outwit

Last Updated

26 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Outwit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/outwit. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for outwit


How to pronounce outwit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of outwit

: to defeat or trick (someone) by being more intelligent or clever


out·​wit | \ au̇t-ˈwit How to pronounce outwit (audio) \
outwitted; outwitting

Kids Definition of outwit

More from Merriam-Webster on outwit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for outwit

Nglish: Translation of outwit for Spanish Speakers

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