rep·​ar·​tee | \ ˌre-pər-ˈtē How to pronounce repartee (audio) , -ˌpär-, -ˈtā How to pronounce repartee (audio) \

Definition of repartee

1a : a quick and witty reply
b : a succession or interchange of clever retorts : amusing and usually light sparring with words
2 : adroitness and cleverness in reply : skill in repartee

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Synonyms for repartee


comeback, retort, riposte

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Choose the Right Synonym for repartee

wit, humor, irony, sarcasm, satire, repartee mean a mode of expression intended to arouse amusement. wit suggests the power to evoke laughter by remarks showing verbal felicity or ingenuity and swift perception especially of the incongruous. a playful wit humor implies an ability to perceive the ludicrous, the comical, and the absurd in human life and to express these usually without bitterness. a sense of humor irony applies to a manner of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is seemingly expressed. the irony of the title sarcasm applies to expression frequently in the form of irony that is intended to cut or wound. given to heartless sarcasm satire applies to writing that exposes or ridicules conduct, doctrines, or institutions either by direct criticism or more often through irony, parody, or caricature. a satire on the Congress repartee implies the power of answering quickly, pointedly, or wittily. a dinner guest noted for repartee

Did You Know?

One person often noted for her repartee was Dorothy Parker, writer and legendary member of the Algonquin Round Table. Upon hearing that Calvin Coolidge had died, she replied, "How can they tell?" The taciturn Coolidge obviously didn’t have a reputation for being the life of the party, but he himself came out with a particularly famous repartee on one occasion. When a dinner guest approached him and told him she had bet someone she could get him to say more than two words, he replied, "You lose." Repartee, our word for such a quick, sharp reply (and for skill with such replies) comes from the French repartie, of the same meaning. Repartie comes from the French verb repartir, meaning "to retort."

Examples of repartee in a Sentence

The two comedians engaged in witty repartee. that repartee to the reporter's question drew laughs from the bystanders

Recent Examples on the Web

There's no word yet on the show's next premiere date, but expect to tune in for another round of up-and-coming vocalists and lighthearted coach-on-coach repartee this fall. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "This Is How Gwen Stefani Really Feels About Replacing Adam Levine on 'The Voice'," 9 June 2019 Thank you to our editor, Joel Raabe, and our producer, Eric Johnson, who also has enjoyed Lauren’s repartee over the many years. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Lauren Goode returns for the final episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask," 3 Aug. 2018 Yet the biggest showcase sequences are utter eye candy, and their visual gags stand on their own—or drive hilarious repartee. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Wreck-It Ralph 2 review: Everything we wish Ready Player One had been," 21 Nov. 2018 Now, their repartee with a side of jewels and fashion is back for a Season 2, starring some of our favorite female powerhouses: Zosia Mamet (who made a cameo in Season 1), Kat Dennings, Lola Kirke and Marisa Tomei. Alanna Martine Kilkeary, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Spade Premieres Season 2 of #MissAdventure With a Weekend Getaway (and a Wedding Twist!)," 28 Mar. 2016 But then along came the walking book of quotations known as Adam Rippon, whose repartee is sharper than his skate blades. New York Times, "Moments Large and Small in a Memorable Olympics," 25 Feb. 2018 Summoned to court in the middle of the night by the king’s messenger with news that rebel factions are joining forces, Hal rehearses for the meeting with his surrogate father, Falstaff, his mentor in debauchery and mordant repartee. Charles Mcnulty,, "Tom Hanks, Hamish Linklater and a 'Henry IV' worthy of applause," 10 June 2018 The witty, biting repartee among the ladies begins almost immediately, setting the tone for 18 rounds of non-stop put downs, hurt feelings, revelations and reconciliations. Mitchel Benson, sacbee, "‘Ladies Foursome’ maintains remarkable chemistry in return to B Street Theatre," 10 July 2018 The Hildy Johnson-Walter Burns relationship is supposed to be a cage match of equals, with witty repartee papering over both grievance and a fundamental compatibility. Julia M. Klein,, "'His Girl Friday' at Hedgerow: Fast talk, fast pace," 2 July 2018

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

1637, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for repartee

French repartie, from repartir to retort, from Middle French, from re- + partir to divide — more at part

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Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for repartee

The first known use of repartee was in 1637

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English Language Learners Definition of repartee

: conversation in which clever statements and replies are made quickly

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More from Merriam-Webster on repartee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with repartee

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Spanish Central: Translation of repartee

Nglish: Translation of repartee for Spanish Speakers

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characterized by aphorism

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