ri·​poste | \ ri-ˈpōst How to pronounce riposte (audio) \

Definition of riposte

1 : a fencer's quick return thrust following a parry
2 : a retaliatory verbal sally : retort
3 : a retaliatory maneuver or measure

Other Words from riposte

riposte verb

Synonyms for riposte


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In the sport of fencing, a riposte is a counterattack made after successfully fending off one's opponent. English speakers borrowed the name for this particular maneuver from French in the early 1700s, but the French had simply modified Italian risposta, which literally means "answer." Ultimately these words come from the Latin verb respondēre, meaning "to respond." It seems fitting that riposte has since come full circle to now refer to a quick and witty response performed as a form of retaliation.

Examples of riposte in a Sentence

he's known for having a brilliant riposte to nearly any insult
Recent Examples on the Web To some, The Babylon Bee’s riposte was an assertion of biological fact. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 May 2022 His answer is a version of his riposte to charges that green-minded investments produce, by definition, lackluster returns. Larry Light, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022 The sure-to-arrive riposte from the former president duly followed. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 9 Feb. 2022 Potter’s exquisite drawings of fungi from the 1880s and 90s were a colorful riposte to the largely black-and-white versions that then filled the scientific literature, says the curator. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, 21 Jan. 2022 The progressive riposte to these contentions typically assert that Democrats should excite people by running on bold and transformative ideas, deliver on these promises, and then run again on the promise to deliver more. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, 8 Nov. 2021 When Jen Psaki rudely mocks the idea of sending free rapid tests to every American, any defender of democracy—keenly aware of the public need and the potential to revive such civic spirits—would and should offer a riposte. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 11 Dec. 2021 That threat received a strong riposte the following day. Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2021 As a riposte to the big-money skullduggery of gig platforms that seem to have unlimited industry backing, Friday’s ruling was a heartening sign that the courts may be on the side of workers. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 23 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'riposte.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of riposte

1707, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for riposte

French, modification of Italian risposta, literally, answer, from rispondere to respond, from Latin respondēre

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The first known use of riposte was in 1707

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Riposte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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