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

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Other Words from riposte

riposte verb

Synonyms for riposte


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Did You Know?

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 On New Year’s Day 1984 Paik returned to broadcasting with a riposte to the dystopian vision of George Orwell’s novel. J.u-s, The Economist, "Nam June Paik’s pioneering video art," 29 Oct. 2019 The trouble is, House Democrats have been unable to shift the spotlight at crucial moments, particularly given the pent-up desire among some of their members to meet Mr. Trump’s over-the-top behavior with dramatic ripostes of their own. New York Times, "House Votes to Kill Trump Impeachment Resolution," 17 July 2019 More used to delivering sarcastic ripostes behind a reception desk, wallflower Stevie's nerves were palpable from the moment Moira unexpectedly gifted her with the lead part. Jon O'brien, Billboard, "The 10 Best 'Schitt's Creek' Music Moments," 7 Jan. 2020 Klobuchar said, in a riposte that lacked substance but made up for it in emotional IQ. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Bloomberg Craps Out in Vegas," 20 Feb. 2020 Though the bout is ostensibly just for fun, the resentment coursing between the men quickens each lunge, riposte and parry. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "Games, both old and new, power this reboot of ‘Edward II’," 5 Nov. 2019 The chants came as Mr. Trump fired off a series of Twitter ripostes to the growing anger, saying that the United States had already chosen 52 targets inside of Iran. New York Times, "Iran Ends Nuclear Limits as Killing of Iranian General Upends Mideast," 5 Jan. 2020 The chants came as Trump fired off a series of Twitter ripostes to the growing anger, saying that the United States had already chosen 52 targets in Iran. Ben Hubbard,, "Iran ends nuclear limits as killing of Iranian general upends Mideast," 5 Jan. 2020 The Full Spectrum For those of us who’d rather stay home than wear a camel blazer, bright colors were a retina-searing riposte. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The 8 Biggest Street Style Trends of the Spring 2020 Season," 4 Oct. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for riposte

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The first known use of riposte was in 1707

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Last Updated

6 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Riposte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce riposte (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of riposte

formal : a quick and clever reply

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