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 In Diana’s mind, her controversial television interview was a riposte, however ill judged, to the original documentary about her husband. Andrew Morton, Town & Country, "Inside Princess Margaret's Complicated Relationship with Princess Diana," 30 Mar. 2021 Her riposte is to question the morality of the law and the king who issued it. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's 'The Island,' two men starved for freedom resist being crushed by apartheid," 3 Mar. 2021 That was more like a riposte to first lady tradition and a statement of intent: I will not be forced into the mold that was made for me. New York Times, "A Farewell to the Trump Aesthetic," 16 Jan. 2021 And the words of an English prime minister of that epoch, Lord Palmerston, offer another riposte. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "Biden pushes democracy abroad as a matter of national security," 18 Feb. 2021 The results were hardly a riposte to the President's divisive, populist leadership. Angela Dewan, CNN, "Trump's loss dealt a blow to global populism. But the movement is still alive and kicking," 27 Nov. 2020 Revealing a relationship of resemblance instead, Wilkerson offers a breathtaking riposte to America’s image of itself as a moral beacon to the world. Gaiutra Bahadur, The New Republic, "Is America Trapped in a Caste System?," 25 Nov. 2020 The riposte from China’s foreign ministry was swift. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "China Says It Remains Open to the World, but Wants to Dictate Terms," 23 Nov. 2020 That drew a memorable riposte from Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, who slyly suggested that the former vice president, with his long Senate experience, was no naif about Netanyahu’s ability to dissemble. Noga Tarnopolsky, Los Angeles Times, "What a Biden win means for Israel’s vehemently pro-Trump prime minister," 19 Nov. 2020

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

13 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Riposte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of riposte

formal : a quick and clever reply

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