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
Examples of wit in a Sentence
She is full of wit and vivacity.
His latest book doesn't have the same wit as his earlier books.
The book is a collection of his wit and wisdom.
She was a famous writer and wit.
Recent Examples on the Web
Friends, family, and community members described Aston's wit, Loving's fighting spirit, Rump's humor, Vance's soft nature, and Paugh's charisma.—Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 19 Nov. 2023 But if brevity is the soul of wit, then transposing your three-minute sensibility onto a feature-length film is the ultimate test of one’s comedic mettle.—Michael Nordine, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 But at its core, the film is sparklingly intelligent, Godard-puckish and moving, capable of deadpan wit and the most intimate swirl of ideas and emotions.—Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2023 That early work had a spiky wit and a loopy, slightly campy, intelligence—hallmarks of Wolfe’s style ever since.—Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 5 Nov. 2023 Scorpios are known for their wit and humor — two things also associated with Reynolds.—Zoey Lyttle, Peoplemag, 2 Nov. 2023 Its other key appeal is the host’s dagger-sharp wit.—Vulture, 25 Oct. 2023 Both shows are laced with feminist undertones, sharp wit, minutes-long confessions of love, and music scores from contemporary pop artists.—Kalia Richardson, Rolling Stone, 4 Nov. 2023 Its combination of unfeigned earnestness and irreverent, early-Marvel-era wit can’t help but bring to mind that moment — that other world — when Obama was still president and Hamilton was taking its shot on Broadway.—Sara Holdren, Vulture, 1 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German wizzi knowledge, Old English witan to know
Middle English witen (1st & 3rd singular present wot, past wiste), from Old English witan (1st & 3rd singular present wāt, past wisse, wiste); akin to Old High German wizzan to know, Latin vidēre to see, Greek eidenai to know, idein to see
First Known Use
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1
The first known use of wit was
before the 12th century