\ ˈwit \

Definition of wit 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the ability to relate seemingly disparate things so as to illuminate or amuse

b(1) : a talent for banter or persiflage

(2) : a witty utterance or exchange

c : clever or apt humor

d : astuteness of perception or judgment : acumen

2a : a person of superior intellect : thinker

b : an imaginatively perceptive and articulate individual especially skilled in banter or persiflage

3a : reasoning power : intelligence

b : mind, memory

4a : sense sense 2a usually used in plural alone and warming his five wits, the white owl in the belfry sits —Alfred Tennyson

b(1) : mental soundness : sanity usually used in plural

(2) : mental capability and resourcefulness : ingenuity

at one's wit's end or at one's wits' end

: at a loss for a means of solving a problem


\ ˈwit \
wist\ˈwist \; witting; present first and third person singular wot\ˈwät \

Definition of wit (Entry 2 of 2)

1 archaic : know

2 archaic : to come to know : learn

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Choose the Right Synonym for wit


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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His co-workers and friends will sorely miss his wonderful sense of humor and quick wit. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Brian M. Kleinhen," 11 July 2018 DeWitt is an inventive stylist, a ruthlessly curious intellectual, and a sparkling wit; her stories, accordingly, tend to deal in language, philosophy, and humor before touching plot and character. Brittany Allen, Longreads, "Getting Tricked by Helen DeWitt," 9 July 2018 With a flurry of releases sweeping the hip-hop culture by storm during the month of June, one artist who made sure not to get lost in the pileup has been A Boogie wit da Hoodie. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "A Boogie wit da Hoodie Says He Has Six Records With Young Thug, Teases EP With Tory Lanez: Exclusive," 25 June 2018 Charley is remembered for his sense of humor and wit, and for his insatiable curiosity for more knowledge, from the cutting edge of scientific research as much as from literature, art, music, and life itself. OrlandoSentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 6/13," 13 June 2018 Her mother calls Cara a feisty, petite powerhouse with big marble eyes and long eyelashes and a funny wit to match. Wayne Drash, CNN, "Girl has blunt message for Aetna after her brain surgery request was denied," 11 Feb. 2018 For campus libraries, the toolkit would provide two to four tablet carts wit 30 tablets for teachers to use. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend ISD officials propose $178 million technology package for not-yet-approved school bond election," 13 July 2018 The halting camaraderie that develops among them is a marvel of ensemble acting, with dialogue punctuated by the playwright’s lacerating wit. James Hebert, sandiegouniontribune.com, "A struggle to cling to identity is at heart of La Jolla Playhouse's quietly moving 'Queens'," 10 July 2018 In spite of his intelligence and wit, his transformations and peregrinations, Neruda was, or learned to be, a simple man. Benjamin Kunkel, The New Republic, "The partisan world of Pablo Neruda," 2 July 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wit


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

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Dictionary Entries near wit







witch's brew

Statistics for wit

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for wit

The first known use of wit was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for wit



English Language Learners Definition of wit

: an ability to say or write things that are clever and usually funny

: a person who is known for making clever and funny remarks

wits : the ability to think or reason


\ ˈwit \

Kids Definition of wit

1 : normal mental state usually used in pl. He scared me out of my wits.

2 : power to think, reason, or decide He had the wit to leave. The chess player matched wits with a computer.

3 : clever and amusing comments, expressions, or talk

4 : a talent for making clever and usually amusing comments

5 : a person with a talent for making clever and amusing comments

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Comments on wit

What made you want to look up wit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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