Origin and Etymology of wit
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
Definition of wit
2a : sense 2a —usually used in plural alone and warming his five wits, the white owl in the belfry sits — Alfred Tennysonb (1) : mental soundness : sanity —usually used in plural (2) : mental capability and resourcefulness : ingenuity
3a : astuteness of perception or judgment : acumenb : the ability to relate seemingly disparate things so as to illuminate or amusec (1) : a talent for banter or persiflage (2) : a witty utterance or exchanged : clever or apt humor
4a : a person of superior intellect : thinkerb : an imaginatively perceptive and articulate individual especially skilled in banter or persiflage
at one's wit's endor
at one's wits' end
: at a loss for a means of solving a problem
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 of wit from the Web
The copious invention of Brown's statements inspired a characteristically edgy response from Alden, whose solo bristled with bent notes, punctuating silences, pointed tone and plenty of wit and whimsy.
There may not be the sublime poetry of the piano and clarinet concertos Mozart would write in his 30s, but the musical grace and wit in this violin concerto could only come from the pen of one composer.
To wit, one of Kendall's outfit posts has a lowkey soigné/lounging vibe, where she's dressed only in a crisp white shirt and adorable leopard undies.
That The Great Beauty achieves it with visual splendor, infectious party scenes, sparkling wit, poignant asides, and laugh-out-loud satire puts it in a special class of films that aim for excellence in every aspect and deliver.
Principal Justin FitzGerald welcomed families with his usual wit and warmth.
Spacey danced, sang and joked his way through a three-hour rehearsal Sunday morning with grace and self-depreciating wit.
In a three-hour rehearsal Sunday, Spacey danced, sang and joked with grace and self-depreciating wit.
Sunday night's 71st Annual Tony Awards will offer plenty of gentle wit from first-time host Kevin Spacey.
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.
Origin and Etymology of wit
Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German wizzi knowledge, Old English witan to know
Synonym Discussion of wit
WIT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of wit for English Language Learners
: 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
WIT Defined for Kids
Definition of wit for Students
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up wit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).