wit

noun
\ ˈwit How to pronounce wit (audio) \

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

wit

verb
\ ˈwit How to pronounce wit (audio) \
wist\ ˈwist How to pronounce wist (audio) \; witting; present first and third person singular wot\ ˈwät How to pronounce wot (audio) \

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

Noun

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

Noun

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

Idehenre inhabits Sigourney with both warmth and steely resolve, while Brown gives Katie a passionate intensity and sharp wit. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Old Globe’s world-premiere work ‘What You Are’ is a deep dive into identity politics and more," 7 June 2019 Many of these were designed by Jerde, who reliably dappled color and wit onto drab streetscapes from coast to coast. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Will this PoMo wonderland in San Diego be saved?," 5 June 2019 The humor, honesty and wit of the memoir led O’Connell to Hollywood. Alamin Yohannes, NBC News, "#Pride50: Ryan O'Connell — Actor, producer and disability advocate," 3 June 2019 With exuberance, insight and wit, Smith peels the layers off existence, letting in light and even some joy. Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times, "A closer look at three National Book Critics Circle finalists," 20 Feb. 2019 The appeal of Lister’s romance is thanks in large part to Sophie Rundle (a veteran of Peaky Blinders and Bodyguard) who plays Walker with intense emotion, sharp wit, and a charming sense of adventure. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "The actress, a veteran of Bodyguard and Peaky Blinders, says portraying the 19th-century character Ann Walker is “one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done.”," 7 May 2019 Westworld was still able to get away wit broad clichés, like the defeated samurai committing seppuku and the awe-inspiring sight of Mount Fuji, because the idea is that this whole plotline was cooked up by Lee Sizemore, hack supreme. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Westworld: From Cradle to Grave," 28 May 2018 In the midst of squalor, surrounded by adult predators and parents too mired in their own poverty and misery to protect the young and vulnerable, Zain uses his wits and his inner decency to try to do the right thing. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘Capernaum’: A street kid in Beirut tries to do the right thing in powerful Oscar-nominated film," 5 Feb. 2019 In part, this was the natural result of having so much of his wit and intellect bleed across our television screens. Derek Lawrence, EW.com, "David Simon pens touching tribute to Treme collaborator Anthony Bourdain," 12 June 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

Noun

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

Verb

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

History and Etymology for wit

Noun

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German wizzi knowledge, Old English witan to know

Verb

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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Learn More about wit

Dictionary Entries near wit

wistiti

wistless

wistly

wit

witan

witch

witch's brew

Statistics for wit

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wit

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

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More Definitions for wit

wit

noun

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
: the ability to think or reason

wit

noun
\ ˈwit How to pronounce wit (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on wit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wit

Spanish Central: Translation of wit

Nglish: Translation of wit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wit for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wit

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