wit

noun
\ 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

wit

verb
\ 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

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

In popular culture as well as the gaming and fantasy world, rogues are often characterized by quick wit or malevolent silence, cunning and charisma, deft hands and fast feet, and skill with sharp objects. Patricia Grisafi, SELF, "When I’m Gaming, I Can Stop Being a People Pleaser and Embrace My Anger," 1 Nov. 2018 Our expert guide struck the perfect balance between staggering viticulture knowledge and an irreverent wit to lighten what can be a self-serious activity. Tyler Wetherall, Condé Nast Traveler, "Kent Is Poised to Be the U.K.'s Napa Valley," 14 Sep. 2018 Turns out she’s Lady Vernon, the widow of a British industrialist named Sir Michael Vernon—and a crew favorite, due to her naughty wit. Christopher Bagley, Condé Nast Traveler, "Sailing the South China Sea Is the Best Way to See Southeast Asia," 15 Nov. 2018 Atlantic Ocean was recorded at Wilco’s Chicago loft and deftly blends his sardonic wit with electronics that poke and prod, more experimental in the mix than many could get away with. Will Schube, Billboard, "Richard Swift, Prolific Songwriter and Producer, Spent Life Searching for Perfect Sounds," 4 July 2018 Each episode, Bourdain brought his homegrown wit, charm, and sense of humanity to his viewers. Grace Dickinson, Philly.com, "Anthony Bourdain's favorite New Jersey restaurants could become a 'food trail'," 18 June 2018 Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dead at 65," 15 Oct. 2018 Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Paul Allen, Microsoft and Stratolaunch Co-Founder, Dead at 65," 15 Oct. 2018 The Voice is one of the few papers left in New York City that has consistently covered local repertory cinema, art exhibitions, music, and more with wit, craft, and consistently high-quality writing. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The Village Voice has been shut down," 31 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries near wit

wistiti

wistless

wistly

wit

witan

witch

witch's brew

Statistics for wit

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

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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

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

wits : the ability to think or reason

wit

noun
\ 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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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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