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

Definition of wit (Entry 2 of 2)

1 archaic : know
2 archaic : to come to know : learn

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fire's aim is true, though its tone tends to veer wildly, ricocheting from cutting AbFab wit to the kind of broad strokes Bridgerton wouldn't shake a powdered wig at. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 3 June 2022 To wit, an iconic black-and-white photo by Ed Feingersh shows her clutching a crystal bottle and applying No. 5 with a smile. Vogue, 1 June 2022 Such wit depends more on telling than on showing, and Pym was one of the twentieth century’s great practitioners of the distant third-person voice. Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 The thought of Downton existing without the biting wit of Smith’s character was both expected and devastating. Elizabeth Holmes, Town & Country, 29 May 2022 That film brought playful wit and tender observation to a spiky relationship between Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, playing a famous mother and daughter, their starry double-act an anomaly in Kore-eda’s filmography. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 May 2022 The New Yorker was founded five years later, with Katharine Angell as fiction editor and a young wit named Andy White (as E.B. White was known to his friends) contributing humor pieces. Hillel Italie, BostonGlobe.com, 20 May 2022 Hulu’s adaptation of Conversations dulls the author’s wit, depicting Frances as merely detached, not tortured by her ideas. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 19 May 2022 For the teenagers who don’t manage to excel at academics, despite their obvious intelligence and wit, the years ahead may not just be unpromising, but a virtual and never-ending prison. Charles Isherwood, WSJ, 19 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for wit

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

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Dictionary Entries Near wit

wistly

wit

witan

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Statistics for wit

Last Updated

6 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wit. Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for wit

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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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