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

The book is a more polished, extensive discussion of the concepts that pepper Orlin's blog, featuring his trademark caustic wit, a refreshingly breezy conversational tone, and of course, lots and lots of very bad drawings. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The math of why it’s so hard to build a spherical Death Star in space," 18 Sep. 2018 Family and friends recalled Fischman’s dry wit, love of family and brilliant mind. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Capital Gazette editor Gerald Fischman remembered at funeral for dry wit, love of family," 8 July 2018 But the work as a whole stands up, with its sharply drawn wit, its scenic velocity, and its brilliantly hybrid score infused with that youthful exuberance from first bar to last. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, "Tanglewood opens with Bernstein’s exuberance, Lang Lang’s return," 8 July 2018 The sheer insanity of the situations that befall Cassius forces him to respond with wit, energy and reckless audacity, but the captivating stillness and melancholy cool that are among Stanfield’s defining traits as an actor never recede. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: Boots Riley's 'Sorry to Bother You' is an arrestingly surreal satire on class rage and cultural identity," 5 July 2018 Carl's amazing wit, sense of humor and absolute zest for life made him a joy to be around. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Carl Barrett Firnhaber," 1 July 2018 Alterboyz practices slow, patient improv while Wet Bus speeds through its set with quick wit, rapid physicality shifts, and bold scene initiations. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, "The two improv teams in Oh Hell Yeah demonstrate that timing is everything," 22 June 2018 But worse is the show’s stark juxtaposition of gay men ennobled mostly by aesthetic graces (and canned wit) and straight men zhuzhed up before being sent out to live better, fuller lives. Richard Lawson, HWD, "Why L.G.B.T.-Centered TV Is Stuck in the Past," 30 May 2018 As Trump brought his chaotic management style to the White House, the Game of Thrones references continued with a relentlessness that can only be compared to Tyrion’s wit, or perhaps the show’s commitment to depicting gore and nudity. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump White House Drama Changes Drastically – But Is Still Just Like Game of Thrones," 29 May 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

20 Feb 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 \

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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