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

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 His wit and humor and his ability to suddenly, in an awkward situation, say one thing that can relax the room. CNN, "Anthony Bourdain shone a different light on the Middle East," 8 June 2018 Wayne says: Thank you for pitching this letter right into my baseball wit wheelhouse. Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, "My boyfriend chose to go to a baseball game with his son over being with me, and I’m crushed," 21 Apr. 2018 Angelina Jean lived her life to the fullest and was blessed to have her wits about her up until her passing. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 4/8," 8 Apr. 2018 Its songs were underpinned by a polyrhythmic attack, wit drums and hand percussion augmented by rapid-fire handclaps. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "SXSW goes global: Trupa Trupa's post-punk to Gato Preto's dance party in Austin," 17 Mar. 2018 New and prominent on the playlist is solo rap artist A Boogie wit da Hoodie also features prominently during pregame at Cintas Center. Patrick Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "Xavier basketball pregame playlist, Vol. II," 15 Jan. 2018 On her wits alone—and with only a criminal as a companion—the girl must fight her way back to safety. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Best Sci Fi Movies of 2018 That Starred Women," 28 Nov. 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

17 Apr 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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