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
4a : sense sense 2a usually used in pluralalone 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 Peggy will be remembered for her consistent kindness, willingness to share a kind word, gentle disposition, devotion to her religion and especially her amazing quick wit. sun-sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 8/18," 18 Aug. 2019 His first foray for Netflix, The Politician, was polarizing: Some loved the show’s Sue Sylvester–like wit and lightning-fast dialogue; others hated it. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood Isn’t Perfect, But It Did Make Me Smile," 1 May 2020 The songs, so full of beauty and intelligence, truth and yearning, wit and pathos, revealed the lie that their author is inaccessible and unconsoling. Los Angeles Times, "Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday bash reminds us why his music remains so radical," 27 Apr. 2020 Finances are good and your wit and vocabulary will open doors and win admiration. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 18 Apr. 2020 Unlike Greta Gerwig, who reimagined Little Women and gave it a contemporary subtext, de Wilde and Catton deliver a largely faithful and unchallenging adaptation, beautifully staged and sharply acted by a cast adept at balancing wit and romance. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Emma': Film Review," 3 Feb. 2020 Her smarts, wit and sense of humor will always be with anyone who knew Deb. courant.com, "Deborah Dorothy Weldon," 26 Nov. 2019 The most-beloved host remains Johnny Carson, who amused viewers with his topical monologue, his self-deprecating wit and his charming interaction with guests. Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "National TV Talk Show Host Day: King Carson and many princes," 23 Oct. 2019 Be safe, be well and keep your quick wits about you. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, "Ask Amy: Father worries about son’s drinking," 22 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for wit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wit

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wit. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for wit

wit

noun
How to pronounce wit (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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