Definition of witty
1 archaic : having good intellectual capacity : intelligent
2 : amusingly or ingeniously clever in conception or execution the costumes are sumptuous and witty — Virgil Thomson the musical background is … often witty — Wolcott Gibbs
3 : marked by or full of clever humor or wit : smartly facetious or jocular a witty novel
4 : quick or ready to see or express illuminating or amusing relationships or insights a witty raconteur
wittilyplay \ˈwi-tə-lē\ adverb
wittinessplay \ˈwi-tē-nəs\ noun
Examples of witty in a Sentence
We'd kept everything witty and cool, until the air between us was so ironized that to say anything in earnest would have been a breach of manners, even of trust. —Tobias Wolff, Old School, 2003
… when she walked up to me and made a caustic remark on the principal's address of the morning, I couldn't help laughing, as she was obviously not only intelligent but very witty. —Margaret A. Edwards, The Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts, 1994
Yet for all his solemnity, Hamlet was also the play's and Shakespeare's wittiest wit, with as many one-liners as any comic in the whole canon. —Reed Whittemore, Pure Lives, 1988
a witty talk show host
a witty and sardonic blogger who never fails to amuse his legion of readers
Recent Examples of witty from the Web
Having Denali narrate the film was smart, offering a sidelong but witty reveal of Moon's own vulnerabilities.
Diana is erudite but unworldly, witty but never ironic, supremely self-confident and utterly mystified by the modern world.
Filming cityscapes and intimate gestures with avid attention, adorning the dialogue with deep confessions and witty asides, Piñeiro conjures a cogently realistic yet gloriously imaginative vision of youthful ardor in love and art alike.
The original songs by Auxier and Huther, all in a ragtimey-jazz style, are as catchy and witty as the songs of the period.
Francesca is more or less perfect—witty, sweet-natured, in love with New York City, always eager for a whimsical adventure with Dev—and she’s also engaged, which of course only makes Dev want her more.
Witty, borderline screwball feminist comedy wrapped in an emotionally powerful look at the uses of art.
Audiences can expect plenty of witty onstage banter: the duo’s offstage chemistry is as obvious as their musical chops.
The dialogue deftly alternates between witty and dramatic.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'witty'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
witty and Wise
When we call someone witty, we are typically ascribing to them the quality of clever humor. This has not always been the case: witty (and the word it is formed from, wit) originally referred to intelligence or good judgment. Although the “mentally capable” meaning of witty has largely become obsolete, we still see vestiges of it in various expressions involving wit, such as wit and wisdom or out of one’s wits. Another phrase, to wit, meaning “that is, namely,” comes directly from the Middle English to witen (“to know”).
Synonym Discussion of witty
WITTY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of witty for English Language Learners
: funny and clever
WITTY Defined for Kids
Definition of witty for Students
: having or showing cleverness a witty person a witty remark
Seen and Heard
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