witty

adjective
wit·​ty | \ ˈwi-tē How to pronounce witty (audio) \
wittier; wittiest

Definition of witty

1 : marked by or full of clever humor or wit : smartly facetious or jocular a witty novel
2 : quick or ready to see or express illuminating or amusing relationships or insights a witty raconteur
3 : amusingly or ingeniously clever in conception or execution the costumes are sumptuous and witty— Virgil Thomson the musical background is … often witty— Wolcott Gibbs
4 archaic : having good intellectual capacity : intelligent

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Other Words from witty

wittily \ ˈwi-​tə-​lē How to pronounce witty (audio) \ adverb
wittiness \ ˈwi-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce witty (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for witty

witty, humorous, facetious, jocular, jocose mean provoking or intended to provoke laughter. witty suggests cleverness and quickness of mind. a witty remark humorous applies broadly to anything that evokes usually genial laughter and may contrast with witty in suggesting whimsicality or eccentricity. humorous anecdotes facetious stresses a desire to produce laughter and may be derogatory in implying dubious or ill-timed attempts at wit or humor. facetious comments jocular implies a usually habitual fondness for jesting and joking. a jocular fellow jocose is somewhat less derogatory than facetious in suggesting habitual waggishness or playfulness. jocose proposals

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”).

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
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Recent Examples on the Web The essayist, former Washington Examiner magazine editor, and millennial Helen Andrews attempts to answer this question in Boomers, a scathing and witty new broadside against America’s most mythologized and self-mythologizing generation. Park Macdougald, Washington Examiner, "OK, boomers," 14 Jan. 2021 What an extraordinary woman, intelligent, so very witty and lots of fun to be with for so many years. Alex Hitz, Town & Country, "Remembering Marguerite Littman, the Woman Who Taught Princess Diana About Philanthropy," 10 Jan. 2021 It’s a typical Welles bon mot, blustery and witty and egocentric. Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, "‘Mank’ brings just the latest in a long line of Orson Welles depictions," 6 Jan. 2021 The two were sharp, witty and smart in their previous outings handling this gig. oregonlive, "Winter TV 2021: Premiere dates for new and returning midseason shows," 30 Dec. 2020 These images are emphasized by a terse and witty dramaturgy that condenses the action into emblematic moments in a way that’s similarly classically rooted in a bygone Hollywood manner. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Review: “Sylvie’s Love” Revives the Art of the Classic Hollywood Romance," 22 Dec. 2020 Arjona, Blanco is thoughtful and witty, full of phrases to be discovered and savored. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 25 Best Latin Albums of 2020: Staff Picks," 16 Dec. 2020 No, my memory calls him up as ‘Bill Rinehart’ – just ‘Bill Rinehart’ the droll, the witty, the tease, the black-board’s artist, at the old Priestland School. Mary Ann Ashcraft, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carroll Yesteryears: Glimpse at early life of sculptor William Henry Rinehart," 26 Dec. 2020 The novel is engaging, witty, thoughtful, and at times exciting. Monitor Readers, The Christian Science Monitor, "Bite-size book reviews: Fiction our readers loved in 2020," 18 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of witty

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for witty

see wit entry 2

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Time Traveler for witty

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for witty

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Witty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witty. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for witty

witty

adjective
How to pronounce witty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of witty

: funny and clever

witty

adjective
wit·​ty | \ ˈwi-tē How to pronounce witty (audio) \
wittier; wittiest

Kids Definition of witty

: having or showing cleverness a witty person a witty remark

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Comments on witty

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