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

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
Recent Examples on the Web The resulting works are incredibly witty designs that integrate Surrealist influences. Kate Matthams, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Ladji’s work here is strikingly generous: her witty character is enamored of her pal and Ladji gives her a wry sense of humor and a delightfully bemused quality. Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, 1 May 2022 This witty, irreverent adult coloring book offers a creative diversion, brain break and a good laugh. Stephanie Witmer, Good Housekeeping, 30 Apr. 2022 The newest way was television, one network anchored by the Voice of God, a second by a tag team, one of whom was witty. Richard Brookhiser, National Review, 31 Mar. 2022 So, if your child has excellent memory, is great with numbers, or is witty, try to celebrate that often. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 20 Jan. 2022 The dialogue is witty, but the show isn’t really about language: by the season’s end, the girls are nonverbal, howling. The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 The tone is engaging and witty, but Glück weaves in larger and more primal themes, giving the book the feeling of a creation myth, an awakening from innocence. Hillel Italie, ajc, 25 Apr. 2022 Eggers’s action-film Hamlet is neither bookish nor inhibited nor speculative nor plotting with far-reaching imagination of complicated stratagems—nor witty nor, above all, endowed with a sense of humor. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near witty

wittol

witty

witwall

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Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Witty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witty. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for witty

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

More from Merriam-Webster on witty

Nglish: Translation of witty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of witty for Arabic Speakers

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