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 Whereas Kelsa is witty and upbeat, Khal is self-effacing and timid. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 July 2022 Bearers of this sign are often curious and witty, as well as communicative and youthful – often filling their plates so busyness abounds. Anna Kaufman, USA TODAY, 28 July 2022 Could there be a better farewell to the childhood the birthday person will be leaving behind than a cute and witty card? Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 18 July 2022 Hank Goldberg, a prickly, bombastic and witty sports talk radio and television personality in Miami who became nationally known for handicapping horse races and N.F.L. games on ESPN, died on Monday, his 82nd birthday, at his home in Las Vegas. New York Times, 9 July 2022 One of the co-founders leaves; people who followed this individual’s witty but somewhat prophetic insights wonder why. Marie Swift, Forbes, 29 June 2022 The result is a vulnerable and witty film in which its two leads—Thompson and Peaky Blinders actor Daryl McCormack—sparkle. Amy Mackelden, ELLE, 18 June 2022 Now, his signature sound will be taking on a new role at Days Inn delivering witty, uplifting affirmations, from complimenting pajama selection to a sweet serenade to start the day. Ali Wunderman, Forbes, 21 June 2022 The dancers strike standing or seated attitudes and walk away from each other, presenting a situation witty, eerie and pleasantly puzzling. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, 17 June 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

15 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Witty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witty. Accessed 17 Aug. 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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