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 wittily (audio) \ adverb
wittiness \ ˈwi-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce wittiness (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 And even though much of the chit-chat has been pre-planned, as is customary with talk shows, Singh is still witty. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "Lilly Singh’s Late-Night Challenge," 5 Oct. 2019 But the deep, resonant, and even witty, Irishman depicts the sociopathic underpinnings and damage of that life from the start…. The Irishman is more than a trick of nostalgia. James Hibberd, EW.com, "The Irishman reviews: 'Phenomenal' film scores 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes," 28 Sep. 2019 Fuller’s friends described him as playful, wise, witty and vibrant, a wonderful singer. Washington Post, "In the face of death, the party of a lifetime," 26 Aug. 2019 Fuller’s friends described him as playful, wise, witty and vibrant, a wonderful singer. Gene Johnson, SFChronicle.com, "Terminal cancer patient ends suffering on his terms," 26 Aug. 2019 Despite its 150 years, Alcott’s most famous work, Little Women (along with its sequel, Good Wives), remains spry and witty. Sarah Schutte, National Review, "Louisa May Alcott: A Writer for All Ages," 22 Aug. 2019 Sue was generous, kind, accepting, selfless, adventurous, and witty. courant.com, "Sue Elizabeth Fuller," 11 Aug. 2019 Fleishman Is in Trouble turns the divorce novel plot on its head Early on, Fleishman Is In Trouble reads like a standard contemporary divorce novel, albeit a witty and nicely written one. Constance Grady, Vox, "Fleishman Is in Trouble makes you care about its women by hiding them in plain sight," 3 July 2019 Works by artist Sammy Slabbinck have been commissioned to accompany the jewels, and these witty collages further enhance your viewing pleasure. Vogue, "Dover Street Market Presents a Curated Selection of Exquisite Vintage Jewels From Sotheby’s," 6 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for witty

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for witty

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on witty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for witty

Spanish Central: Translation of witty

Nglish: Translation of witty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of witty for Arabic Speakers

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