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 Nothing else witty to say just dizzy with gratitude that GOLD DIGGERS found its way to a team that believes in it! NBC News, "How a new take on teenage rebellion caught Mindy Kaling's interest," 9 Apr. 2021 Whom, then, will this wise, witty, enriching book embarrass? Stefan Beck, Washington Examiner, "If the truth is obvious, why don't we agree?," 1 Apr. 2021 Bacilio was witty, charming and had an expansive knowledge of different fields. AZCentral.com, "Help support local journalism like this," 11 Mar. 2021 Her book is funny — weird and witty and off-kilter in its delivery. Will Mcgrath, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Sound Like Trapped Thunder,' by Jessica Lind Peterson," 2 Apr. 2021 Sanders’s dexterous hosting means Cuddle Club ranges from sweet to profound to dry and witty or even delightfully ridiculous. Alejandra Gularte, Vulture, "This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Margaret Cho’s Mortal Minority," 1 Apr. 2021 Margaret, four years younger than her sister, was the enfant terrible, charming, witty and outrageous, with a strong competitive streak and need for attention. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, "‘Elizabeth & Margaret’ Review: Royal Salt & Pepper," 25 Mar. 2021 At first glance, Netflix's Ginny & Georgia is bright and fun, a show about a witty and charming mother-daughter duo taking on the world. Martha Sorren, refinery29.com, "Every Song On Ginny & Georgia’s Extensive Season 1 Soundtrack," 25 Feb. 2021 Wolfe, known as a witty theater director, seems lost cinematically. Armond White, National Review, "The Fiasco of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom," 1 Jan. 2021

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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Witty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witty. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for witty

witty

adjective

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

Nglish: Translation of witty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of witty for Arabic Speakers

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