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

In the surreal coming-of-age tale, set in her native Scottish Highlands, Gillan stars as Liusaidh, a witty, sarcastic girl who's haunted by the suicide of her best friend. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, "Tribeca: Karen Gillan Haunted by Tragedy in Directorial Debut 'The Party's Just Beginning'," 17 Apr. 2018 East of the Las Vegas strip at Sam Boyd Stadium, thousands of women mobilized on Sunday, January 21, donning witty t-shirts and carrying handmade posters for the launch of the Women’s March 2018 rally, Power to the Polls. Sarah Mucha, Teen Vogue, "The Women's March "Power to the Polls" Event in Las Vegas Attracted Thousands," 22 Jan. 2018 This is a smart series that combines slapstick humor and witty dialogue with cutting-edge science and the odd literary reference. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The Orville blends science fiction and science fact into a winning mix," 29 Dec. 2018 These films often feature witty albeit occasionally corny dialogue and strong female characters. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "The 10 Best Fashion Movies That Aren't The Devil Wears Prada," 24 Dec. 2018 But The Predator is otherwise short on the witty dialogue and clever plotting that’s become Black’s trademark, especially during the film’s chaotic finale. Keith Phipps, The Verge, "With Predator in theaters, it’s the perfect time to revisit The Monster Squad," 14 Sep. 2018 The show is at once emotional, witty, and edgy, and it's been met with all kinds of positive reviews from casual viewers and critics alike. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "When Will 'Dead to Me' Season 2 Come to Netflix? Here's What We Know So Far," 6 May 2019 Lively’s retort was spotted by the Instagram account Comments by Celebs and after mentioning the witty reply, fans of the actress jumped to her defense and saluted her sharp panache. Julius Young, Fox News, "Blake Lively responds to critic who says she should fire her stylist: 'She won't leave me alone'," 24 Aug. 2018 Self proclaimed 'Batsman' has always been entertaining on Twitter, with his witty replies and posts. SI.com, "6 Big Name Footballers Who Are Definitely Worth Following on Social Media," 28 Apr. 2018

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

14 Jun 2019

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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

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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