Synonyms & Antonyms of retort

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 a quick witty response
  • she responded to the heckler with a scathing but hilarious retort that instantly won over the audience

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2 something spoken or written in reaction especially to a question
  • the salesclerk responded to my query about the price with a brusque retort

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Synonyms & Antonyms of retort (Entry 2 of 2)

to speak or write in reaction to a question or to another reaction
  • when told she couldn't have it, she retorted, "Fine, I didn't want it anyway!"

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answer, response, reply, rejoinder, retort mean something spoken, written, or done in return. answer implies the satisfying of a question, demand, call, or need. had answers to all their questions response may imply a quick or spontaneous reaction to a person or thing that serves as a stimulus. a response to the call for recruits reply often suggests a thorough response to all issues, points, or questions raised. a point-by-point reply to the accusation rejoinder can be a response to a reply or to an objection. a salesman with a quick rejoinder to every argument retort implies a reaction to an implicit or explicit charge, criticism, or attack which contains a countercharge or counterattack. she made a cutting retort to her critics

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Time Traveler for retort

Time Traveler

The first known use of retort was circa 1505

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Cite this Entry

“Retort.” The Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More from Merriam-Webster on retort

Dictionary: Definition of retort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with retort

Medical Dictionary: Definition of retort

Spanish Central: Translation of retort

Nglish: Translation of retort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of retort for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about retort

Comments on retort

What made you want to look up retort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to constrict the range or activity of

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