Synonym Chooser

How does the noun wit differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of wit are humor, irony, repartee, sarcasm, and satire. While all these words mean "a mode of expression intended to arouse amusement," wit suggests the power to evoke laughter by remarks showing verbal felicity or ingenuity and swift perception especially of the incongruous.

a playful wit

When would humor be a good substitute for wit?

The words humor and wit are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, humor implies an ability to perceive the ludicrous, the comical, and the absurd in human life and to express these usually without bitterness.

a sense of humor

When could irony be used to replace wit?

The meanings of irony and wit largely overlap; however, irony applies to a manner of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is seemingly expressed.

the irony of the title

In what contexts can repartee take the place of wit?

In some situations, the words repartee and wit are roughly equivalent. However, repartee implies the power of answering quickly, pointedly, or wittily.

a dinner guest noted for repartee

Where would sarcasm be a reasonable alternative to wit?

The synonyms sarcasm and wit are sometimes interchangeable, but sarcasm applies to expression frequently in the form of irony that is intended to cut or wound.

given to heartless sarcasm

When can satire be used instead of wit?

The words satire and wit can be used in similar contexts, but satire applies to writing that exposes or ridicules conduct, doctrines, or institutions either by direct criticism or more often through irony, parody, or caricature.

a satire on the Congress

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Cite this Entry

“Wit.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/wit. Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

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