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wit

wit


wit 1  (wt)
n.
1. The natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence.
2.
a. Keenness and quickness of perception or discernment; ingenuity. Often used in the plural: living by ones wits.
b. wits Sound mental faculties; sanity: scared out of my wits.
3.
a. The ability to perceive and express in an ingeniously humorous manner the relationship between seemingly incongruous or disparate things.
b. One noted for this ability, especially one skilled in repartee.
c. A person of exceptional intelligence.
Idioms:
at (ones) wits end
At the limit of ones mental resources; utterly at a loss.
have/keep (ones) wits about (one)
To remain alert or calm, especially in a crisis.

[Middle English, from Old English; see weid- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: wit1, humor, repartee, sarcasm, irony
These nouns denote forms of expression that elicit amusement or laughter. Wit implies intellectual keenness and the ability to perceive and express in a diverting way analogies between dissimilar things: Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words (Dorothy Parker).
Humor suggests the faculty of recognizing what is amusing, comical, incongruous, or absurd: Mans sense of humor seems to be in inverse proportion to the gravity of his profession (Mary Roberts Rinehart).
Repartee implies a facility for answering swiftly and cleverly: framing comments ... that would be sure to sting and yet leave no opening for repartee (H.G. Wells).
Sarcasm is a form of caustic wit intended to wound or ridicule another: [His] tone seemed as if meant to be kind and soothing, but yet had a bitterness of sarcasm in it (Nathaniel Hawthorne).
Irony is a form of expression in which an intended meaning is the opposite of the literal meaning of the words used: A drayman in a passion [a rage] calls out, You are a pretty fellow, without suspecting that he is uttering irony (Thomas Macaulay). See Also Synonyms at mind.

wit 2  (wt)
v. wist (wst), wit·ting (wtng), first and third person singular present tense wot (wt) Archaic
v.tr.
To be or become aware of; learn.
v.intr.
To know.
Idiom:
to wit
That is to say; namely.

[Middle English, from Old English witan; see weid- in Indo-European roots.]


wit  /wt/  n. 1 [C;U] intelligence, (syn.) acumen: She has a keen wit and understands quickly. 2 [U] an intelligent sense of humor: He has a quick wit and makes funny comments on things. 3 [C] an intelligent and amusing person: She is a wit who writes funny plays. 4 to be at ones wits end: to be frustrated or in despair: Her son keeps getting into trouble, and she is at her wits end about what to do. 5 to keep or have ones wits about one: to think quickly in a difficult situation: She kept her wits about her when her bag was stolen, and she screamed for a policeman nearby. See: dimwit; quick-witted. wit

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