- The definition of wit is good sense, or powers of thinking, or a quick sense of humor.
- If you are left in a wilderness and have to survive on your own, this is an example of when you survive on yourwit.
- When you are clever and always able to make a funny quick comeback, this is an example ofwit.
- Obsolete the mind
- powers of thinking and reasoning; intellectual and perceptive powers
- mental faculties with respect to their state of balance, esp. in their normal condition of sanity
- alert, practical intelligence; good sense
- the ability to make lively, clever remarks in a sharp, amusing way
- the ability to perceive incongruous relationships and express them in a surprising or epigrammatic manner
- a person characterized by wit
- writing or speech expressing wit; esp., any clever disparagement or raillery
- Archaic intellect; reason
Origin of witMiddle English ; from Old English akin to German witz: for Indo-European base see wise
at one's wits' end
keep one's wits about oneor have one's wits about one
live by one's wits
- a. The natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence.b. often wits Practical intelligence; shrewdness or resourcefulness: living by one's wits.c. wits Sound mental faculties; sanity: scared out of my wits.
- a. The ability to express oneself intelligently in a playful or humorous manner, often in overturning audience expectations: a writer with a scintillating wit.b. A person noted for this ability, especially in conversation: “My mother, the family wit and teaser, knew better than to joke about the disaster” (Donald Hall).c. Intelligent playfulness or humor in expression, as in speech, writing, or art: novels known for their wit and inventiveness.d. A person of exceptional intelligence.
Origin of witMiddle English, from Old English; see weid- in Indo-European roots.
verbwist wist , wit·ting , first and third person singular present tense wot Archaic
Origin of witMiddle English, from Old English witan; see weid- in Indo-European roots.
- (now usually in the plural) Sanity.
- He's gone completely out of his wits.
- Intellectual ability; faculty of thinking, reasoning.
- Where she has gone to is beyond the wit of man to say.
- The ability to think quickly; mental cleverness, especially under short time constraints.
- My father had a quick wit and a steady hand.
- Intelligence; common sense.
- The opportunity was right in front of you, and you didn't even have the wit to take it!
- Spoken humour, especially when clever or quick.
- The best man's speech was hilarious, full of wit and charm.
- A person who tells funny anecdotes or jokes; someone witty.
- Your friend is quite a wit, isn't he?
From Middle English, from Old English witt (“understanding, intellect, sense, knowledge, consciousness, conscience”), from Proto-Germanic *witją (“knowledge, reason”), from Proto-Indo-European *weyd-, *wid- (“see, know”). Cognate with Dutch weet, German Witz, Danish vid, Swedish vett, Gothic (unwiti, “ignorance”), Latin videō (“see”). Compare wise.
(see below for this verb’s conjugation)
- As a preterite-present verb, the third-person singular indicative form is not wits but wot; the plural indicative forms conform to the infinitive: we wit, ye wit, they wit.
From Old English witan, from Proto-Germanic *witaną, from Proto-Indo-European *weyd-, *wid- (“see, know”). Cognate with Dutch weten, German wissen, Swedish veta, and Latin videō (“I see”). Compare guide.
- (Southern American English) Alternative spelling of with.
- (hunting, Australia) waterfowl identification test