- 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.
- Obs. 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 OE, akin to German witz: for Indo-European base see wise
at one's wits' end
keep one's wits about one
live by one's wits
intransitive verbwist, wit′ting
Origin of witMiddle English witen from Old English witan, to know: see wise
- 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, 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 *witjÄ… (“knowledge, reason"), from Proto-Indo-European *weyd-, *wid- (“see, know"). Cognate with Dutch weet, German Witz, Danish vid, Swedish vett, Gothic ðŒ¿ðŒ½ð…ðŒ¹ð„ðŒ¹ (unwiti, “ignorance"), Latin videÅ (“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 *witanÄ…, from Proto-Indo-European *weyd-, *wid- (“see, know"). Cognate with Dutch weten, German wissen, Swedish veta, and Latin videÅ (“I see"). Compare guide.
- (Southern American English) Alternative spelling of with.
- (hunting, Australia) waterfowl identification test
wit. or wit