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[rep-er-tee, -tey, -ahr-] /ˌrɛp ərˈti, -ˈteɪ, -ɑr-/
a quick, witty reply.
conversation full of such replies.
skill in making such replies.
Origin of repartee
1635-45; < French repartie retort, noun use of feminine past participle of repartir, Middle French, equivalent to re- re- + partir to part
2. banter, sparring, fencing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for repartee
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They went on, repartee after repartee, as if inspired by each other's spirits.

  • He was quick at repartee, and his observations were gentle but pertinent.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • From the first, Alfred says, the old chap's only repartee was, 'You wait and you'll see!'

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • Yet he returned to earth long enough to indulge in a mild bit of repartee.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Egon gave a laugh at his own repartee, but the Chancellor heard neither.

    The Princess Virginia C. N. Williamson
  • And Rickards had to wipe his eyes as he laughed at the repartee.

    Luttrell Of Arran Charles James Lever
  • "You are always prepared to sacrifice your principles for a repartee," he answered.

    The Moon and Sixpence W. Somerset Maugham
  • The three ladies were in high spirits and prompt at repartee.

    The Child of Pleasure Gabriele D'Annunzio
British Dictionary definitions for repartee


a sharp, witty, or aphoristic remark made as a reply
terse rapid conversation consisting of such remarks
skill in making sharp witty replies or conversation
Word Origin
C17: from French repartie, from repartir to retort, from re- + partir to go away
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for repartee

1640s, "quick remark," from French repartie "an answering blow or thrust" (originally a fencing term), noun use of fem. past participle of Old French repartir "to reply promptly, start out again," from re- "back" (see re-) + partir "to part, depart, start" (see part (n.)). In 17c. often spelled reparty (see -ee). Meaning "a series of sharp rejoinders exchanged" is from 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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