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retort1

[ri-tawrt]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to reply to, usually in a sharp or retaliatory way; reply in kind to.
  2. to return (an accusation, epithet, etc.) upon the person uttering it.
  3. to answer (an argument or the like) by another to the contrary.
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noun
  1. a severe, incisive, or witty reply, especially one that counters a first speaker's statement, argument, etc.
  2. the act of retorting.
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Origin of retort1

1590–1600; < Latin retortus (past participle of retorquēre to bend back), equivalent to re- re- + torqu(ēre) to twist, bend + -tus past participle suffix, with -qut- > -t-
Related formsre·tort·er, noun

Synonyms

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1. retaliate. 4. riposte, rejoinder, response.

Synonym study

4. See answer.

retort2

[ri-tawrt]
noun
  1. Chemistry.
    1. a vessel, commonly a glass bulb with a long neck bent downward, used for distilling or decomposing substances by heat.
    2. a refractory chamber, generally cylindrically shaped, within which some substance, as ore or coal, is heated as part of a smelting or manufacturing process.
    3. an airtight, usually cylindrical vessel of fire clay or iron, used in the destructive distillation chiefly of coal and wood in the manufacture of illuminating gas.
  2. a sterilizer for food cans.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to sterilize food after it is sealed in a container, by steam or other heating methods.
  2. Chemistry. to subject (shale, ore, etc.) to heat and possibly reduced pressure in order to produce fuel oil, metal, etc.
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Origin of retort2

1550–60; < Middle French retorte < Medieval Latin retorta, noun use of feminine of Latin retortus; see retort1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for retort

retort1

verb
  1. (when tr, takes a clause as object) to utter (something) quickly, sharply, wittily, or angrily, in response
  2. to use (an argument) against its originator; turn the tables by saying (something)
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noun
  1. a sharp, angry, or witty reply
  2. an argument used against its originator
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Derived Formsretorter, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin retorquēre to twist back, from re- + torquēre to twist, wrench

retort2

noun
  1. a glass vessel with a round bulb and long tapering neck that is bent down, used esp in a laboratory for distillation
  2. a vessel in which large quantities of material may be heated, esp one used for heating ores in the production of metals or heating coal to produce gas
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verb
  1. (tr) to heat in a retort
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Word Origin

C17: from French retorte, from Medieval Latin retorta, from Latin retorquēre to twist back; see retort 1
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

Word Origin and History for retort

v.

1550s, "make return in kind" (especially of an injury), from Old French retort and directly from Latin retortus, past participle of retorquere "turn back, twist back, throw back," from re- "back" (see re-) + torquere "to twist" (see thwart). Applied to exchanges of jest or sarcasm by c.1600, hence "say or utter sharply and aggressively in reply" (1620s). Related: Retorted; retorting.

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n.1

"act of retorting," c.1600, from retort (v.).

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n.2

"vessel used in chemistry for distilling or effecting decomposition by the aid of heat," c.1600, from Middle French retorte, from Medieval Latin *retorta "a retort, a vessel with a bent neck," literally "a thing bent or twisted," from past participle stem of Latin retorquere (see retort (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

retort in Medicine

retort

(rĭ-tôrt, rētôrt′)
n.
  1. A closed laboratory vessel with an outlet tube, used for distillation, sublimation, or decomposition by heat.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

retort in Science

retort

[rĭ-tôrt, rē-]
  1. A glass laboratory vessel in the shape of a bulb with a long, downward-pointing outlet tube. It is used for distillation or decomposition by heat.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.