[ rep-er-tee, -tey, -ahr- ]
/ ˌrɛp ərˈti, -ˈteɪ, -ɑr- /


a quick, witty reply.
conversation full of such replies.
skill in making such replies.

Nearby words

  1. reparations,
  2. reparative,
  3. reparative dentin,
  4. reparatory,
  5. repart,
  6. repartition,
  7. repass,
  8. repassage,
  9. repast,
  10. repatriate

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for repartee

British Dictionary definitions for repartee


/ (ˌrɛpɑːˈtiː) /


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 for repartee

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

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