- to reply to, usually in a sharp or retaliatory way; reply in kind to.
- to return (an accusation, epithet, etc.) upon the person uttering it.
- to answer (an argument or the like) by another to the contrary.
- a severe, incisive, or witty reply, especially one that counters a first speaker's statement, argument, etc.
- the act of retorting.
Origin of retort1
Synonyms for retortSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- a vessel, commonly a glass bulb with a long neck bent downward, used for distilling or decomposing substances by heat.
- a refractory chamber, generally cylindrically shaped, within which some substance, as ore or coal, is heated as part of a smelting or manufacturing process.
- 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.
- a sterilizer for food cans.
- to sterilize food after it is sealed in a container, by steam or other heating methods.
- Chemistry. to subject (shale, ore, etc.) to heat and possibly reduced pressure in order to produce fuel oil, metal, etc.
Origin of retort2
Related Words for retortrejoinder, repartee, quip, rebut, respond, reprisal, gag, jest, wisecrack, jape, lip, crack, reply, return, revenge, witticism, comeback, sally, response, cooler
Examples from the Web for retort
Contemporary Examples of retort
Here's a Boehner retort to Sean Hannity (via Buzzfeed's Rebecca Berg).Why I Love John Boehner
March 14, 2013
The retort will come from our comrades on the right that his business experience matters more than governmental experience.Mr. Inexperienced
August 9, 2012
Conservatives will retort, "This just means you simpletons don't understand high finance."Bain in the Light of Day
July 13, 2012
And the retort, damning as it is unassailable, is simply this: 46 days.What Got George Zimmerman Charged With Second-Degree Murder
April 12, 2012
Before she had time to think of a retort, Linda saw Tania beckoning her.Inside Tania Head’s Terrible 9/11 Lie: ‘The Woman Who Wasn’t There’
Robin Gaby Fisher, Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr.
April 6, 2012
Historical Examples of retort
Her raillery, like the raillery of princes, was without fear of retort.Tales And Novels, Volume 4 (of 10)
Kirkwood's smile robbed the retort of any flavor of incivility.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
Mr Pecksniff was, as a matter of course, greatly entertained by this retort.Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
I dared not retort, but I looked so hard at his paunch that the General smiled.The Cavalier
George Washington Cable
Karl had not the subtlety to retort, “Ay, but does it say what we like?”The First Violin
- (when tr, takes a clause as object) to utter (something) quickly, sharply, wittily, or angrily, in response
- to use (an argument) against its originator; turn the tables by saying (something)
- a sharp, angry, or witty reply
- an argument used against its originator
Word Origin for retort
- a glass vessel with a round bulb and long tapering neck that is bent down, used esp in a laboratory for distillation
- 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
- (tr) to heat in a retort
Word Origin for retort
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.
"act of retorting," c.1600, from retort (v.).
"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.)).
- A closed laboratory vessel with an outlet tube, used for distillation, sublimation, or decomposition by heat.
- 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.