retort

1
[ ri-tawrt ]
/ rɪˈtɔrt /

verb (used with object)

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.

noun

a severe, incisive, or witty reply, especially one that counters a first speaker's statement, argument, etc.
the act of retorting.

Origin of retort

1
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

Synonym study

4. See answer.

Definition for retort (2 of 2)

retort

2
[ ri-tawrt ]
/ rɪˈtɔrt /

noun

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.
a sterilizer for food cans.

verb (used with object)

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 retort

2
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for retort

British Dictionary definitions for retort (1 of 2)

retort

1
/ (rɪˈtɔːt) /

verb

(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)

noun

a sharp, angry, or witty reply
an argument used against its originator
Derived Formsretorter, noun

Word Origin for retort

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

British Dictionary definitions for retort (2 of 2)

retort

2
/ (rɪˈtɔːt) /

noun

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

verb

(tr) to heat in a retort

Word Origin for retort

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

Medicine definitions for retort

retort

[ rĭ-tôrt, rētôrt′ ]

n.

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

Science definitions for retort

retort

[ rĭ-tôrt, rē- ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.