- 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
- 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 Wordsrejoinder, repartee, quip, rebut, respond, reprisal, gag, jest, wisecrack, jape, lip, crack, reply, return, revenge, witticism, comeback, sally, response, cooler
Examples from the Web for retorting
I heard him retorting, as he assisted me to doff my doublet.Bardelys the Magnificent
The result of the "clean up" and retorting was $1,000 worth of shining gold.A Gold Hunter's Experience
Chalkley J. Hambleton
Then, he was trying not to be too contentious, but was irritated into retorting.The Trail of the Hawk
The Monk did not fall into the jocular trap by retorting in the same strain.The Short Works of George Meredith
She was on the verge of retorting to him, but she restrained herself.The Narrow House
- (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
- 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 and History for retorting
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.