twit

1
[twit]
verb (used with object), twit·ted, twit·ting.
  1. to taunt, tease, ridicule, etc., with reference to anything embarrassing; gibe at.
  2. to reproach or upbraid.
noun
  1. an act of twitting.
  2. a derisive reproach; taunt; gibe.

Origin of twit

1
1520–30; aphetic variant of obsolete atwite, Middle English atwiten, Old English ætwītan to taunt, equivalent to æt- at1 + wītan to blame
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for twitting

Historical Examples of twitting


British Dictionary definitions for twitting

twit

1
verb twits, twitting or twitted
  1. (tr) to tease, taunt, or reproach, often in jest
noun
  1. US and Canadian informal a nervous or excitable state
  2. rare a reproach; taunt

Word Origin for twit

Old English ætwītan, from æt against + wītan to accuse; related to Old High German wīzan to punish

twit

2
noun
  1. informal, mainly British a foolish or stupid person; idiot

Word Origin for twit

C19: from twit 1 (originally in the sense: a person given to twitting)
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 twitting

twit

v.

1520s, shortened form of atwite, from Old English ætwitan "to blame, reproach," from æt "at" + witan "to blame," from Proto-Germanic *witanan (cf. Old English wite, Old Saxon witi, Old Norse viti "punishment, torture;" Old High German wizzi "punishment," wizan "to punish;" Dutch verwijten, Old High German firwizan, German verweisen "to reproach, reprove," Gothic fraweitan "to avenge"), from PIE root *weid- "to see" (see vision). For sense evolution, cf. Latin animadvertere, literally "to give heed to, observe," later "to chastise, censure, punish."

twit

n.

"foolish, stupid and ineffectual person," 1934, British slang, popular 1950s-60s, crossed over to U.S. with British sitcoms. It probably developed from twit (v.) in the sense of "reproach," but it may be influenced by nitwit.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper