• synonyms


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.
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  1. an act of twitting.
  2. a derisive reproach; taunt; gibe.
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Origin of twit1

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

Related Words

rag, laugh, deride, jest, takeoff, rally, jolly, rib, caricature, jape, josh, quiz, lampoon, haze, travesty, pan, scorn, humiliate, pooh-pooh, banter

Examples from the Web for twitting

Historical Examples

  • Now they regained their sway over him by twitting him about being afraid of his wife.


    Emile Zola

  • It was laughable to hear them twitting each other about vacating their quarters.

  • Certain of these were for ever twitting him publicly of his creed, race, and foibles.

    Dumas' Paris

    Francis Miltoun

  • In 1804 Beethoven wrote him a twitting allusion to these girls.

  • It seemed so like twitting a person on facts, when I came to think about it.

    The Booming of Acre Hill

    John Kendrick Bangs

British Dictionary definitions for twitting


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

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


  1. informal, mainly British a foolish or stupid person; idiot
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Word Origin

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



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."

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"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper