- powers of intelligent observation, keen perception, ingenious contrivance, or the like; mental acuity, composure, and resourcefulness: using one's wits to get ahead.
- mental faculties; senses: to lose one's wits; frightened out of one's wits.
Origin of wit1
verb (used with or without object), present singular 1st person wot, 2nd wost, 3rd wot, present plural wit or wite; past and past participle wist; present participle wit·ting.
Origin of wit2
Examples from the Web for wit
With twice as many British soldiers, Washington was in for a fiercely competitive battle of wit and strength.The British Royals Reinvade Brooklyn: William and Kate Come Watch Basketball on Historic Battle Site|Justin Jones|December 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
He was renowned for his wit, disarming his critics with unfailing humor.
Renowned livestock specialist and autism advocate Temple Grandin brought her unique intellect and wit to Reddit.The Most Inspiring Bits of Temple Grandin’s Reddit AMA|Emily Shire|November 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Amid our grief we now see that New York had been distracted by flash and wit and cash for too long.
It was a circle of exceptionally bright teenagers who revelled equally in wit and in culture.Why World War I Is at the Heart of ‘Lord of the Rings’|John Garth|July 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I suppose it is a sort of nemesis of wit; the skidding of a wheel in the height of its speed.George Bernard Shaw|Gilbert K. Chesterton
Men of wit and learning employ themselves to celebrate his talents, and to express their approbation of his writings.
In fine, Nosti est au bout de son latin (is at his wit's end, poor devil)!History Of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. VII. (of XXI.)|Thomas Carlyle
The man that marries my Fan has got to have sabe enough to round up a flock of goats—and wit enough to get up in the morning.They of the High Trails|Hamlin Garland
Her beauty, her wit, they were her own; but they had availed her little before her betrothment to Rube.
Word Origin for wit
Word Origin for wit
"mental capacity," Old English wit, more commonly gewit, from Proto-Germanic *witjan (cf. Old Saxon wit, Old Norse vit, Danish vid, Swedish vett, Old Frisian wit, Old High German wizzi "knowledge, understanding, intelligence, mind," German Witz "wit, witticism, joke," Gothic unwiti "ignorance"), from PIE *woid-/*weid-/*wid- "to see," metaphorically "to know" (see vision). Related to Old English witan "to know" (source of wit (v.)). Meaning "ability to make clever remarks in an amusing way" is first recorded 1540s; that of "person of wit or learning" is from late 15c. For nuances of usage, see humor.
A witty saying proves nothing. [Voltaire, Diner du Comte de Boulainvilliers]
Wit ought to be five or six degrees above the ideas that form the intelligence of an audience. [Stendhal, "Life of Henry Brulard"]
"know," Old English witan "to know," from Proto-Germanic *witanan "to have seen," hence "to know" (cf. Old Saxon witan, Old Norse vita, Old Frisian wita, Middle Dutch, Dutch weten, Old High German wizzan, German wissen, Gothic witan "to know"); see wit (n.). The phrase to wit, almost the only surviving use of the verb, is first recorded 1570s, from earlier that is to wit (mid-14c.), probably a loan-translation of Anglo-French cestasavoir, used to render Latin videlicet (see viz.).
see at one's wit's end; have one's wits about one; live by one's wits; scare out of one's wits; to wit.