wit

1
[ wit ]
/ wɪt /

noun

the keen perception and cleverly apt expression of those connections between ideas that awaken amusement and pleasure.
speech or writing showing such perception and expression.
a person having or noted for such perception and expression.
understanding, intelligence, or sagacity; astuteness.
Usually wits.
  1. powers of intelligent observation, keen perception, ingenious contrivance, or the like; mental acuity, composure, and resourcefulness: using one's wits to get ahead.
  2. mental faculties; senses: to lose one's wits; frightened out of one's wits.

Nearby words

  1. wister, owen,
  2. wisteria,
  3. wistful,
  4. wistfully,
  5. wisła,
  6. witan,
  7. witblits,
  8. witch,
  9. witch alder,
  10. witch ball

Idioms

Origin of wit

1
before 900; Middle English, Old English: mind, thought; cognate with German Witz, Old Norse vit; akin to wit2

Can be confusedwhit wit

Synonym study

Humor, wit refer to an ability to perceive and express a sense of the clever or amusing. Humor consists principally in the recognition and expression of incongruities or peculiarities present in a situation or character. It is frequently used to illustrate some fundamental absurdity in human nature or conduct, and is generally thought of as more kindly than wit: a genial and mellow type of humor; his biting wit. Wit is a purely intellectual manifestation of cleverness and quickness of apprehension in discovering analogies between things really unlike, and expressing them in brief, diverting, and often sharp observations or remarks.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wits


British Dictionary definitions for wits

wits

/ (wɪts) /

pl n

(sometimes singular) the ability to reason and act, esp quickly (esp in the phrase have one's wits about one)
(sometimes singular) right mind, sanity (esp in the phrase out of one's wits)
at one's wits' end at a loss to know how to proceed
five wits obsolete the five senses or mental faculties
live by one's wits to gain a livelihood by craftiness and cunning rather than by hard work

Wits

/ (wɪts) /

noun

Southern African informal University of the Witwatersrand

wit

1
/ (wɪt) /

noun

See also wits

Word Origin for wit

Old English witt; related to Old Saxon giwitt, Old High German wizzi (German Witz), Old Norse vit, Gothic witi. See wit ²

wit

2
/ (wɪt) /

verb

archaic to be or become aware of (something)

adverb

to wit that is to say; namely (used to introduce statements, as in legal documents)

Word Origin for wit

Old English witan; related to Old High German wizzan (German wissen), Old Norse vita, Latin vidēre to see

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 wits
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wits

wit

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.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.