- 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
Examples from the Web for wits
And when rappers battle one another with their wits and words, it is similar to the bam-pow!Bam! Pow! Bling! Hip-Hop's History Gets the Graphic Novel Treatment|Daniel Genis|August 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
She is routinely dismissed by Madrid wits as “a Danish tart.”
But rather than scare people out of their wits, they served as a moment of much-needed comic relief for many.Israel, Hamas, WhatsApp and Hacked Phones in the Gaza Psy-War|Itay Hod|July 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
As a result, Tallulah found herself hailed as one of the wits of Manhattan, and she worked hard to make sure the reputation stuck.Tallulah Bankhead: Gay, Drunk and Liberated in an Era of Excess Art|Judith Mackrell|January 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
On the same day, Wits University in Johannesburg held a memorial in its iconic Great Hall.
His mouth hung open in indication of the turmoil in his wits as he waited for her reply.Making People Happy|Thompson Buchanan
I shall not be asked to give a notice of a man so universally known, and one who ranks rather with the humorists than the wits.The Wits and Beaux of Society|Grace Wharton and Philip Wharton
Keep your wits fixed on as much as you can remember of November 6.A Mysterious Disappearance|Gordon Holmes
If a man commit no follies he loses his wits through weariness.The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci|Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky
The adroit and experienced Parliamentarians on the Treasury Bench used all their wits to obtain the necessary delay.Lord Randolph Churchill|Winston Spencer Churchill
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.