from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A swift, witty reply.
  • n. Conversation marked by the exchange of witty retorts. See Synonyms at wit1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A swift, witty reply, especially the one that is amusing.
  • n. A conversation marked by a series of witty retorts.
  • v. To reply with a repartee
  • v. To have a repartee (conversation marked by repartees)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A smart, ready, and witty reply.
  • intransitive v. To make smart and witty replies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make ready and witty replies.
  • n. A ready, pertinent, and witty reply.
  • n. Such replies in general or collectively; the kind of wit involved in making sharp and ready retorts.
  • n. Synonyms Repartee, Retort. A repartee is a witty and good-humored answer to a remark of similar character, and is meant to surpass the latter in wittiness. A retort is a keen, prompt answer. A repartee may be called a retort where the wit is keen. Retort, however, is quite as commonly used for a serious turning back of censure, derision, or the like, in a short and sharp expression.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. adroitness and cleverness in reply


French repartie, from feminine past participle of repartir, to retort, from Old French, to retort, to depart again : re-, re- + partir, to depart (from Latin partīre, to divide, from pars, part-, part; see perə-2 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French repartie, deverbal of repartir ("to retort") (Wiktionary)


Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • JM is enjoying the book on witty repartee ‘Of Human Badinage’.

    August 26, 2011