from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To reply, especially to answer in a quick, caustic, or witty manner. See Synonyms at answer.
- transitive v. To present a counterargument to.
- transitive v. To return in kind; pay back.
- intransitive v. To make a reply, especially a quick, caustic, or witty one.
- intransitive v. To present a counterargument.
- intransitive v. To return like for like; retaliate.
- n. A quick incisive reply, especially one that turns the first speaker's words to his or her own disadvantage.
- n. The act or an instance of retorting.
- n. A closed laboratory vessel with an outlet tube, used for distillation, sublimation, or decomposition by heat.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A sharp or witty reply, or one which turns an argument against its originator; a comeback.
- n. A flask with a rounded base and a long neck that is bent down and tapered, used to heat a liquid for distillation.
- n. A container in which material is subjected to high temperatures as part of an industrial manufacturing process, especially during the smelting and forging of metal.
- v. To say something sharp or witty in answer to a remark or accusation.
- v. To make a remark which reverses an argument upon its originator.
- v. To heat in a retort.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To bend or curve back.
- transitive v. To throw back; to reverberate; to reflect.
- transitive v. To return, as an argument, accusation, censure, or incivility.
- intransitive v. To return an argument or a charge; to make a severe reply.
- n. The return of, or reply to, an argument, charge, censure, incivility, taunt, or witticism; a quick and witty or severe response.
- n. A vessel in which substances are subjected to distillation or decomposition by heat. It is made of different forms and materials for different uses, as a bulb of glass with a curved beak to enter a receiver for general chemical operations, or a cylinder or semicylinder of cast iron for the manufacture of gas in gas works.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To twist back; bend back by twisting or curving; turn back.
- To throw back; specifically, to reflect.
- To cast back; reject; refuse to accept or grant.
- To return; turn back or repel, as an argument, accusation, manner of treatment, etc., upon the originator; retaliate: rarely applied to the return of kindness or civility.
- To reply resentfully.
- To curve, twist, or coil back.
- To retaliate; turn back an argument, accusation, or manner of treatment upon the originator; especially, to make a resentful reply; respond in a spirit of retaliation.
- To return.
- n. The act of retorting; the repelling of an argument, accusation, or incivility; hence, that which is retorted; a retaliatory act or remark; especially, a sharp or witty rejoinder; a repartee.
- n. Synonyms See repartee.
- n. In chem. and the arts, a vessel of glass, earthenware, metal, etc., employed for the purpose of distilling or effecting decomposition by the aid of heat.
- In metallurgy, to separate by means of a retort, as gold from an amalgam.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one)
- v. answer back
- n. a vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat
Latin retorquēre, retort-, to bend back, retort : re-, re- + torquēre, to bend, twist.
French retorte, from Medieval Latin retorta, from feminine of Latin retortus, past participle of retorquēre, to bend back; see retort.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin retorquere 'to be forced to twist back'; re- + -tort (Wiktionary)