from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun Synonyms See repartee.
  • noun 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.
  • 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.
  • In metallurgy, to separate by means of a retort, as gold from an amalgam.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To return an argument or a charge; to make a severe reply.
  • transitive verb To bend or curve back.
  • transitive verb To throw back; to reverberate; to reflect.
  • transitive verb To return, as an argument, accusation, censure, or incivility.
  • noun The return of, or reply to, an argument, charge, censure, incivility, taunt, or witticism; a quick and witty or severe response.
  • noun (Chem. & the Arts) 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.
  • noun (Chem.) a retort having a tubulure for the introduction or removal of the substances which are to be acted upon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A sharp or witty reply, or one which turns an argument against its originator; a comeback.
  • noun chemistry A flask with a rounded base and a long neck that is bent down and tapered, used to heat a liquid for distillation.
  • noun 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.
  • verb To say something sharp or witty in answer to a remark or accusation.
  • verb To make a remark which reverses an argument upon its originator.
  • verb To heat in a retort.

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

  • noun a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one)
  • verb answer back
  • noun a vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin retorquere 'to be forced to twist back'; re- + -tort


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  • Why don't you include an image of a retort?

    June 18, 2009