American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To reply, especially to answer in a quick, caustic, or witty manner. See Synonyms at answer.
- v. To present a counterargument to.
- v. To return in kind; pay back.
- v. To make a reply, especially a quick, caustic, or witty one.
- v. To present a counterargument.
- 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.
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. Glass retorts are commonly used for distilling liquids, an consist of a flask-shaped vessel, to which a long neck is attached. The liquid to be distilled is placed in the flask, and heat is applied. The products of distillation condense in the cold neck of the retort, and are collected in a suitable receiver. Retorts are sometimes provided with a stopper so placed above the bulb as to permit the introduction of liquids without soiling the neck. The name is also generally given to almost any apparatus in which solid substances, such as coal, wood, or bones, are submitted to destructive distillation, as retorts for producing coal-gas, which vary much both in dimensions and in shape.
- In metallurgy, to separate by means of a retort, as gold from an amalgam. Gold is always obtained in the form of an amalgam in stamping quartz-rock, and frequently, also, in washing auriferous detritus with the sluice. The amalgam is placed in an iron retort, and then heated, when the mercury passes off in vapor and is condensed in a suitable receiver—the gold. always more or less alloyed with silver, remaining behind. See
- n. A sharp or witty reply, or one which turns an argument against its originator; a comeback.
- n. chemistry 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.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To bend or curve back.
- v. To throw back; to reverberate; to reflect.
- v. To return, as an argument, accusation, censure, or incivility.
- 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. (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.
- 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 retorquere 'to be forced to twist back'; re- + -tort (Wiktionary)
- 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)
“Mr. Greg begins with what he calls a retort courteous.”
“The obvious retort is that anyone who signs a mortgage should know whether or not they can afford the monthly payments.”
“Waldo, the only time I have ever said I was Tommy Garrett was pretty damned obvious that I was being sarcastic in retort to your insistence that I was him.”
“If anyone dares to disagree, or question anything the Libs say, their only retort is "you are a racist".”
“You had written in retort, Of course, the prognosis of death is a pretty sure bet … Hell, I could be dead by the time you get this letter.”
“Her only retort is Hillary's faults and Bush's faults.”
“This retort is not Hillary or Obama based, this is from a person who has to listen to a disgusting human such as yourself proclaim to be greater than everyone else.”
“But, I think the right retort is "so freakin what"?”
“Robert's retort is an octave higher and a glass of wine later.”
“Stuck in a building with the ratzis, he and his mate Larry Kendal are outnumbered, when he suggests Kendal should be able to handle 6 or 7 of 'em, the retort is "who do you think I am, Superman?”
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