from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence.
- n. Keenness and quickness of perception or discernment; ingenuity. Often used in the plural: living by one's wits.
- n. Sound mental faculties; sanity: scared out of my wits.
- n. The ability to perceive and express in an ingeniously humorous manner the relationship between seemingly incongruous or disparate things.
- n. One noted for this ability, especially one skilled in repartee.
- n. A person of exceptional intelligence.
- idiom at (one's) wits' end At the limit of one's mental resources; utterly at a loss.
- idiom have To remain alert or calm, especially in a crisis.
- transitive v. To be or become aware of; learn.
- intransitive v. To know.
- idiom to wit That is to say; namely.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Sanity.
- n. The senses.
- n. Intellectual ability; faculty of thinking, reasoning.
- n. The ability to think quickly; mental cleverness, especially under short time constraints.
- n. Intelligence; common sense.
- n. Spoken humour, especially when clever or quick.
- n. A person who tells funny anecdotes or jokes; someone witty.
- v. Know, be aware of (construed with of when used intransitively).
- prep. Alternative spelling of with.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- v. To know; to learn.
- n. Mind; intellect; understanding; sense.
- n. A mental faculty, or power of the mind; -- used in this sense chiefly in the plural, and in certain phrases.
- n. Felicitous association of objects not usually connected, so as to produce a pleasant surprise; also. the power of readily combining objects in such a manner.
- n. A person of eminent sense or knowledge; a man of genius, fancy, or humor; one distinguished for bright or amusing sayings, for repartee, and the like.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To know; be or become aware: used with or without an object, the object when present often being a clause or statement.
- Preterit tense: I, etc., wist (erroneously wotted).
- Infinitive: wit (to wit); hence, to do to wit, to cause (one) to know.
- [The phrase to wit is now used chiefly to call attention to some particular, or as introductory to a detailed statement of what has been just before mentioned generally, and is equivalent to ‘namely,’ ‘that is to say’: as, there were three present—to wit, Mr. Brown. Mr. Green, and Mr. Black.
- Present participle: witting, sometimes weeting (erroneously wotting). Compare unwitting.
- Past participle: wist.
- n. Knowledge; wisdom; intelligence; sagacity; judgment; sense.
- n. Mind; understanding; intellect; reason; in the plural, the faculties or powers of the mind or intellect; senses: as, to be out of one's wits; he has all his wits about him.
- n. Knowledge; information.
- n. Ingenuity; skill.
- n. Imagination; the imaginative faculty.
- n. The keen perception and apt expression of those connections between ideas which awaken pleasure and especially amusement. See the quotations and the synonyms.
- n. Conceit; idea; thought; design; scheme; plan.
- n. =Syn.6. Wit, Humor. In writers down to the time of Pope wit generally meant the serious kind of wit.
- n. In more recent use wit in the singular generally implies comic wit; in that sense it is different from humor. One principal difference is that wit always lies in some form of words, while humor may be expressed by manner, as a smile, a grimace, an attitude. Underlying this is the fact, consistent with the original meaning of the words, that humor goes more deeply into the nature of the thought, while wit catches pleasing but occult or farfetched resemblances between things really unlike: a good pun shows wit; Iiving's “History of New York” is a piece of sustained humor, the humor lying in the portrayal of character, the nature of the incidents, etc. Again, “Wit may, I think, be regarded as a purely intellectual process, while humor is a sense of the ridiculous controlled by feeling, and coexistent often with the gentlest and deepest pathos” (H. Reed, Lects. on Eng. Lit., xi. 357). Hence humor is always kind, while wit may be unkind in the extreme: Swift's “Travels of Gulliver” is much too severe a satire to be called a work of humor. It is essential to the effect of wit that the form in which it is expressed should be brief; humor may be heightened in its effect by expansion into full forms of statement, description, etc Wit more often than humor depends upon passing circumstances for its effect.
- n. One who has discernment, reason, or judgment; a person of acute perception; especially, one who detects between associated ideas the finer resemblances or contrasts which give pleasure or enjoyment to the mind, and who gives expression to these for the entertainment of others; often, a person who has a keen perception of the incongruous or ludicrous, and uses it for the amusement and frequently at the expense of others.
- To play the wit; be witty: with an indefinite it.
- See wite.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter
- n. a witty amusing person who makes jokes
- n. mental ability
Middle English, from Old English.
Middle English, from Old English witan.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English witt ("understanding, intellect, sense, knowledge, consciousness, conscience"), from Proto-Germanic *witjan (“knowledge, reason”), from Proto-Indo-European *weyd-, *wid- (“see, know”). Cognate with Dutch weet, German Witz, Danish vid, Swedish vett, Gothic 𐌿𐌽𐍅𐌹𐍄𐌹 (unwiti, "ignorance"), Latin videō ("see"). Compare wise. (Wiktionary)
From Old English witan, from Proto-Germanic *witanan, from Proto-Indo-European *weyd-, *wid- (“see, know”). Cognate with Dutch weten, German wissen, Swedish veta, and Latin videō ("I see"). Compare guide. (Wiktionary)
From English with. (Wiktionary)