from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Sports A quick thrust given after parrying an opponent's lunge in fencing.
  • noun A retaliatory action, maneuver, or retort.
  • intransitive verb To make a return thrust.
  • intransitive verb To retort quickly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In fencing, a quick, short thrust by a swordsman after parrying a lunge from his opponent: usually given without moving from the spot, before the opponent has time to recover his position or guard.
  • noun Hence A quick, smart reply; a repartee.
  • To make a quick, smart reply or repartee.

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

  • noun fencing a thrust given in return after parrying an attack.
  • noun a quick and usually witty response to a taunt, a retort
  • noun an answer or reply, rapidly uttered, in response to a question or problem
  • verb fencing to attempt to hit an opponent after parrying an attack.
  • verb to respond quickly; particularly if the response is humorous.

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

  • verb answer back
  • noun (fencing) a counterattack made immediately after successfully parrying the opponents lunge
  • verb make a return thrust
  • noun a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one)


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

[French, alteration of obsolete risposte, from Italian risposta, answer, from feminine past participle of rispondere, to answer, from Latin respondēre; see respond.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French riposte, taken from Italian risposta, a derivative of the verb rispondere, "to respond".


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  • In fencing, an attack performed immediately after a parry.

    February 6, 2007

  • To be followed, if I'm not mistaken, by a remise or a reprise, in turn met with a redouble. And I could swear the counter-riposte, and the counter-counter-riposte, have their place as well. But I'm often wrong.

    September 15, 2008

  • I like riposte, but what's the word for a counterattack executed *in anticipation* of a (usually telegraphed) attack? Think in NES Punch Out, where some opponents will rear back for a haymaker, and the proper response is a quick jab in that moment of vulnerability. It's not just a boxing term, but also a good metaphor. This one has been nagging at me. Help!

    April 16, 2010

  • A preempt? By analogy to the term used by bridge players.

    April 16, 2010

  • preemptive strike is the term, but it's not especially clever is it?

    April 17, 2010