Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


Wit

Wit

(wĭt)
,
Verb.
T.
&
I.
[
inf.
(To)
Wit
;
pres. sing.
Wot
;
pl.
Wite
;
imp.
Wist(e)
;
p. p.
Wist
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Wit(t)ing
. See the Note below.]
[OE.
witen
, pres.
ich wot
,
wat
, I know (wot), imp.
wiste
, AS.
witan
, pres.
wāt
, imp.
wiste
,
wisse
; akin to OFries.
wita
, OS.
witan
, D.
weten
, G.
wissen
, OHG.
wizzan
, Icel.
vita
, Sw.
veta
, Dan.
vide
, Goth.
witan
to observe,
wait
I know, Russ.
vidiete
to see, L.
videre
, Gr. [GREEK], Skr.
vid
to know, learn; cf. Skr.
vid
to find. [GREEK][GREEK][GREEK][GREEK]. Cf.
History
,
Idea
,
Idol
,
-oid
,
Twit
,
Veda
,
Vision
,
Wise
,
Adj.
&
Noun.
,
Wot
.]
To know; to learn.
“I wot and wist alway.”
Chaucer.
☞ The present tense was inflected as follows; sing. 1st pers. wot; 2d pers. wost, or wot(t)est; 3d pers. wot, or wot(t)eth; pl. witen, or wite. The following variant forms also occur; pres. sing. 1st & 3d pers. wat, woot; pres. pl. wyten, or wyte, weete, wote, wot; imp. wuste (Southern dialect); p. pr. wotting. Later, other variant or corrupt forms are found, as, in Shakespeare, 3d pers. sing. pres. wots.
Brethren, we do you to
wit
[make you to know] of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.
2 Cor. viii. 1.
Thou
wost
full little what thou meanest.
Chaucer.
We
witen
not what thing we prayen here.
Chaucer.
When that the sooth in
wist
.
Chaucer.
☞ This verb is now used only in the infinitive, to wit, which is employed, especially in legal language, to call attention to a particular thing, or to a more particular specification of what has preceded, and is equivalent to namely, that is to say.

Wit

,
Noun.
[AS.
witt
,
wit
; akin to OFries.
wit
, G.
witz
, OHG.
wizzī
, Icel.
vit
, Dan.
vid
, Sw.
vett
. √133. See
Wit
,
Verb.
]
1.
Mind; intellect; understanding; sense.
Who knew the
wit
of the Lord? or who was his counselor?
Wyclif (Rom. xi. 34).
A prince most prudent, of an excellent
And unmatched
wit
and judgment.
Shakespeare
Will puts in practice what
wit
deviseth.
Sir J. Davies.
He wants not
wit
the dander to decline.
Dryden.
2.
A mental faculty, or power of the mind; – used in this sense chiefly in the plural, and in certain phrases;
as, to lose one’s
wits
; at one's
wits'
end, and the like
.
“Men's wittes ben so dull.”
Chaucer.
I will stare him out of his
wits
.
Shakespeare
3.
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.
The definition of
wit
is only this, that it is a propriety of thoughts and words; or, in other terms, thoughts and words elegantly adapted to the subject.
Dryden.
Wit
which discovers partial likeness hidden in general diversity.
Coleridge.
Wit
lying most in the assemblage of ideas, and putting those together with quickness and variety wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, thereby to make up pleasant pictures in the fancy.
Locke.
4.
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.
In Athens, where books and
wits
were ever busier than in any other part of Greece, I find but only two sorts of writings which the magistrate cared to take notice of; those either blasphemous and atheistical, or libelous.
Milton.
Intemperate
wits
will spare neither friend nor foe.
L'Estrange.
A
wit
herself, Amelia weds a
wit
.
Young.
The five wits
,
the five senses; also, sometimes, the five qualities or faculties, common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, and memory.
Chaucer. Nares.
But my
five wits
nor my five senses can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee.
Shakespeare
Syn. – Ingenuity; humor; satire; sarcasm; irony; burlesque.
Wit
,
Humor
. Wit primarily meant mind; and now denotes the power of seizing on some thought or occurrence, and, by a sudden turn, presenting it under aspects wholly new and unexpected – apparently natural and admissible, if not perfectly just, and bearing on the subject, or the parties concerned, with a laughable keenness and force. “What I want,” said a pompous orator, aiming at his antagonist, “is common sense.” “Exactly!” was the whispered reply. The pleasure we find in wit arises from the ingenuity of the turn, the sudden surprise it brings, and the patness of its application to the case, in the new and ludicrous relations thus flashed upon the view. Humor is a quality more congenial to the English mind than wit. It consists primarily in taking up the peculiarities of a humorist (or eccentric person) and drawing them out, as Addison did those of Sir Roger de Coverley, so that we enjoy a hearty, good-natured laugh at his unconscious manifestation of whims and oddities. From this original sense the term has been widened to embrace other sources of kindly mirth of the same general character. In a well-known caricature of English reserve, an Oxford student is represented as standing on the brink of a river, greatly agitated at the sight of a drowning man before him, and crying out, “O that I had been introduced to this gentleman, that I might save his life!” The “Silent Woman” of Ben Jonson is one of the most humorous productions, in the original sense of the term, which we have in our language.

Webster 1828 Edition


Wit

WIT

,
Verb.
I.
[G., to know. See Wise.] To know. This verb is used only in the infinitive, to wit, namely, that is to say. [L.]

WIT

,
Noun.
[See the verb and Wise.]
1.
Primarily, the intellect; the understanding or mental powers.
Will puts in practice what the wit deviseth.
For wit and power their last endeavors bend t outshine each other.
2.
The association of ideas in a manner natural, but unusual and striking, so as to produce surprise joined with pleasure. Wit is defined.
What oft was thought, but neer so well expressd.
Wit consists in assembling and putting together with quickness, ideas in which can be found resemblance and congruity, by which to make up pleasant pictures and agreeable visions in the fancy.
Wit consists chiefly in joining things by distant and fanciful relations, which surprise us because they are unexpected.
Wit is a propriety of thoughts and words; or in other terms, thoughts and words elegantly adapted to the subject.
3.
The faculty of associating ideas in a new and unexpected manner.
4.
A man of genius; as, the age of Addison abounded with wits.
A wit herself, Amelia weds a wit.
5.
A man of fancy or wit.
Intemperate wits will spare neither friend nor foe.
6.
Sense; judgment.
He wants not wit the danger to decline.
7.
Faculty of the mind.
8.
Wits, in the plural, soundness of mind; intellect not disordered; sound mind. No man in his wits would venture on such an expedition. Have you lost your wits? Is he out of his wits?
9.
Power of invention; contrivance; ingenuity. He was at his wits end.

Definition 2022


wit

wit

See also: WIT, wit', and wit.

English

Noun

wit (countable and uncountable, plural wits)

  1. (now usually in the plural) Sanity.
    He's gone completely out of his wits.
  2. (obsolete usually in the plural) The senses.
  3. Intellectual ability; faculty of thinking, reasoning.
    Where she has gone to is beyond the wit of man to say.
  4. The ability to think quickly; mental cleverness, especially under short time constraints.
    My father had a quick wit and a steady hand.
  5. Intelligence; common sense.
    • 1460-1500, The Towneley Playsː
      I give the wit, I give the strength, of all thou seest, of breadth and length; thou shalt be wonder-wise, mirth and joy to have at will, all thy liking to fulfill, and dwell in paradise.
    The opportunity was right in front of you, and you didn't even have the wit to take it!
  6. Humour, especially when clever or quick.
    The best man's speech was hilarious, full of wit and charm.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      The humor of my proposition appealed more strongly to Miss Trevor than I had looked for, and from that time forward she became her old self again; [] . Our table in the dining-room became again the abode of scintillating wit and caustic repartee, Farrar bracing up to his old standard, and the demand for seats in the vicinity rose to an animated competition.
  7. A person who tells funny anecdotes or jokes; someone witty.
    Your friend is quite a wit, isn't he?
Synonyms
  • See also Wikisaurus:intelligence
Derived terms
Translations

See also

(type of humor):

Etymology 2

From Middle English witen, from Old English witan, from Proto-Germanic *witaną, from Proto-Indo-European *weyd- (see, know). Cognate with Icelandic vita, Dutch weten, German wissen, Swedish veta, and Latin videō (I see). Compare guide.

Verb

wit (see below for this verb’s conjugation)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, chiefly archaic) Know, be aware of (constructed with of when used intransitively).
    You committed terrible actions — to wit, murder and theft — and should be punished accordingly.
    They are meddling in matters that men should not wit of.
    • 1849, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, St. Luke the Painter, lines 5–8
      but soon having wist
      How sky-breadth and field-silence and this day
      Are symbols also in some deeper way,
      She looked through these to God and was God’s priest.
Conjugation
Infinitive to wit
Imperative wit
Present participle witting
Past participle wist
Present indicative Past indicative
First-person singular I wot I wist
Second-person singular thou wost, wot(test) (archaic) thou wist(est) (archaic)
Third-person singular he/she/it wot he/she/it wist
First-person plural we wit(e) we wist
Second-person plural ye wit(e) (archaic) ye wist (archaic)
Third-person plural they wit(e) they wist
Usage notes
  • As a preterite-present verb, the third-person singular indicative form is not wits but wot; the plural indicative forms conform to the infinitive: we wit, ye wit, they wit.
Derived terms
Translations

Etymology 3

From English with.

Pronunciation

(Southern American English) (before consonants) IPA(key): /wɪt/, (before yod) /wɪtʃ/

Preposition

wit

  1. (Southern US) Alternative spelling of with

Anagrams


Afrikaans

Etymology

From Dutch wit, from Middle Dutch wit, from Old Dutch *wit, from Proto-Germanic *hwittaz.

Adjective

wit (attributive witte, comparative witter, superlative witste)

  1. white

Dutch

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ʋɪt/

Etymology

From Middle Dutch wit, from Old Dutch *wit, from Proto-Germanic *hwittaz. The geminate is unexpected as the usual Proto-Germanic form is *hwītaz, from Proto-Indo-European *ḱweytos (shine; bright). The geminate is sometimes explained as being the result of Kluge's law, thus from a pre-Germanic *kweyd-nos.

Cognates with a geminate/short vowel are: Middle Low German witt, Old Frisian wit. Cognates with a long vowel are much more numerous: German weiß, West Frisian wyt, English white, Norwegian hvit, Swedish vit.

Adjective

wit (comparative witter, superlative witst)

  1. white
    De wand is wit.
    The (inner) wall is white.
  2. legal
  3. pure, untainted
  4. (archaic) clear-lighted, not dark at all
    De lang gewenste dag verscheen, heel klaar en wit.
    The long-wished-for day appeared, very clear and white.
Inflection
Inflection of wit
uninflected wit
inflected witte
comparative witter
positive comparative superlative
predicative/adverbial wit witter het witst
het witste
indefinite m./f. sing. witte wittere witste
n. sing. wit witter witste
plural witte wittere witste
definite witte wittere witste
partitive wits witters
Synonyms
Antonyms
Derived terms
Related terms
  • wijting

Noun

wit n (plural witten, diminutive witje n)

  1. (uncountable) white (color)
    Wit is alle kleuren ineens.
    White is all colors at once.
  2. (archaic) (short for doelwit (goal, target, the white in a bullseye)
    Myn wit is Adam en zyn afkomst te bederven. (in Lucifer, by Vondel)
    My goal is to corrupt Adam and his origin.
  3. (slang) cocaine
    Heb je een halfje wit?
    (please add an English translation of this usage example)
Derived terms
Descendants
  • Afrikaans: wit

Verb

wit

  1. first-, second- and third-person singular present indicative of witten
  2. imperative of witten

See also

Colors in Dutch · kleuren (layout · text)
     rood      groen      geel      roomwit      wit
     karmijnrood      magenta      groenblauw/petrolblauw      groengeel/limoengroen      roze
     indigo      blauw      oranje      grijs      violet
     zwart      paars      bruin      azuurblauw      blauwgroen/cyaan

Anagrams

Etymology 2

From Middle Dutch wit. Ultimately from Proto-Germanic *witją (knowledge, reason), from Proto-Indo-European *weyd- (see, know). Related to weten (to know), wis (knowledge) and wijs (wise). Cognate with English wit, German Witz.

Noun

wit n (plural witten, diminutive witje n)

  1. (archaic) ability to think and reason
  2. (archaic) knowledge
Related terms

Gothic

Romanization

wit

  1. Romanization of 𐍅𐌹𐍄

Javanese

Noun

wit

  1. tree

Louisiana Creole French

Etymology

From French huit.

Numeral

wit

  1. (cardinal) eight

Mauritian Creole

Mauritian Creole cardinal numbers
 <  7 8 9  > 
    Cardinal : wit
    Ordinal : witiem

Etymology

From French huit.

Numeral

wit

  1. (cardinal) eight

Old English

Etymology

From Proto-Germanic *wet, from Proto-Indo-European *wed-, a suffixed form of *wei- (see ). Cognate with Old Norse vit, Gothic 𐍅𐌹𐍄 (wit), and Lithuanian vèdu.

Pronunciation

Pronoun

wit (personal)

  1. We two; nominative dual form of .

Old French

Numeral

wit

  1. eight

Old High German

Etymology

From Proto-Germanic *wīdaz, whence also Old Saxon wīt, Old English wīd and Old Norse víðr.

Adjective

wīt

  1. wide

Descendants


Old Saxon

Etymology

From Proto-Germanic *wet.

Pronoun

wit

  1. We two; nominative dual form of ik.

Declension