American English

Definition of wit noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable, singular] the ability to say or write things that are both smart and amusing to have a quick/sharp/dry/ready wit a woman of wit and intelligence a book full of the wit and wisdom of his 30 years in politics
  2. 2[countable] a person who has the ability to say or write things that are both smart and amusing a well-known wit and raconteur
  3. 3wits [plural] your ability to think quickly and clearly and to make good decisions He needed all his wits to find his way out. The game was a long battle of wits. Kate paused and gathered her wits. a chance to pit your wits against our quiz champion
  4. 4-witted (in adjectives) having the type of intelligence mentioned a quick-witted group of students
  5. 5[uncountable] wit to do something the intelligence or good sense to know what is the right thing to do At least you had the wit to ask for help. It should not be beyond the wit of man to resolve this dispute. see also witless
  6. Word Familywit nounwitty adjectivewitticism nounoutwit verbwit nounwitty adjectivewitticism nounoutwit verbIdioms
    be at your wits' end
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    to be so worried by a problem that you do not know what to do next She was at her wits' end wondering how she'd finish it all in the time.
    be frightened/scared/terrified out of your wits
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    to be very frightened
    have/keep your wits about you
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    to be aware of what is happening around you and ready to think and act quickly
    live by your wits
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    to earn money by being able to think quickly or sometimes by dishonest means
    to wit (old-fashioned) (formal)
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    you use to wit when you are about to be more exact about something that you have just referred to Pilot error, to wit, failure to follow procedures, was the cause of the accident.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: wit