Definition of wit noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//wɪt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//wɪt//
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  1. 1[uncountable, singular] the ability to say or write things that are both clever 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 See related entries: Clever
  2. 2[countable] a person who has the ability to say or write things that are both clever and amusing a well-known wit and raconteur See related entries: Clever
  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 (= compete with, using your intelligence) 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.
  6. see also witless
    Word OriginOld English wit(t), gewit(t), denoting the mind as the seat of consciousness, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch weet and German Witz, also to wit in the archaic sense ‘have knowledge’.Word Familywit nounwitty adjectivewitticism nounoutwit verbExtra examples He had a dry wit. He has plenty of wit and imagination. I hope he has the wit to take the key with him. I hope you had the wits to apologize. I was scared out of my wits! I’m at my wits’ end trying to cope with his moods. Living alone in the country had dulled his wits. She couldn’t seem to gather her wits and tell us what had happened. She had to use all her native wit to convince the police. The game allows you to match wits with a computer criminal. The latest news has scared the wits out of investors. The strike developed into a battle of wits between management and workers. They do tough interviews so you’ll need to have your wits about you. He was blessed with great charm and a quick wit. I wanted to bowl him over with my sparkling wit. It shouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to solve this issue. You’d think they’d have the wit to ask for help.Idioms 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 manage it all in the time. See related entries: Fear
    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
    to earn money by clever or sometimes dishonest means (old-fashioned, formal) 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 American Dictionary entry: wit