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re·tort 1

v. re·tort·ed, re·tort·ing, re·torts
a. To reply, especially to answer in a quick, caustic, or witty manner. See Synonyms at answer.
b. To present a counterargument to (an argument or accusation).
2. Archaic To return in kind; pay back.
1. To make a reply, especially a quick, caustic, or witty one.
2. To present a counterargument.
3. Archaic To return like for like; retaliate.
1. A quick incisive reply, especially one that turns the first speaker's words to his or her own disadvantage.
2. The act or an instance of retorting.

[Latin retorquēre, retort-, to bend back, retort : re-, re- + torquēre, to bend, twist; see terkw- in Indo-European roots.]

re·tort′er n.

re·tort 2

 (rĭ-tôrt′, rē′tôrt′)
A closed laboratory vessel with an outlet tube, used for distillation, sublimation, or decomposition by heat.

[German Retort, from Medieval Latin retorta, from feminine of Latin retortus, past participle of retorquēre, to bend back; see retort1.]


1. (when tr, takes a clause as object) to utter (something) quickly, sharply, wittily, or angrily, in response
2. to use (an argument) against its originator; turn the tables by saying (something)
3. a sharp, angry, or witty reply
4. an argument used against its originator
[C16: from Latin retorquēre to twist back, from re- + torquēre to twist, wrench]
reˈtorter n


1. (Chemistry) a glass vessel with a round bulb and long tapering neck that is bent down, used esp in a laboratory for distillation
2. (Chemistry) a vessel in which large quantities of material may be heated, esp one used for heating ores in the production of metals or heating coal to produce gas
(Chemistry) (tr) to heat in a retort
[C17: from French retorte, from Medieval Latin retorta, from Latin retorquēre to twist back; see retort1]



1. to reply to, usu. in a sharp or retaliatory way.
2. to return (an accusation, epithet, etc.) upon the person uttering it.
3. to answer (an argument or the like) by another to the contrary.
4. to reply, esp. sharply.
5. a severe, incisive, or witty reply, esp. one that counters a first speaker's statement, argument, etc.
6. the act of retorting.
[1590–1600; < Latin retortus, past participle of retorquēre to bend back =re- re- + torquēre to twist, bend]
re•tort′er, n.
syn: See answer.



a. a vessel, usu. a glass bulb with a long neck bent downward, used for distilling or decomposing substances by heat.
b. a refractory chamber in which a substance, as ore, is heated in smelting or manufacturing.
2. a sterilizer for food cans.
3. to sterilize (food) after it is sealed in a container, by steam or other heating methods.
4. to subject (shale, ore, etc.) to heat and possibly reduced pressure, as to produce fuel oil or a metal.
[1550–60; < Middle French retorte < Medieval Latin retorta, n. use of feminine of Latin retortus; see retort1]


(rĭ-tôrt′, rē′tôrt′)
A glass laboratory vessel in the shape of a bulb with a long, downward-pointing outlet tube. It is used for distillation or decomposition by heat.




Dick Tracy A mildly sarcastic retort to one who makes an obvious observation as if from penetrating insight. This expression derives from the popular comic strip Dick Tracy which features a detective of that name. Dick Tracy is analogous to such rhetorical comments as “Is the Pope Catholic?” and “No kidding, you don’t say.”

the Dutch have taken Holland An obvious statement, this expression is used sarcastically to put down someone who tells a piece of stale news as though it were new and exciting. If my aunt had been a man she’d have been my uncleis a similar British retort to someone who has laboriously explained the obvious.

Queen Anne is dead A sarcastic remark made to the bearer of stale news. A similar, current American phrase is So what else is new? Anne was Queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1702-14. The expression dates from the 18th century.

touché Literally French for ‘touched,’ touché is a fencing term indicating a hit or score. In verbal fencing or argumentation the parry touché acknowledges accuracy and truth in an opponent’s remark or retort.


Past participle: retorted
Gerund: retorting

I retort
you retort
he/she/it retorts
we retort
you retort
they retort
I retorted
you retorted
he/she/it retorted
we retorted
you retorted
they retorted
Present Continuous
I am retorting
you are retorting
he/she/it is retorting
we are retorting
you are retorting
they are retorting
Present Perfect
I have retorted
you have retorted
he/she/it has retorted
we have retorted
you have retorted
they have retorted
Past Continuous
I was retorting
you were retorting
he/she/it was retorting
we were retorting
you were retorting
they were retorting
Past Perfect
I had retorted
you had retorted
he/she/it had retorted
we had retorted
you had retorted
they had retorted
I will retort
you will retort
he/she/it will retort
we will retort
you will retort
they will retort
Future Perfect
I will have retorted
you will have retorted
he/she/it will have retorted
we will have retorted
you will have retorted
they will have retorted
Future Continuous
I will be retorting
you will be retorting
he/she/it will be retorting
we will be retorting
you will be retorting
they will be retorting
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been retorting
you have been retorting
he/she/it has been retorting
we have been retorting
you have been retorting
they have been retorting
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been retorting
you will have been retorting
he/she/it will have been retorting
we will have been retorting
you will have been retorting
they will have been retorting
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been retorting
you had been retorting
he/she/it had been retorting
we had been retorting
you had been retorting
they had been retorting
I would retort
you would retort
he/she/it would retort
we would retort
you would retort
they would retort
Past Conditional
I would have retorted
you would have retorted
he/she/it would have retorted
we would have retorted
you would have retorted
they would have retorted
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.retort - a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one); "it brought a sharp rejoinder from the teacher"
back talk, backtalk, sass, sassing, lip, mouth - an impudent or insolent rejoinder; "don't give me any of your sass"
reply, response - the speech act of continuing a conversational exchange; "he growled his reply"
2.retort - a vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat
alembic - an obsolete kind of container used for distillation; two retorts connected by a tube
still - an apparatus used for the distillation of liquids; consists of a vessel in which a substance is vaporized by heat and a condenser where the vapor is condensed
vessel - an object used as a container (especially for liquids)
Verb1.retort - answer back
answer, reply, respond - react verbally; "She didn't want to answer"; "answer the question"; "We answered that we would accept the invitation"


1. reply, return, answer, respond, counter, rejoin, retaliate, come back with, riposte, answer back 'Who do you think you're talking to?' she retorted.
1. reply, return, answer, response, counter (informal), comeback, riposte, rejoinder His sharp retort made an impact.


1. To speak or act in response, as to a question:
2. To return like for like, especially to return an unfriendly or hostile action with a similar one:
A spirited, incisive reply:
جَواب غاضِب سَريع وَذَكييَرُدُّ جوابا غاضِبا سريعا وذَكِيّاً
hreyta út úr sér; svara um hælhvasst svar
asa atbildeasi atbildētatcirst
sert cevaptersleyerek cevap vermek


A. N
1. (= answer) → réplica f
2. (Chem) → retorta f
B. VTreplicar
he retorted thatreplicó que ...


(= reply) → répartie f
(= container) → cornue f


(= answer)scharfe Erwiderung or Antwort
(Chem) → Retorte f; retort standRetortenhalter mor -stand m


1. n
a. (answer) → risposta (per le rime)
b. (Chem) → storta
2. vt (answer) → ribattere
3. virimbeccare, rispondere per le rime


(rəˈtoːt) verb
to make a quick and clever or angry reply. `You're too old', she said. `You're not so young yourself,' he retorted.
such a reply.
References in classic literature ?
As Duncan dared not retort upon his accuser by reminding him of his own premeditated treachery, and disdained to deprecate his resentment by any words of apology, he remained silent.
The richer humor of Jessie's retort had thrown him into convulsions of laughter.
Blake's dull face flushed under this gibe, but before he could set his retort in order Tom had turned to Wilson, and was saying, with placid indifference of manner and voice:
Woodhouse's peculiarities and fidgetiness were sometimes provoking him to a rational remonstrance or sharp retort equally illbestowed.
Ferrars looked exceedingly angry, and drawing herself up more stiffly than ever, pronounced in retort this bitter philippic, "Miss Morton is Lord Morton's daughter.
Peggotty made no such retort, only answering with another entreaty to Mrs.
I was going to retort with an inquiry, and had got as far as "Why--" when Joe stopped me.
and though God Made thee without thy leave, what if thy Son Prove disobedient, and reprov'd, retort, Wherefore didst thou beget me?
Have patience, sir,'' replied his counsellor; ``I might retort your accusation, and blame the inconsiderate levity which foiled my design, and misled your own better judgment.
Sir Charles, feeling that such views bore adversely on him, and were somehow iconoclastic and low-lived, was about to make a peevish retort, when Erskine forestalled him by asking Trefusis what idea he had formed of the future of the arts.
they will justly retort upon me that I above all other men have acknowledged the agreement.
In this point of view the Southern States might retort the complaint, by insisting that the principle laid down by the convention required that no regard should be had to the policy of particular States towards their own inhabitants; and consequently, that the slaves, as inhabitants, should have been admitted into the census according to their full number, in like manner with other inhabitants, who, by the policy of other States, are not admitted to all the rights of citizens.