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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


(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.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




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.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


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:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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 ...
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


(= reply) → répartie f
(= container) → cornue f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= answer)scharfe Erwiderung or Antwort
(Chem) → Retorte f; retort standRetortenhalter mor -stand m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


1. n
a. (answer) → risposta (per le rime)
b. (Chem) → storta
2. vt (answer) → ribattere
3. virimbeccare, rispondere per le rime
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
The sarcastic tone of this reply might have provoked a rather acrimonious retort from Miss Squeers, who, besides being of a constitutionally vicious temper--aggravated, just now, by travel and recent jolting--was somewhat irritated by old recollections and the failure of her own designs upon Mr Browdie; and the acrimonious retort might have led to a great many other retorts, which might have led to Heaven knows what, if the subject of conversation had not been, at that precise moment, accidentally changed by Mr Squeers himself
Edwin has made his retort with an abruptness not at all polite.
Don't retort, Gashford,' for the secretary had made a show of wishing to do so; 'I can hold no communion with the worshippers of idols.'
This was the only retort - except glass or crockery - that the heavy creature was capable of making; but, I became as highly incensed by it as if it had been barbed with wit, and I immediately rose in my place and said that I could not but regard it as being like the honourable Finch's impudence to come down to that Grove - we always talked about coming down to that Grove, as a neat Parliamentary turn of expression - down to that Grove, proposing a lady of whom he knew nothing.
So imperturbable was the air with which he gravely bent to his work that Riderhood remained staring at him, without having found a retort, until he had rowed past a line of wooden objects by the weir, which showed like huge teetotums standing at rest in the water, and was almost hidden by the drooping boughs on the left bank, as he rowed away, keeping out of the opposing current.
And I am the more persuaded of that suspicion, if one can call it so, by the fact that if you take, for instance, the antithesis of the normal man, that is, the man of acute consciousness, who has come, of course, not out of the lap of nature but out of a retort (this is almost mysticism, gentlemen, but I suspect this, too), this retort-made man is sometimes so nonplussed in the presence of his antithesis that with all his exaggerated consciousness he genuinely thinks of himself as a mouse and not a man.
"Latitude was latitude, and longitude was longitude," would be the captain's retort. "Variation and deviation are used in setting courses and estimating dead reckoning."
And I don't care if it is," retorted Davy recklessly.
"And if I could have mine," retorted the Heathen in His Blindness, bitterly malevolent but oleaginuously suave, "I'd fan all yours out of the universe."
"Well, you know I couldn't get along very well without it, darling," responded Dan who, since New Year's, had adopted a new method of dealing with Felicity--whether by way of keeping his resolution or because he had discovered that it annoyed Felicity far more than angry retorts, deponent sayeth not.
"Well, I can't say I do--all of 'em," retorted Nancy, tersely.
"Nay," retorted Robin, "he is naught but a ladies' man from court.