wits


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wit 1

(wĭt)
n.
1.
a. The natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence.
b. often wits Practical intelligence; shrewdness or resourcefulness: living by one's wits.
c. wits Sound mental faculties; sanity: scared out of my wits.
d. Archaic A person of exceptional intelligence.
2.
a. The ability to express oneself intelligently in a playful or humorous manner, often in overturning audience expectations: a writer with a scintillating wit.
b. A person noted for this ability, especially in conversation: "My mother, the family wit and teaser, knew better than to joke about the disaster" (Donald Hall).
c. Intelligent playfulness or humor in expression, as in speech, writing, or art: novels known for their wit and inventiveness.
Idioms:
at (one's) wits' end
At the limit of one's mental resources; utterly at a loss.
have (or keep) (one's) wits about (one)
To remain alert or calm, especially in a crisis.

[Middle English, from Old English; see weid- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

wit 2

 (wĭt)
v. wist (wĭst), wit·ting (wĭt′ĭng), first and third person singular present tense wot (wŏt) Archaic
v.tr.
To be or become aware of; learn.
v.intr.
To know.
Idiom:
to wit
That is to say; namely.

[Middle English, from Old English witan; see weid- in Indo-European roots.]

wits

(wɪts)
pl n
1. (sometimes singular) the ability to reason and act, esp quickly (esp in the phrase have one's wits about one)
2. (sometimes singular) right mind, sanity (esp in the phrase out of one's wits)
3. at one's wits' end at a loss to know how to proceed
4. five wits obsolete the five senses or mental faculties
5. live by one's wits to gain a livelihood by craftiness and cunning rather than by hard work

Wits

(wɪts)
n
(Education) informal South African University of the Witwatersrand
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.wits - the basic human power of intelligent thought and perception; "he used his wits to get ahead"; "I was scared out of my wits"; "he still had all his marbles and was in full possession of a lively mind"
intelligence - the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience
Translations
References in classic literature ?
Foote, seeing a sweep on a blood-horse, remarked, "There goes Warburton on Shakespeare!" When he heard that the Rockingham Cabinet was fatigued to death and at its wits' end, he exclaimed that it could not have been the length of the journey which had tired it.
"Wit," said Chesterfield, opposing an unjust licensing Act, "Wit, my lords!
All this tends to the prejudice of the truth and the corruption of history, nay more, to the reproach of the wits of Spain; for foreigners who scrupulously observe the laws of the drama look upon us as barbarous and ignorant, when they see the absurdity and nonsense of the plays we produce.
And to prove this I want to ask you one thing; and if you answer me as I believe you will answer, you will be able to lay your finger on the trick, and you will see that you are not enchanted but gone wrong in your wits."
He kinged it in the coffee-house, then the fashionable place at which the wits gathered, as Jonson had in the tavern.
"It is so obsolete," says Dryden, "that his sense is scarce to be understood." "I find some people are offended that I have turned these tales into modern English, because they think them unworthy of my pains, and look on Chaucer as a dry, old-fashioned wit not worthy reviving."
That left me an orphan and folks were at their wits' end, so Mrs.
Thomas was at HER wits' end, so she said, what to do with me.
SOME, in their discourse, desire rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of judgment, in discerning what is true; as if it were a praise, to know what might be said, and not, what should be thought.
Certainly, he that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memory.
The first floor was inhabited by one of those young gentlemen, who, in the last age, were called men of wit and pleasure about town, and properly enough; for as men are usually denominated from their business or profession, so pleasure may be said to have been the only business or profession of those gentlemen to whom fortune had made all useful occupations unnecessary.
But earrings of gold and emerald still clung to the withered ears, and the hair, two-thirds of a fathom long, a shimmering silk of golden floss, flowed from the scalp that covered what had once been the wit and will of her that Bashti reasoned had in her ancient time been quick with love in the arms of man.