• The Retort Curteous
    The Retort Curteous
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v retort answer back
    • n retort a vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat
    • n retort a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one) "it brought a sharp rejoinder from the teacher"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

The Retort Courteous The Retort Courteous

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Retort (Chem. & the Arts) A vessel in which substances are subjected to distillation or decomposition by heat. It is made of different forms and materials for different uses, as a bulb of glass with a curved beak to enter a receiver for general chemical operations, or a cylinder or semicylinder of cast iron for the manufacture of gas in gas works.
    • Retort The return of, or reply to, an argument, charge, censure, incivility, taunt, or witticism; a quick and witty or severe response. "This is called the retort courteous."
    • Retort To bend or curve back; as, a retorted line. "With retorted head, pruned themselves as they floated."
    • v. i Retort To return an argument or a charge; to make a severe reply.
    • Retort To return, as an argument, accusation, censure, or incivility; as, to retort the charge of vanity. "And with retorted scorn his back he turned."
    • Retort To throw back; to reverberate; to reflect. "As when his virtues, shining upon others,
      Heat them and they retort that heat again
      To the first giver."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • retort To twist back; bend back by twisting or curving; turn back.
    • retort To throw back; specifically, to reflect.
    • retort To cast back; reject; refuse to accept or grant.
    • retort To return; turn back or repel, as an argument, accusation, manner of treatment, etc., upon the originator; retaliate: rarely applied to the return of kindness or civility.
    • retort To reply resentfully.
    • retort To curve, twist, or coil back.
    • retort To retaliate; turn back an argument, accusation, or manner of treatment upon the originator; especially, to make a resentful reply; respond in a spirit of retaliation.
    • retort To return.
    • n retort The act of retorting; the repelling of an argument, accusation, or incivility; hence, that which is retorted; a retaliatory act or remark; especially, a sharp or witty rejoinder; a repartee.
    • n retort Synonyms See repartee.
    • n retort In chem. and the arts, a vessel of glass, earthenware, metal, etc., employed for the purpose of distilling or effecting decomposition by the aid of heat. Glass retorts are commonly used for distilling liquids, an consist of a flask-shaped vessel, to which a long neck is attached. The liquid to be distilled is placed in the flask, and heat is applied. The products of distillation condense in the cold neck of the retort, and are collected in a suitable receiver. Retorts are sometimes provided with a stopper so placed above the bulb as to permit the introduction of liquids without soiling the neck. The name is also generally given to almost any apparatus in which solid substances, such as coal, wood, or bones, are submitted to destructive distillation, as retorts for producing coal-gas, which vary much both in dimensions and in shape.
    • retort In metallurgy, to separate by means of a retort, as gold from an amalgam. Gold is always obtained in the form of an amalgam in stamping quartz-rock, and frequently, also, in washing auriferous detritus with the sluice. The amalgam is placed in an iron retort, and then heated, when the mercury passes off in vapor and is condensed in a suitable receiver—the gold. always more or less alloyed with silver, remaining behind. See gold.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Retort rē-tort′ to throw back: to return: to retaliate: to separate by means of a retort
    • v.i Retort to make a sharp reply
    • n Retort a ready and sharp reply: a witty answer: a vessel used in distillation, properly a spiral tube
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. retortus, p. p. of retorquere,; pref. re-, re- + torquere, to turn twist. See Torsion, and cf. Retort (n.), 2


In literature:

The effect of this is to equalize the temperatures inside and outside the retort.
"Scientific American Supplement, No. 611, September 17, 1887" by Various
It needs no electric power or high pressure retorts or liquid air apparatus.
"Creative Chemistry" by Edwin E. Slosson
Janet, who had a certain tenderness for the pretty black sheep of the family, checked the sharp retort which trembled on her lips.
"What Timmy Did" by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes
If my hour's come, it's come, I suppose, and that's the end of it,' he retorted irritably.
"The Guinea Stamp" by Annie S. Swan
His first retorts for distilling coal were similar to the common glass retort of the chemist.
"Artificial Light" by M. Luckiesh
These are joined at the bottom to cast iron retorts of the same shape as the earthenware retort.
"Scientific American Supplement, No. 717, September 28, 1889" by Various
The other freshmen at the table were taking no pains to disguise their glee at Grace's retort.
"Grace Harlowe's First Year at Overton College" by Jessie Graham Flower
In concert with the latter, Ranc concerted a plan for a practical retort.
"Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3)" by S. Spooner
The crude oil is placed in an iron retort connected with a coil of pipe in a vessel of cold water.
"Continental Monthly, Vol. 5, Issue 2, February, 1864" by Various
Garth, his agitation of last night having left him nervous and irritable, retorted hotly.
"The Short Cut" by Jackson Gregory

In poetry:

TOWARDS the sun, towards the south-west
A scorched breast.
A scorched breast, breasting the sun like an answer,
Like a retort.
"Eagle In New Mexico" by D H Lawrence
But 'tis retorted by the Fiend,
That this can never serve my end,
Since Christ will not a soul receive,
But such as faithfully believe.
"The Unhappy State Of The Ungodly, After Death" by Rees Prichard
Old wood has blossoms of this sort.
Though sound at core, she is old wood.
If freemen hate her, one retort
She has; but one!--'You are my blood.'
"Lines To A Friend Visiting America" by George Meredith
Coarse cries of strife assailed my ear,
In suburb-ways, one summer morn;
A wretched alley I drew near
Whence on the air the sounds were borne—
Growls breaking into curses clear,
And shrill retorts of keener scorn.
"He Needed Not" by George MacDonald
With naggers, life is painful if they do not roar and snort
With frenzy and with fury, and the trespass of retort;
And club men are so constant in their social thought and air,
You just forget deception is the glory reigning there.
"The Shady Side" by Samuel Alfred Beadle
For all those family hols? . . . A whistle went:
Things moved. I sat back, staring at my boots.
'Was that,' my friend smiled, 'where you "have your roots"?'
No, only where my childhood was unspent,
I wanted to retort, just where I started:
"I Remember, I Remember" by Philip Larkin

In news:

Stockman's retort : "Normally I would not respond to anonymous bloggers…".
Will retort to Chick-fil-A day succeed.
Media In Search of a Thoughtful Retort to Chris Hayes.
Ann Romney tweets retort on never-worked charge.
John Grisham's "The Litigators" a swerving, stirring retort .
Allpax Maintainer software automatically tracks critical retort components and alerts personnel when the components are scheduled for maintenance.
Most flexible lab retort in the world.
A Low-Tech Retort to Modern Politicking.
FDT's North America Move Prompts EDDL Retort .
Handle rude remarks with honest retort .
Jim Tortolano's Retorts: Grads, commence seriousness .
Retorts Illustrated Bryan Stalder .
Retorts Illustrated by Bryan Stalder .
Stockman 's retort: "Normally I would not respond to anonymous bloggers…".
John Grisham's "The Litigators" a swerving , stirring retort.

In science:

Thus, as a pun to Taubes’ question that Chern was quoted as asking in the previous section, we can now retort: the ADG-gravitational connection field is indifferent to different choices of differential algebras of generalized coordinates A that we employ to represent it (on E ).
`Iconoclastic', Categorical Quantum Gravity
The obvious retort to such a remark is that inflation could have occurred somewhere else in configuration space, and the system could then have rolled down to the moduli space.
M Theory and Cosmology