• WordNet 3.6
    • n wit mental ability "he's got plenty of brains but no common sense"
    • n wit a message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter
    • n wit a witty amusing person who makes jokes
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In 1976, a Los Angeles secretary named Jannene Swift officially married a fifty pound rock. More than twenty people witnessed the ceremony
    • Wit A mental faculty, or power of the mind; -- used in this sense chiefly in the plural, and in certain phrases; as, to lose one's wits; at one's wits' end, and the like. "Men's wittes ben so dull.""I will stare him out of his wits ."
    • Wit A person of eminent sense or knowledge; a man of genius, fancy, or humor; one distinguished for bright or amusing sayings, for repartee, and the like. "In Athens, where books and wits were ever busier than in any other part of Greece, I find but only two sorts of writings which the magistrate cared to take notice of; those either blasphemous and atheistical, or libelous.""Intemperate wits will spare neither friend nor foe.""A wit herself, Amelia weds a wit .""But my five wits nor my five senses can
      Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee."
    • Wit Felicitous association of objects not usually connected, so as to produce a pleasant surprise; also. the power of readily combining objects in such a manner. "The definition of wit is only this, that it is a propriety of thoughts and words; or, in other terms, thoughts and words elegantly adapted to the subject.""Wit which discovers partial likeness hidden in general diversity.""Wit lying most in the assemblage of ideas, and putting those together with quickness and variety wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, thereby to make up pleasant pictures in the fancy."
    • Wit Mind; intellect; understanding; sense. "Who knew the wit of the Lord? or who was his counselor?""A prince most prudent, of an excellent
      And unmatched wit and judgment."
      "Will puts in practice what wit deviseth.""He wants not wit the dander to decline."
    • v. t. & i Wit wĭt To know; to learn.☞ The present tense was inflected as follows; sing. 1st pers. wot; 2d pers. wost, or wot(t)est; 3d pers. wot, or wot(t)eth; pl. witen, or wite. The following variant forms also occur; pres. sing. 1st & 3d pers. wat woot; pres. pl. wyten, or wyte weete wote wot; imp. wusteSouthern dialect); p. pr. wotting. Later, other variant or corrupt forms are found, as, in Shakespeare, 3d pers. sing. pres. wots. "I wot and wist alway.""Brethren, we do you to wit make you to know] of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.""Thou wost full little what thou meanest.""We witen not what thing we prayen here.""When that the sooth in wist ."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The smallest will ever written was 3.8 cm in diameter. It had 40 words written on it and was signed by two witnesses
    • wit To know; be or become aware: used with or without an object, the object when present often being a clause or statement. Present tense: I wot (wote), thou wost (erroneously wottest, wotst), he wot (erroneously wotteth); plural we, ye (you), they wit.
    • wit Preterit tense: I, etc., wist (erroneously wotted).
    • wit Infinitive: wit (to wit); hence, to do to wit, to cause (one) to know.
    • wit [The phrase to wit is now used chiefly to call attention to some particular, or as introductory to a detailed statement of what has been just before mentioned generally, and is equivalent to ‘namely,’ ‘that is to say’: as, there were three present—to wit, Mr. Brown. Mr. Green, and Mr. Black.
    • wit Present participle: witting, sometimes weeting (erroneously wotting). Compare unwitting.
    • wit Past participle: wist.
    • n wit Knowledge; wisdom; intelligence; sagacity; judgment; sense.
    • n wit Mind; understanding; intellect; reason; in the plural, the faculties or powers of the mind or intellect; senses: as, to be out of one's wits; he has all his wits about him.
    • n wit Knowledge; information.
    • n wit Ingenuity; skill.
    • n wit Imagination; the imaginative faculty.
    • n wit The keen perception and apt expression of those connections between ideas which awaken pleasure and especially amusement. See the quotations and the synonyms.
    • n wit Conceit; idea; thought; design; scheme; plan.
    • n wit =Syn.6. Wit, Humor. In writers down to the time of Pope wit generally meant the serious kind of wit.
    • n wit In more recent use wit in the singular generally implies comic wit; in that sense it is different from humor. One principal difference is that wit always lies in some form of words, while humor may be expressed by manner, as a smile, a grimace, an attitude. Underlying this is the fact, consistent with the original meaning of the words, that humor goes more deeply into the nature of the thought, while wit catches pleasing but occult or farfetched resemblances between things really unlike: a good pun shows wit; Iiving's “History of New York” is a piece of sustained humor, the humor lying in the portrayal of character, the nature of the incidents, etc. Again, “Wit may, I think, be regarded as a purely intellectual process, while humor is a sense of the ridiculous controlled by feeling, and coexistent often with the gentlest and deepest pathos” (H. Reed, Lects. on Eng. Lit., xi. 357). Hence humor is always kind, while wit may be unkind in the extreme: Swift's “Travels of Gulliver” is much too severe a satire to be called a work of humor. It is essential to the effect of wit that the form in which it is expressed should be brief; humor may be heightened in its effect by expansion into full forms of statement, description, etc Wit more often than humor depends upon passing circumstances for its effect.
    • n wit One who has discernment, reason, or judgment; a person of acute perception; especially, one who detects between associated ideas the finer resemblances or contrasts which give pleasure or enjoyment to the mind, and who gives expression to these for the entertainment of others; often, a person who has a keen perception of the incongruous or ludicrous, and uses it for the amusement and frequently at the expense of others.
    • wit To play the wit; be witty: with an indefinite it.
    • wit See wite.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: By the time a child finishes elementary school she will have witnessed 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on television.
    • v.i Wit wit to know
    • pr.t Wit 1st pers. sing. Wot; 2d, Wost (erroneously Wot′test); 3d, Wot (erroneously Wot′teth):—pl. 1st, 2d, 3d, Wot; pa.t. Wist (erroneously Wot′ted); pr.p. Wit′ting, Weet′ing (erroneously Wot′ting); pa.p. Wist
    • n Wit wit understanding: a mental faculty (chiefly in pl.): the power of combining ideas with a ludicrous effect, the result of this power: ingenuity: :
    • n Wit wit a person of understanding or judgment, esp. a person who has a keen perception of the ludicrous and can express it neatly.
    • n Wit wit (rare) imagination
    • n Wit wit (obs.) information
    • ***


  • Benjamin Franklin
    “Words may show a man's wit but actions his meaning.”
  • Mao Zedong
    “An army without culture is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy.”
  • Charles Caleb Colton
    “Reply to wit with gravity, and to gravity with wit.”
  • Francois De La Rochefoucauld
    “Conceit causes more conversation than wit.”
  • Thomas Fuller
    “The more wit the less courage.”
  • Voltaire
    “He who dies before many witnesses always does so with courage.”


At your wits' end - If you are at your wits' end, you have no idea what to do next and are very frustrated.
Brevity is the soul of wit - The best way to communicate intelligently is to be concise and not to use unnecessary words.
Mother wit - Native intelligence; common sense


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. witen, pres. ich wot, wat, I know (wot), imp. wiste, AS. witan, pres. wāt, imp. wiste, wisse,; akin to OFries. wita, OS. witan, D. weten, G. wissen, OHG. wizzan, Icel. vita, Sw. veta, Dan. vide, Goth. witan, to observe, wait, I know, Russ. vidiete, to see, L. videre, Gr. , Skr. vid, to know, learn; cf. Skr. vid, to find. . Cf. History Idea Idol -oid Twit Veda Vision Wise (a.) & (n.) Wot
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. wit, from the verb above.


In literature:

Perhaps this man has seen Joseph, or talked with Jacob, or witnessed the wonders of the exodus.
"Pilgrimage from the Alps to the Tiber" by James Aitken Wylie
Six Venetian noblemen were judges, though there were many other witnesses of the feat.
"A Man's Value to Society" by Newell Dwight Hillis
But somehow Helene kept herself calm and strong after witnessing Henri's terrible death.
"Shaman" by Robert Shea
You know you will have to be a witness?
"The Macdermots of Ballycloran" by Anthony Trollope
There is the story of a spirit, "which," says he who wrote it to me, "I no more doubt the truth of than if I had been a witness of it.
"The Phantom World" by Augustin Calmet
There must be witnesses also.
"Victor's Triumph" by Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth
But with the naming of the next witness a stir of interest ran sharply around the room.
"The Shepherd of the North" by Richard Aumerle Maher
Little gleams of his underlying purpose which his levity masked, struck Joe from time to time, setting his wits on guard.
"The Bondboy" by George W. (George Washington) Ogden
But when a witness has been indicated, the witness must speak.
"The Landleaguers" by Anthony Trollope
And he made the mistake of trying to wield his wits a little.
"The Missourian" by Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle

In poetry:

Assure my conscience of her part
In the Redeemer's blood
And bear thy witness with my heart,
That I am born of God.
"Hymn 144" by Isaac Watts
'He told it out with great loud eyes--
Men have such little wit!
His sin I ever will chastise
Because I gave him it.
"A Girl's Sin - In Her Eyes" by Francis Thompson
You have witnessed many sorrows,
On your flight across the skies,
As you chase the silver twilight
When the golden sunset dies.
"The Four Winds" by R S Ward
Did we not witness in the life of thee
Immortal prophecy?
And feel, when with thee, that thy footsteps trod
An everlasting road?
"Within The Gate" by John Greenleaf Whittier
"A hand, he saw not, dragg'd him on,
The voice within had call'd his name !
And he told all he witnessed
At the Oracle of flame !
"The Prophetess Of The Oracle Of Seam" by Anne Bannerman
Just as clearly and distinctly,
I have seen another time
The same things that now I witness,
And 'twas but a dream.
"Life Is A Dream - Act III" by Denis Florence MacCarthy

In news:

Witnesses say 3 civilians dead.
CNN's Mike Schulder witnesses a fierce firefight in Fallujah.
A large crowd witnesses the bat child's antics.
Heather McClintock's Photos Bear Witness to Uganda's Long Civil War.
Photojournalists gave their lives to bear witness .
12-year-old witnesses father, Chris Belcher , "strangling" his wife, Gwendolyn Belcher .
Disgraced former TV reporter Rob Koebel was a key witness in Dan SabanÂ's recent trial.
A 53-year-old man was injured after witnesses say he fell from Belvedere Castle in Central Park Monday.
As God is My Witness.
David Staffeldt, EAA 570227/Warbirds of America 551902, witnessed the recovery and provided a firsthand account, along with these exclusive photos.
Witnesses describe 'massacre' in city under siege.
Witnesses said they heard screams for help coming from a home on Avenue 20 1/2 near Road 26 in Madera County.
He occassionally watches the witnesses.
Defense attorneys presented a new witness who supports previous testimony from another witness that four drug dealers committed the crimes instead of Bower.
A Reno County judge threw out a witness who was acting unruly during a murder trial on Tuesday.

In science:

The tree T on K and the map σ witness that K D is iterable (in L[x† ], and hence in V ).
A simple proof of \Sigma^1_3 correctness of K
Lyapunov function witnessing positive recurrence is available.
Computing stationary probability distributions and large deviation rates for constrained random walks. The undecidability results
Let f ∈ E q(X1)k and let g be the k -cell and h, h′ be the (k + 1)-cells which must witness this property as in definition 39.
Weak Omega Categories I
These authors suggest that we are witnessing the formation of a nucleus.
Evidence for a warm ISM in Fornax dEs - II. FCC032, FCC206 and FCCB729
Afterwards, a first partial sky surveying will be started wit h it.
A Prototype for the PASS Permanent All Sky Survey