Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: 'knowledge, intelligence'

wit

noun
     
wit
1

amusing

[uncountable] the ability to say things that are clever and amusing:
a woman of great wit and charm
quick/dry/sharp etc wit
His sharp wit had them all smiling.
2

amusing person

[countable] someone who is able to say clever and amusing things
3

wits

[plural] your ability to think quickly and make the right decisions:
Alone and penniless, I was forced to live on my wits.
keep/have your wits about you (=be ready to think quickly and do what is necessary in a difficult situation)
4

frighten/scare/terrify somebody out of their wits

informal to frighten someone very much:
I was terrified out of my wits at the very idea.
5

gather/collect/recover etc your wits

to make yourself think about what you are going to do next after you have been surprised by something:
I felt helpless, but tried to gather my wits.
6

pit your wits against somebody

to compete against someone in a test of knowledge or intelligence
7

be at your wits' end

to be very upset and not know what to do, because you have tried everything possible to solve a problem
8

have the wit to do something

formal to be clever enough to know the right thing to do:
Thankfully, Reid had the wit to see what was wrong with the plan.
9

not be beyond the wit of somebody

formal not be too difficult for someone to do:
It's surely not beyond the wit of man to come up with a solution.
10

to wit

old use or formal used to introduce additional information which makes it clear exactly who or what you are talking about [= namely]:
This does not stop me giving you a little treat. To wit, an invitation to dine at Brown's.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary