- wit [ wıt ] noun *1. ) singular or uncount the ability to use words in a clever way to make people laugh:He is a man of great wit, sensitivity, and passion.a dry/biting/acerbic/caustic wit (=the tendency to say clever and slightly cruel things): Perelman was known for his acerbic wit.a ) count someone who uses words in a clever and funny way:a celebrated witb ) singular or uncount the ability to make people laugh without using words:The original film had both wit and poignancy.2. ) wits plural your ability to think quickly and make sensible decisions:quick wits: a young hero admired for his courage and quick witsgather/collect your wits (=try to start thinking clearly): Claudia paused, trying to gather her wits enough to reply.keep/have your wits about you: Keep your wits about you at all times.a battle of wits: the battle of wits between the hero and the villains3. ) singular or uncount FORMAL intelligence:You'd think they'd have the wit to send someone who could speak the language.at your wits' endso worried and tired because of your problems that you cannot think of any more ways of solving themfrighten/scare the wits out of someone or frighten/scare someone out of their witsto make someone feel extremely frightenedlive off/by your witsto be very poor but manage to get the things you need to live by being very cleverpit your wits againstto use all of your intelligence to try to defeat someone or solve a problem:The attraction of mountaineering may be the challenge of pitting your wits against the changing elements.to wit LITERARYused before giving details about something that you have already mentioned:They traveled the world collecting animals, to wit: big cats, monkeys, and even elephants.
Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.