badinage

Stiff corporate types don't tend to be too fond of badinage, or playful conversation, during important meetings, but sometimes a witty joke about the manager's ugly tie is just the right thing to lighten the mood.

Badinage comes from the French word badiner, which means "to joke." In literature, there is no better place to find examples of badinage and witty wordplay than in Shakespeare's comedic plays. You can also find great examples in sitcom television, stand-up comedy, and the everyday frivolous banter among siblings and friends.

Definitions of badinage
  1. noun
    frivolous banter
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    type of:
    backchat, banter, give-and-take, raillery
    light teasing repartee
Commonly confused words

Vocabulary Shout-Out: Anthony Lane for "Spruce" (Adj.)

Film critic Anthony Lane uses spruce in its rare, adjectival form in a review of "Fast & Furious 6" in this week's New Yorker.

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Word Family