retort

A retort is a short, clever response to someone's comment or question. If you want to keep the peace during dinner, you should probably bite your tongue instead of making sarcastic retorts to everything your little sister says.

Today retort is used as both a noun and a verb, and both come from 16th- and 17th-century sources meaning "to twist or turn back." To retort is to make a comeback, or a quick, witty answer or remark. It can be a form of payback when someone tries to insult or tease another person, and often, the perfect retort doesn't occur to you till later, when you think "Oh! I wish I had said that earlier!"

Primary Meanings of retort

1.
nv
a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one)
answer back
2.
n
a vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat
Full Definitions of retort
1

n a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one)

Synonyms:
comeback, counter, rejoinder, replication, return, riposte
Types:
back talk, backtalk, lip, mouth, sass, sassing
an impudent or insolent rejoinder
Type of:
reply, response
the speech act of continuing a conversational exchange

v answer back

Synonyms:
come back, rejoin, repay, return, riposte
Type of:
answer, reply, respond
react verbally
2

n a vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat

Types:
alembic
an obsolete kind of container used for distillation; two retorts connected by a tube
Type of:
vessel
an object used as a container (especially for liquids)

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