A riposte is a clever comeback, one of those witty responses that you usually think after the fact — when it's too late to say them.

Winston Churchill was famous for his skill with a riposte, like when his friend Lady Astor said that if he were her husband, she'd poison his tea, and he responded, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it!" This kind of quick, funny retort is a classic riposte. Originally, the word riposte came from a French word for a certain kind of lunge in fencing, and it still has this same meaning today.

Definitions of riposte

n (fencing) a counterattack made immediately after successfully parrying the opponents lunge

Type of:
counterattack, countermove
an attack by a defending force against an attacking enemy force in order to regain lost ground or cut off enemy advance units etc.

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

comeback, counter, rejoinder, replication, retort, return
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 make a return thrust

“his opponent riposted
Type of:
hurl, hurtle, lunge, thrust
make a thrusting forward movement

v answer back

come back, rejoin, repay, retort, return
Type of:
answer, reply, respond
react verbally

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