A zinger is a sharp, funny remark that takes the listener by surprise. A zinger isn’t just a snappy comeback or insult, it’s a clever play on words.
Dorothy Parker, an American writer (1893-1967), is queen of the zingers. Some favorites: “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue” and “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.” Zingers tend to be funny, and they're often quick, sharp, and even a little mean. Friends often trade zingers as they playfully make fun of each other. Zingers are also called quips or one-liners.