1 a : a quick and witty reply *b : a succession or interchange of clever retorts : amusing and usually light sparring with words 2 : adroitness and cleverness in reply
The talk show host is a skillful interviewer whose deft use of repartee and quick-witted banter keeps his show moving at a lively, almost manic, pace.
Did you know?
One person often noted for her repartee was Dorothy Parker, writer and legendary member of the Algonquin Round Table. Upon hearing that Calvin Coolidge had died, she replied, “How can they tell?” The taciturn Coolidge obviously didn’t have a reputation for being the life of the party, but he himself came out with a particularly famous repartee on one occasion. When a dinner guest approached him and told him she had bet someone she could get him to say more than two words, he replied, “You lose.” “Repartee,” our word for such a quick, sharp reply (and for skill with such replies) comes from the French “repartie,” of the same meaning. “Repartie” comes from the French verb “repartir,” meaning “to retort.”
"The good-humoured little attorney tapped at Mr. Pickwick’s door, which was opened with great alacrity by Sam Weller." (Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers)
Did you know?
"I have not that alacrity of spirit / Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have," says Shakespeare’s King Richard III in the play that bears his name. When Shakespeare penned those words some 400 years ago, “alacrity” was less than a hundred years old. Our English word derives from the Latin word “alacer,” which means “lively.” It denotes physical quickness coupled with eagerness or enthusiasm. Are there any other words in English from Latin “alacer”? Yes — “allegro,” which is used as a direction in music with the meaning “at a brisk lively tempo.” It came to us via Italian (where it can mean “merry”) and is assumed to be ultimately from “alacer.”
who is better known as Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland), was not only a writer but a photographer, Anglican deacon, mathematician and logician as well. Dodgson has been noted for knack at word play, logic, fantasy, and literary nonsense. Dodgson enjoyed creating word puzzles that resulted in silly (yet valid, not to be mistaken with true) outcomes, such as:
"No duck is willing to waltz. No officer is unwilling to waltz. All my poultry are ducks.”
By putting the premises into arithmetic notation (A = duck, B = willing to waltz C = officer, D = my poultry) and canceling middle terms to find out a valid conclusion, the result of the logical equation will lead to another nonsensical premise.
No A is B All A is non-B No C is non-B All D is A
leads to canceling of the middle (like) terms:
All A is non-B No C is non-B
which leads to:
No C is A All D is A
brings you to the conclusion:
No C is D or No D is C
No officer is my poultry or none of my poultry is an officer.