Puzzler's Corner

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 10, 2018 is:

repartee • \rep-er-TEE\  • noun

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 : skill in repartee


"One of my favorite parts of that scene was Kim's repartee with him, trying to show how smart she is, him pretending to forget the case and her knowing it—all just so he could test her." — Patrick Fabian, quoted in Variety, 11 Sept. 2018

"The joy of the romantic comedy lies less in its mise en scène, and more in its witty repartee and character chemistry…. The will-they-won't-they tension is enough for the movie to power through the silliest moments. — David Sims, The Atlantic, 21 June 2018

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 itself is formed from the French verb repartir, meaning "to retort."

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