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retort1

[ri-tawrt] /rɪˈtɔrt/
verb (used with object)
1.
to reply to, usually in a sharp or retaliatory way; reply in kind to.
2.
to return (an accusation, epithet, etc.) upon the person uttering it.
3.
to answer (an argument or the like) by another to the contrary.
noun
4.
a severe, incisive, or witty reply, especially one that counters a first speaker's statement, argument, etc.
5.
the act of retorting.
Origin
1590-1600
1590-1600; < Latin retortus (past participle of retorquēre to bend back), equivalent to re- re- + torqu(ēre) to twist, bend + -tus past participle suffix, with -qut- > -t-
Related forms
retorter, noun
Synonyms
1. retaliate. 4. riposte, rejoinder, response. See answer.

retort2

[ri-tawrt] /rɪˈtɔrt/
noun
1.
Chemistry.
  1. a vessel, commonly a glass bulb with a long neck bent downward, used for distilling or decomposing substances by heat.
  2. a refractory chamber, generally cylindrically shaped, within which some substance, as ore or coal, is heated as part of a smelting or manufacturing process.
  3. an airtight, usually cylindrical vessel of fire clay or iron, used in the destructive distillation chiefly of coal and wood in the manufacture of illuminating gas.
2.
a sterilizer for food cans.
verb (used with object)
3.
to sterilize food after it is sealed in a container, by steam or other heating methods.
4.
Chemistry. to subject (shale, ore, etc.) to heat and possibly reduced pressure in order to produce fuel oil, metal, etc.
Origin
1550-60; < Middle French retorte < Medieval Latin retorta, noun use of feminine of Latin retortus; see retort1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for retort
  • The skeptics retort that disease is a more likely explanation for the wrist bones.
  • He lost no opportunity for indulging in the biting wit and faculty for stinging retort for which he is celebrated.
  • The suggestion that liquor licenses were too high brought the retort that they were not high enough.
  • The usual retort is naturally not wanting-that she is used to such things.
  • They worked away with retort and furnace and reagent through five hundred years, but alchemy was still a chaos.
  • Sceptics retort that the calm of markets is an illusion caused by benign economic conditions and excess liquidity.
  • The encyclopedia's bosses retort that such concerns are overblown and that taking advertising would dent its appeal to users.
  • But unions retort that the state already has the authority to impose its will on public workers if need be.
  • Supporters retort that people with strong religious convictions respect faith, whatever its form.
  • Pessimists retort that such forecasts are over-spiced.
British Dictionary definitions for retort

retort1

/rɪˈtɔːt/
verb
1.
(when transitive, takes a clause as object) to utter (something) quickly, sharply, wittily, or angrily, in response
2.
to use (an argument) against its originator; turn the tables by saying (something)
noun
3.
a sharp, angry, or witty reply
4.
an argument used against its originator
Derived Forms
retorter, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin retorquēre to twist back, from re- + torquēre to twist, wrench

retort2

/rɪˈtɔːt/
noun
1.
a glass vessel with a round bulb and long tapering neck that is bent down, used esp in a laboratory for distillation
2.
a vessel in which large quantities of material may be heated, esp one used for heating ores in the production of metals or heating coal to produce gas
verb
3.
(transitive) to heat in a retort
Word Origin
C17: from French retorte, from Medieval Latin retorta, from Latin retorquēre to twist back; see retort1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for retort
retort
c.1557, from L. retortus, pp. of retorquere "turn back," from re- "back" + torquere "to twist" (see thwart). The noun is 1600, from the verb.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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retort in Medicine

retort re·tort (rĭ-tôrt', rē'tôrt')
n.
A closed laboratory vessel with an outlet tube, used for distillation, sublimation, or decomposition by heat.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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retort in Science
retort
  (rĭ-tôrt', rē'-)   
A glass laboratory vessel in the shape of a bulb with a long, downward-pointing outlet tube. It is used for distillation or decomposition by heat.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for retort

vessel used for distillation of substances that are placed inside and subjected to heat. The simple form of retort, used in some laboratories, is a glass or metal bulb having a long, curved spout through which the distillate may pass to enter a receiving vessel. The design dates back to the cucurbit (flask) used by medieval alchemists.

Learn more about retort with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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