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[rep-er-tee, -tey, -ahr-] /ˌrɛp ərˈti, -ˈteɪ, -ɑr-/
a quick, witty reply.
conversation full of such replies.
skill in making such replies.
Origin of repartee
1635-45; < French repartie retort, noun use of feminine past participle of repartir, Middle French, equivalent to re- re- + partir to part
2. banter, sparring, fencing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for repartee
  • Do not be intimidated, but do not expect much repartee or laughter either.
  • He is candid, and a little coarse, his repartee sprinkled with curses and off-color jokes.
  • There was no give-and-take with the ventriloquist, no repartee.
  • He is masterly in his use of television, good at the small gesture, quick in repartee.
  • In his world, lessons were delivered with sharp lyrics, appealing music and repartee.
  • In one amusing encounter, he is a superconfident insult comedian without an ounce of repartee.
  • The pool game generated theatrical flourishes and cabaret repartee.
  • But two more months of let's-have-lunch repartee ensued.
  • The other story also illustrates an unexpected gift of repartee.
  • Between transmissions came long beeps and blurts that effectively demolished any repartee or spontaneity.
British Dictionary definitions for repartee


a sharp, witty, or aphoristic remark made as a reply
terse rapid conversation consisting of such remarks
skill in making sharp witty replies or conversation
Word Origin
C17: from French repartie, from repartir to retort, from re- + partir to go away
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 repartee

1640s, "quick remark," from French repartie "an answering blow or thrust" (originally a fencing term), noun use of fem. past participle of Old French repartir "to reply promptly, start out again," from re- "back" (see re-) + partir "to part, depart, start" (see part (n.)). In 17c. often spelled reparty (see -ee). Meaning "a series of sharp rejoinders exchanged" is from 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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