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[twit] /twɪt/
verb (used with object), twitted, twitting.
to taunt, tease, ridicule, etc., with reference to anything embarrassing; gibe at.
Synonyms: jeer at, mock, insult, deride.
to reproach or upbraid.
an act of twitting.
a derisive reproach; taunt; gibe.
Origin of twit1
1520-30; aphetic variant of obsolete atwite, Middle English atwiten, Old English ætwītan to taunt, equivalent to æt- at1 + wītan to blame Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for twitting
Historical Examples
  • He knocked me down with the davit-block, for twitting him about that girl of his, that was drowned swimming after him.

    Rattlin the Reefer Edward Howard
  • Now they regained their sway over him by twitting him about being afraid of his wife.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • Stop nagging, twitting, insinuating, suspecting those whose love you wish to hold.

    Supreme Personality Delmer Eugene Croft
  • In 1804 Beethoven wrote him a twitting allusion to these girls.

  • On the rear platform a cheery young mechanic was twitting the conductor and occasionally making a remark to a fresh passenger.

    Toasts William Pittenger
  • I am making no complaint of the sly satisfaction which Alice seemingly takes in twitting me with my weakness.

    The House Eugene Field
  • Hell be twitting me of how I robbed him, when I had no more to do with the loss of his money thanthan you did.

    Jack Ranger's Gun Club Clarence Young
  • I retorted that I'd concede him a place among the mushrooms—fancy my twitting any one of mushroomery!

    Yellowstone Nights Herbert Quick
  • Yet in my heart of hearts that afternoon I had been twitting Mr Crimble for saying his prayers!

    Memoirs of a Midget Walter de la Mare
  • These wretches are twitting me with what they gave me before—before—oh Amal, you understand me?'

    Hypatia Charles Kingsley
British Dictionary definitions for twitting


verb twits, twitting, twitted
(transitive) to tease, taunt, or reproach, often in jest
(US & Canadian, informal) a nervous or excitable state
(rare) a reproach; taunt
Word Origin
Old English ætwītan, from æt against + wītan to accuse; related to Old High German wīzan to punish


(informal, mainly Brit) a foolish or stupid person; idiot
Word Origin
C19: from twit1 (originally in the sense: a person given to twitting)
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 twitting



1520s, shortened form of atwite, from Old English ætwitan "to blame, reproach," from æt "at" + witan "to blame," from Proto-Germanic *witanan (cf. Old English wite, Old Saxon witi, Old Norse viti "punishment, torture;" Old High German wizzi "punishment," wizan "to punish;" Dutch verwijten, Old High German firwizan, German verweisen "to reproach, reprove," Gothic fraweitan "to avenge"), from PIE root *weid- "to see" (see vision). For sense evolution, cf. Latin animadvertere, literally "to give heed to, observe," later "to chastise, censure, punish."


"foolish, stupid and ineffectual person," 1934, British slang, popular 1950s-60s, crossed over to U.S. with British sitcoms. It probably developed from twit (v.) in the sense of "reproach," but it may be influenced by nitwit.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for twitting

twist slowly in the wind

verb phrase

To suffer protracted humiliation, obloquy, regret, etc: The second mistake was to let Sherrill twist slowly in the wind/ just letting you twist slowly, slowly in the wind

[1973+; perhaps coined by John Ehrlichman, an aide of President Richard Nixon, fr the gruesome image of a hanging body]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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