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Alternative forms[edit]


From after- +‎ wit.


afterwit (countable and uncountable, plural afterwits)

  1. Wisdom which comes after the event.
    • 1595, Robert Southwell, “Losse in Delayes”, in Saint Peters Complaynt With Other Poems[1], London: Gabriel Cawood, page 50:
      After wits are dearely bought, / Let thy fore-wit guide thy thought.
    • 1692, Roger L’Estrange (translator), Fables of Æsop, London: R. Sare et al., Fable 162, “A Nightingale and a Bat,”[2]
      There’s No Recalling of what’s Gone and Past; so that After-Wit comes too Late when the Mischief is Done.
    • 1760, Laurence Sterne, chapter 12, in The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman[3], volume 1, page 63:
      Trust me, dear Yorick, this unwary pleasantry of thine will sooner or later bring thee into scrapes and difficulties, which no after-wit can extricate thee out of.
    • 1894, “On the Relation of Tennyson’s Life to His Works”, in M. F. Libby, editor, Selections from Tennyson[4], Toronto: Copp, Clark, page 11:
      There is always a danger of afterwit in estimating the early achievements of men who have achieved fame [] .
  2. The lack of forethought.
    Antonym: forewit
  3. A good comeback, retort one thinks of only after the end of discussion or after leaving a social gathering.
    Synonyms: l'esprit de l'escalier, staircase wit, (neologism) retrotort