From Middle English witty, witti, from Old English wittiġ, witiġ, ġewittiġ (“clever, wise”), from Proto-West Germanic *witīg, *witag, from Proto-Germanic *witagaz, *wītagaz (“knowing, wise, clever”), equivalent to wit + -y. Cognate with Middle Low German wittich, gewittich (“knowing, clever, wise, understanding”), German witzig (“funny, witty”), Norwegian Bokmål vettig, Norwegian Nynorsk vittig (“witty”).
- (obsolete) Wise, having good judgement.
- (archaic) Possessing a strong intellect or intellectual capacity; intelligent, skilful, ingenious.
- 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 7, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes […], book II, London: […] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821:
- It hath beene a witty invention […] to establish and ordaine certaine vaine and worthles markes, therewith to honor and recompence vertue […].
- Clever; amusingly ingenious.
- His speech was both witty and informative.
- Full of wit.
- His frequent quips mark him as particularly witty.
- Quick of mind; insightful; in possession of wits.
- She may have grown older, but she has grown no less witty.