One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A quick, clever reply to an insult or criticism.
retort, counter, rejoinder, sally, return, retaliation, answer, reply, responseView synonyms
- ‘The attack provoked a riposte, and the quarrel ranged far beyond the domain of rhetorical theory.’
- ‘One-liners were bouncing around my head, ripostes to every single barb, especially those from the fat bloke.’
- ‘We bumped into each other at a professional meeting, where he greeted me with a typical smiling riposte: ‘I always thought I was going to hear much more of you!’
- ‘Biting back her instinctive urge to make a biting riposte in defence of her twin, Alicia merely shook her head.’
- ‘The dialogue, too, feels like piecework, as if the bons mots and ripostes have been assembled from a library of index cards.’
- ‘Such a direct riposte is rare and the opportunity to make it courteously and publicly, rarer still.’
- ‘He's once again cooler than cool, coming up with witty ripostes we've heard before and powerful speeches that, once again, prove his coolness.’
- ‘The riposte to such cultural protectionism is that it is cynical, self-interested and reflects a cultural conservatism and snooty suspicion of popular culture by certain political elites.’
- ‘But much of this critical riposte assaults our protagonist's dignity more than is necessary for an appreciation of the film.’
- ‘I saw him cutting off distinguished authors at the ankles with short, savage ripostes that made one wince.’
- ‘Could the woman who repackaged star quality for the post-Vietnam age do what any successful talk show host has to: pretend to listen to other people while thinking up witty ripostes?’
- ‘The sexual chemistry between Wilks and Gray is palpable as they bounce ripostes off each other with wry wit and superb timing.’
2A quick return thrust in fencing.
- ‘Forcing the blade aside, he delivered a crushing riposte, thrusting with his weapon towards his midriff.’
- ‘Lex parried his father's attacks without trying too hard and pressed his own ripostes well.’
- ‘His every thrust was blocked or parried, and the riposte that followed each left him with another leaking wound.’
- ‘A deflection wide with the right and a riposte with left and she fell.’
- ‘Grunting, the youth swung wildly in a violent riposte, not caring what he hit.’
1with direct speech Make a quick, clever reply to an insult or criticism.‘‘You've got a strange sense of honour,’ Grant riposted’
retort, counter, rejoin, return, retaliate, hurl back, fling back, snap back, answer, reply, respond, say in responseView synonyms
- ‘‘Too soon to tell,’ he laconically riposted.’
- ‘Besides, the breeze along the Nile will cool you down,’ I riposted.’
- ‘‘And you could try packing a bit lighter,’ he riposted, ‘You know you'll never wear all that, even if we're on Greenwood for a year.’’
- ‘To which Reginald riposted: ‘Oh yes you do, if you live in the South Hams, matey.’’
- ‘‘Hey, I've only got these or flip-flops,’ she ripostes.’
- ‘‘You think that science and progress provide all the answers,’ she riposted.’
- ‘We can also protect against hull breeches and heat,’ Dann ripostes.’
- ‘‘You and a number of people tried to cash in on the thing and when you didn't get your way, you tried to make sure I didn't get it off the ground,’ the witness riposted.’
- ‘‘Not pure, but poor,’ she riposted, winking at him.’
- ‘At one point they threatened Carnot, who riposted that they were ‘ridiculous dictators'.’
- ‘I riposted cleverly, ‘I wasn't aware America had a food culture.’’
2no object Make a quick return thrust in fencing.
- ‘Jack yielded the parry, rolling his wrist into second to protect his right leg, and then jumped back again without riposting.’
- ‘A soldier went down in a flash of steel as he neatly riposted his clumsy strike.’
- ‘He stepped, lunged, parried, riposted, all the movements flowing into the next, a dance of incredible intricacy.’
- ‘They jabbed, parried, charged and riposted with such speed that the blades were indistinguishable blurs of reflected light now that the sun had risen over the horizon.’
- ‘But out of nowhere comes her own blade; she twists and blocks me, then ripostes.’
Early 18th century: from French risposte (noun), risposter (verb), from Italian risposta ‘response’.
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