Difference Wiki

Witticism vs. Wit: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss || Updated on May 23, 2024
Witticism is a clever or funny remark, while wit is the ability to think and express oneself in a clever, humorous way. A witticism is a product of wit.

Key Differences

Witticism refers to a specific clever or humorous remark or statement. It highlights a single instance of witty expression, often bringing humor or insight through wordplay or a sharp observation. Wit, on the other hand, is a broader term that describes a person's overall ability to think quickly and make clever, humorous comments. It encompasses the mental sharpness and inventiveness that enable someone to produce witticisms.
In conversation, a witticism might be a single memorable joke or comment that stands out, whereas wit describes a consistent trait of someone who frequently makes such remarks. Witticism is the end result, while wit is the inherent talent or skill.
Literary works often feature characters known for their wit, demonstrating their intelligence and humor through multiple witticisms. A person recognized for their wit is likely to be seen as charming, entertaining, and quick-thinking.
Both terms are associated with humor and cleverness, but witticism is about the individual remarks, and wit is about the general capacity to create those remarks. An author might be known for their wit if their writings are filled with witticisms.

Comparison Chart


Clever or funny remark
Ability to think and express oneself in a clever, humorous way

Part of Speech



Specific remark
General trait or skill

Usage Context

Single instances of humor
Consistent, overall characteristic


The remark itself
The ability to make such remarks

Witticism and Wit Definitions


A remark showing verbal cleverness.
The comedian's witticism was the highlight of the show.


The ability to think quickly and humorously.
Her wit always made conversations interesting.


A witty comment or statement.
He was known for his sharp witticisms during meetings.


Cleverness and quickness of mind.
His wit was evident in every discussion.


An instance of clever humor.
Her witticism about the weather was both accurate and amusing.


The talent for making clever remarks.
She admired his wit and intelligence.


A clever or humorous remark.
Her witticism made everyone at the table laugh.


The quality of being amusingly clever.
His wit kept the audience entertained throughout the speech.


A funny, insightful statement.
His latest witticism perfectly captured the mood of the moment.


Mental sharpness and inventiveness.
Her wit was unmatched, making her the life of the party.


A witty remark.


The natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence.


A witty remark


Often wits Practical intelligence; shrewdness or resourcefulness
Living by one's wits.


A witty saying; a sentence or phrase which is affectedly witty; an attempt at wit; a conceit.
He is full of conceptions, points of epigram, and witticisms; all which are below the dignity of heroic verse.


Wits Sound mental faculties; sanity
Scared out of my wits.


A message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter


(Archaic) A person of exceptional intelligence.


The ability to express oneself intelligently in a playful or humorous manner, often in overturning audience expectations
A writer with a scintillating wit.


A person noted for this ability, especially in conversation
“My mother, the family wit and teaser, knew better than to joke about the disaster” (Donald Hall).


Intelligent playfulness or humor in expression, as in speech, writing, or art
Novels known for their wit and inventiveness.


To be or become aware of; learn.


To know.


He's gone completely out of his wits.


The senses.


Intellectual ability; faculty of thinking, reasoning.
Where she has gone to is beyond the wit of man to say.


The ability to think quickly; mental cleverness, especially under short time constraints.
My father had a quick wit and a steady hand.


Intelligence; common sense.
The opportunity was right in front of you, and you didn't even have the wit to take it!


Humour, especially when clever or quick.
The best man's speech was hilarious, full of wit and charm.


A person who tells funny anecdotes or jokes; someone witty.
Your friend is quite a wit, isn't he?


Know, be aware of constructed with of when used intransitively.
You committed terrible actions — to wit, murder and theft — and should be punished accordingly.
They are meddling in matters that men should not wit of.


(Southern American English) with


To know; to learn.
Brethren, we do you to wit [make you to know] of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.
Thou wost full little what thou meanest.
We witen not what thing we prayen here.
When that the sooth in wist.


Mind; intellect; understanding; sense.
Who knew the wit of the Lord? or who was his counselor?
A prince most prudent, of an excellentAnd unmatched wit and judgment.
Will puts in practice what wit deviseth.
He wants not wit the dander to decline.


A mental faculty, or power of the mind; - used in this sense chiefly in the plural, and in certain phrases; as, to lose one's wits; at one's wits' end, and the like.
I will stare him out of his wits.


Felicitous association of objects not usually connected, so as to produce a pleasant surprise; also. the power of readily combining objects in such a manner.
The definition of wit is only this, that it is a propriety of thoughts and words; or, in other terms, thoughts and words elegantly adapted to the subject.
Wit which discovers partial likeness hidden in general diversity.
Wit lying most in the assemblage of ideas, and putting those together with quickness and variety wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, thereby to make up pleasant pictures in the fancy.


A person of eminent sense or knowledge; a man of genius, fancy, or humor; one distinguished for bright or amusing sayings, for repartee, and the like.
In Athens, where books and wits were ever busier than in any other part of Greece, I find but only two sorts of writings which the magistrate cared to take notice of; those either blasphemous and atheistical, or libelous.
Intemperate wits will spare neither friend nor foe.
A wit herself, Amelia weds a wit.
But my five wits nor my five senses canDissuade one foolish heart from serving thee.


A message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter


Mental ability;
He's got plenty of brains but no common sense


A witty amusing person who makes jokes


What is a witticism?

A witticism is a clever or humorous remark.

Can someone be described as having witticisms?

No, someone is described as having wit, and they create witticisms.

How does wit differ from witticism?

Wit is the general ability to make clever, humorous remarks, while a witticism is a specific instance of such a remark.

Who is a famous figure known for their wit?

Oscar Wilde is famous for his wit.

Is wit always humorous?

Yes, wit typically involves humor and cleverness.

Is a witticism always funny?

A witticism is usually intended to be funny or clever, but its impact can vary.

Can wit be appreciated in writing?

Yes, wit can be conveyed effectively through writing.

Do witticisms need context to be funny?

Often, witticisms rely on context to be fully appreciated.

Are witticisms always verbal?

Generally, yes, witticisms are verbal remarks, but they can also be written.

Can wit be developed?

Wit can be honed through practice and exposure to clever, humorous thinking.

What makes a remark a witticism?

Its cleverness, humor, and insightful nature make it a witticism.

Can wit be offensive?

Wit can be offensive if used inappropriately or insensitively.

Do all witticisms get laughs?

Not all witticisms elicit laughter; some may be more appreciated for their cleverness.

Is wit the same as sarcasm?

Wit is broader and often more positive, while sarcasm is a form of wit that can be biting or ironic.

Can children have wit?

Yes, children can display wit, though it may be less refined.

Can wit be used in serious contexts?

Yes, wit can be used to lighten serious discussions or provide insight.

Are witticisms a sign of intelligence?

They often indicate quick thinking and verbal cleverness, traits associated with intelligence.

Is wit important in comedy?

Wit is a crucial element in many forms of comedy.

Is wit a valued trait?

Yes, wit is often highly valued in social and intellectual contexts.

Can witticisms be pre-planned?

Yes, witticisms can be thought out in advance or made spontaneously.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons