Wit Literary Device

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Wit is a biting or perceptive kind of humour. It includes clever banter, sharp comebacks, and dry, one-line jokes. It is often pessimistic or insulting, which is what provides it with its characteristic sharpness. Wit may be considered to be ‘sharpness’ of intelligence directed towards a high form of humour. One key hallmark of wit is that it often takes a second to figure out.

The ability to think quickly is called Wit

He has a great wit, as evidenced by the laughs he got at that party.


Wit combines many aspects of the benefits of the use of intelligence and applies them in a exclusive and interesting way by making a clever or relevant point. It recaps a situation in a very concise way often with very few words and sometimes with great profoundness. Great wit is generally accompanied with high Intelligence. High intelligence is probably a pre-requisite for great wit.

Wit has originated from an old English term wit, which means “to know.” It is a literary device used to make the readers laugh. Over the years, its meanings has kept changing. Today, it is related with laughter and comedy. It is, in fact, a clever expression of thought; whether harmless or aggressive, with or without any disparaging intent toward something or someone.

A witty remark is one that goes over people’s heads at first, but that they then get and laugh at after a few moments. Wittiness is a subjective quality – for some people, a line will be immediately understood and therefore not very witty in spite of being funny or clever). But other people might hear the same line and need to process it for a moment before they get it. To them, the line would be witty.



The Importance of Wit

Like other forms of humor, wit is just fun to read. We tend to admire wit and find it delightful, so wittiness is a great quality for a hero to have – it shows that he/she is not only a brave fighter, but also has a powerful mind. In addition, this importance on humor can help show how level-headed the hero is in the face of danger. Where many of us would be panicking or running away, the heroes stand their ground; and not only that, but they also have the presence of mind to come up with a witty remark at the same time.


Wit is a form of intelligent humour, the ability to say or write things that are clever and usually funny. A wit is a person skilled at making clever and funny remarks. 


Wit is now most commonly thought of as clever expression – whether aggressive or harmless, that is, with or without derogatory intent toward someone or something in particular. We also tend to think of wit as being characterized by a mocking or paradoxical quality, evoking laughter through apt phrasing. Even today, however, wit retains the medieval sense of intelligence, insofar as it is viewed as an intellectual form of humor.

Wit is created by a combination of intelligence traits such as:
  • high contextual perception: understanding the context behind situations
  • high verbal intelligence: linguistic fluency, vocabulary and grammar
  • contextual creativity: being able to twist situations and present them from a new perspective
  • processing speed: being able to process the situation and respond quickly.
as well as personality traits such asmj  
  • humor, irony, sarcasm, charm, arrogance, provocation
  • personality maturity: with maturity defined as per Emmanuel Vaillant’s classification of defence mechanisms
  • extroversion: a tendency to externalize one’s thoughts

Not all intelligent people use wit, but those who are good at wit possess the traits above.

Wit is frequently used in literature, public speeches, media, politics, everyday conversation, and many other fields of life. An inferior form of wit lies in the use of word play, puns, oxymorons, and paradoxes, whereas higher wit appears in the use of metaphors, conceits, and arguments. By intelligent wit, writers mock the social faults and idiocies of society; often using contradictory expressions, which appear to appreciate those faults, but, in fact, they are disparaging.