re·tort 1 (rĭ-tôrt)
v. re·tort·ed, re·tort·ing, re·torts
a. To reply, especially to answer in a quick, caustic, or witty manner. See Synonyms at answer.
b. To present a counterargument to (an argument or accusation).
2. Archaic To return in kind; pay back.
1. To make a reply, especially a quick, caustic, or witty one.
2. To present a counterargument.
3. Archaic To return like for like; retaliate.
1. A quick incisive reply, especially one that turns the first speaker's words to that speaker's own disadvantage.
2. The act or an instance of retorting.
[Latin retorquēre, retort-, to bend back, retort : re-, re- + torquēre, to bend, twist; see terkw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.