WIT, WITS, At One’s Wit’s End or At One’s Wits’ End?


Wit means reasoning power, mind, memory, mental soundness, sanity, mental capability, mental soundness, ingenuity, astuteness of perception, astuteness of judgement, acumen, talent for banter, talent for persiflage (a style of treating a subject frivolously or flippantly), clever humour and apt humour.  

Wit is the ability to relate seemingly disparate things so as to illuminate or amuse the reader or listener.

Examples of sentences with the usage of ‘wit’:

Her wit is extraordinary.

His wit is exemplary.

Its wit is commendable.

Its wit earns the dog an extra bone for the day.

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for your wits to grow sharper.” –Bertrand Russell


Witty is an adjective, wittier and wittiest are the superlative and comparative forms of witty such as a witty exchange, a witty conversation.  

A witty person is the one with superior intellect: a thinking individual.

A witty person is the one who is imaginatively perceptive and an articulate individual.

A witty person is skilled in banter, skilled in persiflage.

Other adjectives are witless (unintelligence, foolish, out of one’s mind, out of his wits, scare somebody witless refers to out of his or her wits). The word witted is used in forming compound adjectives such as quick-witted, dim-witted, slow-witted, sharp-witted.

Wittily is an adjective, and wittiness and witticism are nouns.


Wits (plural noun): wits means the mental faculties or senses, quick understanding, some one with intelligence; the powers of intelligent observation, mental acuity, and keen perception.

Wits is a plural noun like news: wits means quick understanding, intelligence.

Examples of sentences with the usage of wits:

Have you ever lost your wits?

You need to have wits to deal with the challenges and confrontations of life.

You have to use your wits to get ahead with your life.

TDP has not the wits/wit enough to realize the mood of the voters in Andhra Pradesh at the time of Assembly elections in 2019 in which it lost to YSR CP.

IDIOMS related to WITS:

At one’s wit’s end or at one’s wits’ end: The idiom refers to not knowing what to do or what to say because of worry or because of desperation.

At one’s wits’ end means at the end of one’s ideas or mental resourced, and perplexed.

Examples with the usage of ‘at one’s wit’s end:

The farmers of Krishna district are at their wits’ end worrying about whether Amaravati the capital of Andhra Pradesh will remain in the district or another city will be chosen as the capital.

D. Kamaraju Sharma is at his wits’ end worrying about how to get a job after completing PhD in law.

At one’s wit’s end or at one’s wits’ end means at a loss for a moment of solving a problem.  

At one’s wit’s end and at one’s wits’ end: Note the apostrophe with wit (wit’s and wits’), and both are acceptable forms of expression. According to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary tenth edition, both idioms are acceptable: at one’s wit’s end and one’s wits’ end.

But according to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English Indian Edition (fourth edition), at one’s wits’ end is suggested: that is ‘at one’s wits’ end’– wits followed by the apostrophe in possession.

The Junior Jogi won’t eat anything but burgers and his parents are at their wits’ end.

The voters are at their wits’ end thinking about to which political party to vote who ideology is hardly different from one another.

“When a man is at his wits’ end it is not a cowardly thing to pray. It is the only way he can get in touch with Reality.” –Oswald Chambers

LIVE BY ONE’S WITS: Live by one’s wits means to provide for oneself by using cunning, ingenuity.

A BATTLE OF WITS: battle of wits is a contest or struggle and used figuratively.

GATHER OR COLLECT ONE’S WITS: gather or collect one’s wits means become calm again after an unexpected shock, calm after unexpected happening so that one can think clearly after the expected shock or happening.

HAVE/KEEP ONE’S WITS ABOUT ONE: Have or keep one’s wits about one refers to remain or be alert and ready to act.

People have to keep their wits about themselves when they are dealing with politicians at the time of elections.

SHARPEN SOMEBODY’S WITS: sharpen somebody’s wits means to make somebody more mentally alert

TO WIT: to wit means that is to say, namely but it is almost out of date in usage.

WIT AND WISDOM: Wit and wisdom refers to the combination of quick intelligence and good judgement and learning which could be reflected in a speaker or writer.


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