Definition of Retort

1. Noun. A quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one). "It brought a sharp rejoinder from the teacher"

Exact synonyms: Comeback, Counter, Rejoinder, Replication, Return, Riposte
Specialized synonyms: Back Talk, Backtalk, Lip, Mouth, Sass, Sassing
Generic synonyms: Reply, Response
Derivative terms: Come Back, Counter, Return, Return, Riposte

2. Verb. Answer back. "They retort that there was a traffic accident "
Exact synonyms: Come Back, Rejoin, Repay, Return, Riposte
Generic synonyms: Answer, Reply, Respond
Derivative terms: Comeback, Return, Riposte

3. Noun. A vessel where substances are distilled or decomposed by heat.
Specialized synonyms: Alembic
Group relationships: Still
Generic synonyms: Vessel

Definition of Retort

1. v. t. To bend or curve back; as, a retorted line.

2. v. i. To return an argument or a charge; to make a severe reply.

3. n. The return of, or reply to, an argument, charge, censure, incivility, taunt, or witticism; a quick and witty or severe response.

Definition of Retort

1. Noun. A sharp or witty reply, or one which turns an argument against its originator; a comeback. ¹

2. Noun. (chemistry) A flask with a rounded base and a long neck that is bent down and tapered, used to heat a liquid for distillation. ¹

3. Noun. A container in which material is subjected to high temperatures as part of an industrial manufacturing process, especially during the smelting and forging of metal. ¹

4. Verb. To say something sharp or witty in answer to a remark or accusation. ¹

5. Verb. To make a remark which reverses an argument upon its originator. ¹

6. Verb. To heat in a retort. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Retort

1. to answer back sharply [v -ED, -ING, -S]

Medical Definition of Retort

1. 1. The return of, or reply to, an argument, charge, censure, incivility, taunt, or witticism; a quick and witty or severe response. "This is called the retort courteous." (Shak) 2. [F. Retorte (cf. Sp. Retorta), fr. L. Retortus, p. P. Of retorquere. So named from its bent shape. See Retort. A vessel in which substances are subjected to distillation or decomposition by heat. It is made of different forms and materials for different uses, as a bulb of glass with a curved beak to enter a receiver for general chemical operations, or a cylinder or semicylinder of cast iron for the manufacture of gas in gas works. Tubulated retort, a retort having a tubulure for the introduction or removal of the substances which are to be acted upon. Synonym: Repartee, answer. Retort, Repartee. A retort is a short and pointed reply, turning back on an assailant the arguments, censure, or derision he had thrown out. A repartee is usually a good-natured return to some witty or sportive remark. See: Retort. Source: Websters Dictionary (01 Mar 1998)

Retort Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Retort

retort (current term)
retort stand

Literary usage of Retort

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. A Dictionary of Applied Chemistry by Thomas Edward Thorpe (1912)
"The lid of the upper retort is provided with a siphon pipe, ... The other end of the siphon is continued inside the retort for about 12 inches, ..."

2. The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and (1911)
"The column of material within the retort is thus caused to move downwards, and the tendency of the material to flux or dander is thereby prevented or ..."

3. Chemical Technology, Or, Chemistry in Its Applications to Arts and Manufactures by Charles Edward Groves, William Thorp, Friedrich Ludwig Knapp, Thomas Richardson, Edmund Ronalds, Henry Watts, William Joseph Dibdin (1900)
"lower retort/, which may be partly filled with firebrick or a series of baffle ... The gas leaves the lower retort in the form of a dense yellow vapour, ..."

4. Transactions of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and (1898)
"This limitation imposed the chief difficulty, owing to the necessity of obtaining a high degree of heat concentrated upon the retort. ..."

5. A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines: Containing a Clear Exposition by Andrew Ure (1844)
"retort. For producing coal gas, there are many modifications, varying in dimension and ... The circular retort, from twelve to twenty inches in diameter, ..."

6. The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General by Thomas Spencer Baynes (1888)
"The form of vertical retort originally in general use consisted of a cast-iron cylinder, circular or oval in cross section, 8 or 10 feet in height and about ..."

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