Wit idioms


Here is a list of idiomatic expressions using the word wit.

At one’s wit’s end

When you are at your wit’s end, you are at the limits of your intellectual resources.

When you are at your wit’s end, you are so worried or upset because you don’t know what to do.

Brevity is the soul of wit.

This is a saying from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It means that jokes are funnier if they are shorter. This expression also indicates the need to express ideas using fewer words.

Frighten one out of one’s wits / scare one out of one’s wits

To frighten somebody out of their wits is to frighten them so badly.

The expressions ‘frighten one out of one’s mind’ or ‘scare one out of one’s mind’ has the same meaning.

The expression ‘scare the wits out of someone’ has very similar meaning.

Get one’s wits about one / have one’s wits about one

To get your wits about you is to think clearly when you are under pressure.

The expression ‘keep one’s wits about (one)’ also has the same meaning.

Live by one’s wits

To live by your wits is to survive just by being clever.

Match wits (with someone)

To match wits with somebody is to prove that intellectually you are just as capable as them.

An ounce of discretion is worth a pound of wit

This is a proverb. Before telling jokes you should think whether it is appropriate or not.

Sharp wit

When you have a sharp wit you are quite good at making jokes and funny comments.

A battle of wits

A battle of wits is a situation in which two people try to beat each other by using their intelligence.

A half-wit

A half-wit is a stupid person.

Frighten/scare the hell out of somebody

To frighten the hell out of somebody is to frighten them so badly.

Gather your wits

To gather your wits is to make an effort to think more clearly.