A rejoinder usually means a witty comeback. If someone asks you a silly question like, “Are you painting?” when you are holding a paint can and a brush, your rejoinder could be, “No, I’m just doing my nails.”

The word rejoinder comes from the Middle French word rejoindre, which meant to answer a legal charge. The meaning of a witty retort developed from the legal meaning. You often think of the best rejoinders long after the crucial moments have passed, which can be really frustrating.

Definitions of rejoinder
  1. noun

    a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one)

    “it brought a sharp
    rejoinder from the teacher”
    comeback, counter, replication, retort, return, riposte
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    back talk, backtalk, lip, mouth, sass, sassing

    an impudent or insolent rejoinder
    type of:

    reply, response

    the speech act of continuing a conversational exchange

  2. noun

    (law) a pleading made by a defendant in response to the plaintiff’s replication

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    type of:


    (law) a statement in legal and logical form stating something on behalf of a party to a legal proceeding

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