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What is synonym for "people who can very quickly think what to say". I mean like funny people who have great timing. Is there one exact word for that ability. Not "smart", "canny", "savvy" or "shrewd". Thank you.

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Perhaps too simple to post as a full answer, but in addition to the other suggestions and in the right context, a mere quick will sometimes be the best option. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 23 '13 at 23:36
...as will a mere sharp. – FumbleFingers Sep 23 '13 at 23:42
Quick-witted perhaps? – KeithS Sep 23 '13 at 23:46
up vote 2 down vote accepted


Joky; inclined to or characterised by quipping.


  1. A clever, witty remark often prompted by the occasion.
  2. A clever, often sarcastic remark; a gibe.

It can be used endearingly, as well as pejoratively, but also in both ways simultaneously (as determined by the context):

  • A couple so quippy and witty that I almost want to see them as supporting roles in every rom-com I can.
  • So funny. So quippy. So utterly watchable.
  • I think that's where Spidey works very well because he is so quippy and so funny.
  • were all people in the 1940s so quippy or is it just his Captain America?
  • Waid writes a comic called Ruse that I love, it ... the detective’s assistant, Emma Bishop, is such a great character. She comes off as smart even when she’s next to this super-genius, she’s really quippy and active in the story. She’s great, and
  • It helps that he is quippy, sexy, and intense. Again, who doesn't love Spike? Buffy- Buffy is so complicated.
  • She is so quippy and clever and I SO want to BE quippy and clever!
  • I wish that I was funny. You know those people who just are babbling along and people around them are dying laughing? I am not one of them. Or, maybe it would be great to be like someone who was really quippy, like Lorelai Gilmore. She always knows what to say, but then again (as it was pointed 0ut to me yesterday) she isn’t real, and it took someone days, weeks, or maybe months to write what she says. Is anyone really that sharp and quick on their feet?
  • My best friend, who I absolutely love and adore is starting to become really quippy and she puts me down all the time. Believe me I KNOW that she is joking and we are extremely close so I guess of all people she has the most agency to make these jokes, but at the same time it has gotten to the point where she rarely says nice things to me and her "jokes" are really getting to me.
  • OK, if I wanted to be really quippy, I'd say "Since I'm looking for interesting or intelligent engagement with folks, I'm looking for that which isn't here all right." But that's just because I am frustrated.

(all the examples are googlable)


Yeah, as one of the sentences calls it to attention:

quick on one's feet


clever, keen of intellect, swift of thought.

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As OED says, quip was originally: a sharp, sarcastic, or cutting remark, when it was first recorded back in the 1500s. But addressing current usage, they say later more generally: any clever, witty, or humorous remark; a witticism, an epigram. Whatever - I don't disagree with the possibility of using "quippy" in OP's context, but it's worth noting that it's about 2000 times less common than "witty" – FumbleFingers Sep 23 '13 at 22:39
Of course. But someone had already said "witty." Plus, "quippy" is kinda quippy in and of itself, whereas witty is, just, neutral. And when someone, like OP for example, decides to qualify someone as quippy in a positive light, it usually so happens that they wanna imply they wish they were quippy too. – Talia Ford Sep 23 '13 at 22:48
I am quippy, he is quippy, and you're quippy too – Talia Ford Sep 23 '13 at 22:51
@ Talia: You've probably just doubled Google's assessment of how common the word is! FWIW, GB has about 5000 results each for I am witty / I'm witty. It only has a dozen instances in total for I am quippy / I'm quippy - and my Google Chrome spellchecker underlines the word because it doesn't recognise it! But I do take your point that "quippy" is kinda quippy in and of itself. And there's no real danger of it not being understood by native speakers, even though they may never have heard that particular form before. – FumbleFingers Sep 23 '13 at 23:00
I didn't even try to search GB for this one. 'Quippy' is more jocular term than witty is (though, even 'witty' has some of it), thus is less formal. I'm surprised it's in GB at all. OP, if you're going to write in a style more formal than, say, columnistic, do not reach right away for 'quippy'. Try 'witty, and only if the tone has imposed itself as having become a more witty one should you be so quippy to use 'quippy.' But for the everyday, feel free to go with 'quippy'; it's more zingerish, wisecrackerish. – Talia Ford Sep 23 '13 at 23:20

The best "general" term I can think of is...

quick-witted - having a keenly alert mind, esp as used to avert danger, make effective reply, etc.

...but in many contexts (particularly, when the quick/effective reply is funny), plain witty is better.

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Thanx,, that'll serve my purpose .. – Prince Sep 23 '13 at 22:04
In American English, "witty" is much more commonly used, to the point that "quippy" may not be understood. – LCountee Jul 7 '14 at 18:22
@LCountee: It's the same story in British English. Maybe I'm unrealistically optimistic about the average person's vocabulary, but I'd still expect everyone to understand the usage. Nevertheless, quippy is so uncommon compared to witty I'd be inclined to wonder why a person would choose to use it (are they "showing off", or intending some subtle nuance that passes me by?). – FumbleFingers Jul 10 '14 at 11:29

Sometimes sharp is used in that way.

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What about "sharp" or "clever," perhaps?

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