There are 2 main definitions of retort in English:

retort1

Line breaks: re¦tort
Pronunciation: /rɪˈtɔːt
 
/

verb

1 [reporting verb] Say something in answer to a remark, typically in a sharp, angry, or witty manner: [with direct speech]: ‘No need to be rude,’ retorted Isabel [with clause]: he retorted that this was nonsense
More example sentences
  • It takes every ounce of self-control that I have to not retort back with a scathing remark about what a fool she is.
  • When he had pulled out of a film, it was said that he was a victim of stress, but he refuted those claims, retorting that he simply hadn't wanted to do a movie at that point.
  • Patient and genial, Ms. Sandhya took the children into confidence from the very start, retorting with jokes, poetry and the occasional repartee to drive home a point.
Synonyms
answer, reply, respond, say in response, acknowledge, return, counter, rejoin, riposte, retaliate, hurl back, fling back, snap back;
round on someone, come back
2 [with object] archaic Repay (an insult or injury): it was now his time to retort the humiliation
More example sentences
  • This enraged his domestics, who retorted the insult by blows.
  • Pipes, though a little disconcerted, far from being disabled by the blow, in a trice retorted the compliment with his truncheon.
2.1Turn (an insult or accusation) back on the person who has issued it: he was resolute to retort the charge of treason on his foes
More example sentences
  • When confronted about Fischer's comments in interviews, Amis retorted with some insults of his own.
  • He was relentless on verbal observations about her body, and she had begun to pick up the habit of grinding her teeth in order to save her from retorting an obscenity back at him.
  • It is human nature that if you are insulted by someone, you will retort the insult.
2.2Use (an opponent’s argument) against them: the answer they make to us may very easily be retorted
More example sentences
  • Japanese historian Kajimura Hideki, who passed away in 1989, retorted the argument that Dokdo belongs to Japan by suggesting diverse historical articles in his paper released on the Review of Korean Studies.

noun

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A sharp, angry, or witty reply: she opened her mouth to make a suitably cutting retort
More example sentences
  • Andra had to literally bite her tongue to hold back the sharp retort quickly forming there.
  • Cordelia rolled her eyes, but was too tired to give a scathing retort.
  • Well, for once in my life, I didn't have a clever retort.
Synonyms
answer, reply, response, acknowledgement, return, counter, rejoinder, riposte, sally, retaliation
informal comeback

Origin

late 15th century (in the sense 'hurl back an accusation or insult'): from Latin retort- 'twisted back, cast back', from the verb retorquere, from re- 'in return' + torquere 'to twist'.

Definition of retort in:

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There are 2 main definitions of retort in English:

retort2

Line breaks: re¦tort
Pronunciation: /rɪˈtɔːt
 
/

noun

1A container or furnace for carrying out a chemical process on a large or industrial scale: since the 1700s, gas was made by baking coal in airtight retorts
More example sentences
  • The smelters will require 25000 tons of charcoal per annum which will be produced in retorts supplied by the Belgium company, Lambiotte.
  • In the factory there were a number of iron retorts, and with them several tons of pitch were also distilled.
  • Ore has been processed in large retorts in the past, but most recent operations use several types of furnaces.
1.1 historical A glass container with a long neck, used in distilling liquids and other chemical operations: a laboratory full of bubbling retorts and crackling electrical equipment
More example sentences
  • Retorts are the most employed of any kind of distilling vessels in the practice of modern chemistry, having in England almost superseded the use of all others.
  • The first experiments with the caustic potash purification had been conducted in glass retorts, but they were less successful when scaled up.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
Heat in a retort in order to separate or purify: the raw shale is retorted at four crude oil works
More example sentences
  • The furnace which was used to retort the ore was previously taken off location so little or no above ground structures were left.
  • The in situ process may not require mine workings or large surface plant facilities to crush and retort the shale, and it avoids the necessity of removing overburden and waste shale to dumps with its consequent environmental problems.

Origin

early 17th century: from French retorte, from medieval Latin retorta, feminine past participle of retorquere 'twist back' (with reference to the long recurved neck of the laboratory container).

Definition of retort in: