Meaning of retort

re•tort

Pronunciation: (ri-tôrt'), [key]
— v.t.
  1. to reply to, usually in a sharp or retaliatory way; reply in kind to.
  2. to return (an accusation, epithet, etc.) upon the person uttering it.
  3. to answer (an argument or the like) by another to the contrary.
—n.
  1. a severe, incisive, or witty reply, esp. one that counters a first speaker's statement, argument, etc.
  2. the act of retorting.

re•tort

Pronunciation: (ri-tôrt'), [key]
— n.
    1. a vessel, commonly a glass bulb with a long neck bent downward, used for distilling or decomposing substances by heat.
    2. a refractory chamber, generally cylindrically shaped, within which some substance, as ore or coal, is heated as part of a smelting or manufacturing process.
    3. an airtight, usually cylindrical vessel of fire clay or iron, used in the destructive distillation chiefly of coal and wood in the manufacture of illuminating gas.
  1. a sterilizer for food cans.
—v.t.
  1. to sterilize food after it is sealed in a container, by steam or other heating methods.
  2. to subject (shale, ore, etc.) to heat and possibly reduced pressure in order to produce fuel oil, metal, etc.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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