What is the difference between wit and ingenuity?
Jun 9, 2019 11:14 PM
Answers · 11
Both words suggest original thinking. "Ingenuity" is related to the word "engineer." It means inventing a clever, new solution to a practical problem. The little tricks called "life hacks" are ingenious. Ingenuity sometimes involves finding a surprising new use for something. "I can't get this campfire started. I don't have any kindling." "We have a bag of potato chips. Try using them as kindling, they're full of oil, they should burn well." "What an ingenious idea!" Ingenuity is useful, not entertaining. It is a practical talent, not a social skill. "Wit" can mean verbal playfulness. It means a quick, inventive sense of humor. It is a kind of joking. Instead of using a stock phrase or idiom to say something, a witty person will invent an original, clever way to say it. Wit is amusing to other people. It is a social skill. Wit does not solve problems.
June 10, 2019
Dorothy's comment is a good answer. Ingenuity is less common, and usually refers to being able to invent things or new ways to do things. Although 'wit' can mean ability to think quickly, it usually is now used in the context of being funny. It usually means that someone makes quick funny clever comments, or wisecracks. It's the sort of quality that a game show host on TV has. If you want more generic terms, you could use 'fast thinking' or 'thinking on your feet'.
June 10, 2019
Thank you so much, Dorothy!
June 9, 2019
I would say that 'ingenuity', or something 'ingenious', is coming up with something new and original, such as a brilliant invention or clever solution. 'Wit', or something 'witty', is being able to think quickly. I'd use 'wit' to describe someone who always has a quick (often funny) response for everything. I also agree that 'wit' is used more often than 'ingenuity'!
June 9, 2019
Thank you, Trudy. I have searched the word ingenuity on Cambridge dictionary and its meaning is similar to wit, that's why I was confused. Thanks again!
June 9, 2019
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