retort (v.) Look up retort at
1550s, "make return in kind" (especially of an injury), from Old French retort and directly from Latin retortus, past participle of retorquere "turn back, twist back, throw back," from re- "back" (see re-) + torquere "to twist" (see torque (n.)). Applied to exchanges of jest or sarcasm by c. 1600, hence "say or utter sharply and aggressively in reply" (1620s). Related: Retorted; retorting.
retort (n.1) Look up retort at
"act of retorting," c. 1600, from retort (v.).
retort (n.2) Look up retort at
"vessel used in chemistry for distilling or effecting decomposition by the aid of heat," c. 1600, from Middle French retorte, from Medieval Latin *retorta "a retort, a vessel with a bent neck," literally "a thing bent or twisted," from past participle stem of Latin retorquere (see retort (v.)).