Etymology
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asteism (n.)
"genteel irony, polite mockery," 1580s, from Greek asteismos "wit, witticism," from asteios "refined, elegant, witty, clever," literally "of a city or town" (as opposed to "country"), from asty "town, city," especially (without the article) "Athens," which is possibly from a suffixed form of PIE root *wes- (3) "to live, dwell, stay" (see Vesta). For sense, compare urbane.
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vinegar (n.)
early 14c., from Old French vinaigre "vinegar," from vin "wine" (from Latin vinum; see wine (n.)) + aigre "sour" (see eager). In Latin, it was vinum acetum "wine turned sour," acetum for short (see acetic), also used figuratively for "wit, shrewdness;" and compare Greek oxos "wine vinegar," which is related to oxys "sharp" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce"). Related: Vinegary; vinegarish.
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nous (n.)

college slang for "intelligence, wit, cleverness, common sense," 1706, from Greek nous, Attic form of noos "mind, intelligence, perception, intellect," which was taken in English in philosophy 1670s as "the perceptive and intelligent faculty." The Greek word is of uncertain origin. Beekes writes, "No doubt an old inherited verbal noun ..., though there is no certain etymology."

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sailing (n.)

Old English seglinge, "act of one who or that which sails," verbal noun from the source of sail (v.). Gradually coming also to mean "the art or rules of directing a ship." Figurative use of smooth sailing for "easy progress" is from 1840.

Yes; I must press on this marriage; Georgina has not wit enough to manage him—at least till he's her husband, and then all women find it smooth sailing. [Bulwer Lytton, "Money: A Comedy in Five Acts," 1840]
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flasher (n.)
1680s, "something that emits light in flashes," agent noun from flash (v.). Meaning "male genital exhibitionist" is from 1960s (meat-flasher in this sense was attested in 1890s and flash (v.) in the sense "expose the genitals" is recorded by 1846). Johnson (1755) has it also in the sense "one who makes a show of more wit than he possesses."
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cheese (v.)

"stop (what one is doing), run off," 1812, thieves' slang, of uncertain origin. Meaning "to smile" is from 1930 (see cheese (n.1)). For meaning "to annoy," see cheesed.

CHEESE IT. Be silent, be quiet, don't do it. Cheese it, the coves are fly; be silent, the people understand our discourse. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]
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innuendo (n.)
"oblique hint, indiscreet suggestion," usually a deprecatory one, 1670s, from Latin innuendo "by meaning, pointing to," literally "giving a nod to," ablative of gerund of innuere "to mean, signify," literally "to nod to," from in- "at" (from PIE root *en "in") + nuere "to nod" (see numinous).

Originally in English a legal phrase (1560s) from Medieval Latin, with the sense of "to wit," introducing an explanatory or parenthetical clause, it also introduced the derogatory meaning alleged in libel cases, which led to broader meaning. As a verb, from 1706.
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columnist (n.)

1915, "one who writes serially for publication in a newspaper or magazine," from column in the newspaper sense + -ist.

The successful Columnist puts his own personality into his column. It is not a case of impersonal jesting and the heaping up of cold, blue-lit diamonds of wit. The reader likes the column because it reveals a daily insight into another man's soul—and he finds this other soul likeable. [C.L. Edson, "The Gentle Art of Columning," 1920]
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natural (n.)

"person with a natural gift or talent," 1925, originally in prizefighting, from natural (adj.). But an older sense is almost opposite to this, "half-wit, idiot" (one "naturally deficient" in intellect), which was in use 16c. to 19c. In Middle English, the word as a noun meant "natural capacity, physical ability or power" (early 14c.), and it was common in sense "a native of a place" in Shakespeare's day. Also in 17c., "a mistress."

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lackluster (adj.)
also lack-luster, c. 1600, "dull, wanting brightness" (originally of eyes), first attested in "As You Like It," from lack (v.) + luster (n.1). Such combinations with lack- were frequent once: Shakespeare alone also has lack-love, lack-beard, lack-brain, lack-linen. Outside Shakespeare there was lackland (1590s), of a landless man; lack-Latin (1530s), of an ignorant priest; lack-learning (1590s), lack-wit (Dryden), lack-thought (1829), lack-life (1889), and the comprehensive lack-all (1850).
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