English

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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PIE word
*h₂éd

The verb is an aphetic form of atwite ((obsolete) to blame, reproach),[1] from Middle English atwiten (to attribute (something) to someone; to blame (something) on someone; to accuse or charge (someone) with something; to speak ill of; to taunt),[2] from Old English ætwītan (to blame, reproach; to censure, upbraid; to taunt), from æt- (prefix meaning ‘at, near; toward’) + wītan (to accuse; to blame, reproach) (from Proto-Germanic *wītaną (to punish; to torment; to know; to see), from Proto-Indo-European *weyd- (to see)).

The noun is probably derived from the verb, although it is attested in print earlier.[3]

Verb

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twit (third-person singular simple present twits, present participle twitting, simple past and past participle twitted)

  1. (transitive)
    1. To blame or reproach (someone), especially in a good-natured or teasing manner; also, to ridicule or tease (someone).
      (blame): Synonyms: censure, upbraid; see also Thesaurus:blame
      (ridicule): Synonyms: taunt; see also Thesaurus:deride
      • c. 1552 (date written), Nicholas Udall, [Ralph Roister Doister], [London]: [s.n.], published 1566?; republished as Edward Arber, editor, Roister Doister. [] (English Reprints), London: Muir & Paterson, [], 24 July 1869, →OCLC, Act II, scene iii, page 36:
        No man for deſpite, / By worde or by write / His felowe to twite, []
      • 1574, Iohn Caluin [i.e., John Calvin], “The CXXXV. Sermon, which is the Eight vppon the .XXXIIIJ. Chapter”, in Arthur Golding, transl., Sermons of Master Iohn Caluin, vpon the Booke of Iob. [], London: [] Henrie Binneman, for Lucas Harison and George Bishop, →OCLC, page 636, column 1:
        [I]f vvee meane to tvvit a man that he is a foole, vve vvill ſay thou knovveſt not vvhat thou ſayeſt.
      • 1591 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i], page 131, column 2:
        Hath he not tvvit our Soueraigne Lady here / VVith ignominious vvords, though Clarkely coucht? / As if ſhe had ſuborned ſome to ſvveare / Falſe allegations, to o'rethrovv his ſtate.
      • 1606?, Michaell Drayton [i.e., Michael Drayton], “The Second Eglog”, in Poemes Lyrick and Pastorall. [], London: [] R. B[radock] for N[icholas] L[ing] and I[ohn] Flasket, →OCLC; republished in Poemes Lyrick and Pastorall (Publications of the Spenser Society, New Series; 4), [Manchester: [] Charles E. Simms] for the Spenser Society, 1891, →OCLC, page 39:
        Well wanton, laugh not my ould age to ſcorne, / nor twit me ſo my ſenſes to haue loſte, / the time hath been when as my hopefull morne / promiſ'd as much as nowe thy youth can boaſte: []
      • 1650, Thomas Fuller, “The Tribe of Ephraim”, in A Pisgah-sight of Palestine and the Confines thereof, with the History of the Old and New Testament Acted thereon, London: [] J. F. for John Williams [], →OCLC, book II, paragraph 18, page 186:
        This Hannah though ſilent vvhen tvvitted by Peninnah for barrenneſs, found her tongue vvhen here taxed by Eli of drunkenneſs: becauſe a meer ſufferer in the former, but in the latter a ſinner, had the accuſation been true.
      • 1653, Francis Rabelais [i.e., François Rabelais], translated by [Thomas Urquhart] and [Peter Anthony Motteux], “How Friar Jhon Comforteth Panurge in the Doubtful Matter of Cuckoldry”, in The Works of Francis Rabelais, Doctor in Physick: Containing Five Books of the Lives, Heroick Deeds, and Sayings of Gargantua, and His Sonne Pantagruel. [], London: [] [Thomas Ratcliffe and Edward Mottershead] for Richard Baddeley, [], →OCLC; republished in volume I, London: [] Navarre Society [], [1948], →OCLC, book the third, page 438:
        Thou twittest me with my Grey Hairs, yet considerest not how I am of the Nature of Leeks, which with a white Head carry a green, fresh, streight, and vigorous Tail.
      • 1659, Thomas Fuller, “That the Author Designed unto Himself No Party-pleasing in Writing His Church-history”, in The Appeal of Iniured Innocence: Unto the Religious Learned and Ingenious Reader: In a Controversie betwixt the Animadvertor Dr. Peter Heylyn and the Author Thomas Fuller, London: [] W. Godbid, and are to be sold by John Williams [], →OCLC, part I, page 11:
        The old Non-conformiſts being the ſame vvith the modern Presbuterians, but depreſſed and under, as the modern Presbuterians are the old Non-conformiſts, but vertical and in Authority, do (though the Animadvertor tvvitteth me conſtantly to Advocate for them) take great and general exception at me; []
      • 1664, H[enry] More, chapter VI, in A Modest Enquiry into the Mystery of Iniquity, [], London: [] J[ames] Flesher for W[illiam] Morden [], →OCLC, book I, page 19:
        Again in the ſecond Book of the Chronicles, there Abijah King of Juda ſpeaking to Iſrael, upbraids to them their confidence in their multitude, and in their Golden Calves vvhich Jeroboam made them for Gods; tvvitting them thereby aſſuredly for their Idolatry; []
      • 1692, Roger L’Estrange, “The Preface”, in Fables, of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists: [], London: [] R[ichard] Sare, [], →OCLC:
        Hovv much are vve Oblig'd then, [] to Æſop, in the Firſt Place, as the Founder, and Original Author, or Inventer of This Art of Schooling Mankind into Better Manners; by Minding Men of their Errors vvithout Tvvitting them for what's Amiſs, and by That Means Flaſhing the Light of their Ovvn Conſciences in their Ovvn Faces!
      • a. 1695 (date written), John Tillotson, The Works of the Most Reverend Dr. John Tillotson, Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: [], 8th edition, London: [] T. Goodwin, B[enjamin] Tooke, and J. Pemberton, []; J. Round [], and J[acob] Tonson] [], published 1720, →OCLC, page 101:
        Novv this, 'tis probable, theſe Scoffers tvvitted the Chriſtians vvithall; And becauſe Chriſt did not come vvhen ſome looked for him, they concluded he vvould not come at all.
      • 1791, James Boswell, “[1775]”, in The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. [], volume I, London: [] Henry Baldwin, for Charles Dilly, [], →OCLC, page 515:
        VVhen on a ſubſequent day, he vvas tvvitted by Mrs. Thrale for being very late, vvhich he generally vvas, he defended himſelf by alluding to the extraordinary morning, vvhen he had been too early, "Madam, I do not like to come down to vacuity."
      • 1823, Elia [pseudonym; Charles Lamb], “A Complaint of the Decay of Beggars in the Metropolis”, in Elia. Essays which have Appeared under that Signature in The London Magazine, London: [] [Thomas Davison] for Taylor and Hessey, [], →OCLC, pages 265–266:
        No rascally comparative insults a Beggar, or thinks of weighing purses with him. [] No one twitteth him with ostentation above his means. No one accuses him of pride, or upbraideth him with mock humility.
      • 1836, Joanna Baillie, “Romiero: A Tragedy. In Five Acts.”, in Dramas, [], volume I, London: [] Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman, [], →OCLC, Act III, scene ii, page 55:
        Nay, do not twit me now with all the freaks, / And levities, and gambols charged upon me / By every lean-faced dame that wears a hood.
      • 1852 July, Herman Melville, “Book XVIII. Pierre, as a Juvenile Author, Reconsidered.”, in Pierre: Or, The Ambiguities, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC, section II, page 356:
        Now some imaginatively heterodoxical men are often surprisingly twitted upon their willful inverting of all common-sense notions, their absurd and all-displacing transcendentals, which say three is four, and two and two make ten.
      • 1865 May 15 – 1866 January 1, Anthony Trollope, “Captain Aylmer Meets His Constituents”, in The Belton Estate. [], volume I, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published December 1865 (indicated as 1866), →OCLC, page 193:
        Anything would be better than being twitted in this way. How can I help it that I am not a man and able to work for my bread?
      • 1865 September 12, John Williamson, Maurice Fitzgerald, compiler, “Separation. Adjourned Debate.”, in New Zealand. Parliamentary Debates. Third and Fourth Parliaments. [] (House of Representatives), Wellington: G. Didsbury, government printer, published 1887, →OCLC, page 499, column 2:
        The honourable member for Ellesmere, on the opening of this session, got up and twitted them with not being there on the first day.
      • 1893 October 14, “‘Masterly Inactivity’”, in Punch, or The London Charivari, volume CV, London: [] Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., [], →OCLC, page 174, column 2:
        Dear France, thou thy insular neighbour oft twittest / As "Shopkeeper!" Well ma'am, j'y suis, and shall stop; / For a Shopkeeper's one who—of course—keeps the Shop!
      • 1954 May, Rex Stout, “When a Man Murders”, in The American Magazine, volume 157, New York, N.Y.: Colver Publishing House, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 128, columns 1–2; republished in Three Witnesses, New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books, October 1994, →ISBN, page 106:
        Mr. Cramer, a policeman, came this morning and twitted me for having let a murderer hoodwink me.
      • 1962 August, “Talking of Trains: Under Their Hats”, in Modern Railways, Shepperton, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 80:
        Secrecy about B.R. plans for reorganisation and closure of lines and notably some failures to consult with staff representatives concerned with redundancy, are defects with which the railway unions have twitted Dr. Beeching.
      • 2007 April 5, Bernard Porter, “Did He Puff His Crimes to Please a Bloodthirsty Readership? Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal. Faber, 570 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 0 571 22102 8 [book review]”, in Mary-Kay Wilmers, editor, London Review of Books[1], volume 29, number 7, London: LRB Ltd., →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2024-03-03, page 10:
        H[enry] R[ichard] Fox Bourne, secretary of the Aborigines' Protection Society – often twitted for being an 'armchair critic' – wrote in a review of one of [Henry Morton] Stanley's books: 'The Society is not condemning Mr Stanley or his subordinates so much, but the mounting of an expedition with aims and methods which almost necessitated the cruelties and slaughters that were incident to it … It seems better to remain in armchairs and pass resolutions than wantonly to embark on perilous enterprises, which can only be carried out by means that degrade Englishmen.'
    2. (archaic) To criticize or disapprove of (something), especially in a good-natured or teasing manner.
      Synonyms: censure, ridicule
      • 1675, William Camden, “The Ninth Year of Her Reign. Ann. Domini 1566.”, in R[obert] N[orton], transl., The History of the Most Renowned and Victorious Princess Elizabeth, Late Queen of England; [], 3rd (revised) edition, London: [] Thomas Harper, for Benjamin Fisher, [], →OCLC, 1st book, page 84:
        But in the Lovver Houſe ſome there vvere vvhich handled theſe things more tumultuouſly, namely, Bell and Monſon, great Lavvyers, Dutton, Paul VVentvvorth, and others, vvhich tvvitted the Authority of the Queen's Majeſty too much, []
    3. (computing) To ignore or kill file (a user on a bulletin board system).
      • 1995 December 5, Michelle Jackson, “Debutante/Question about Tori Shirts”, in rec.music.tori-amos[2] (Usenet):
        However, on the Internet BBS's such as Quartz (now dead), Prism, Monsoon, Sunset, ect,[sic – meaning etc] someone pulling that kind of crap is likely to get flamed quite fast and twitted before he/she can breathe.
      • 2002 August 14, Marc Lewis, “FidoNet”, in alt.bbs[3] (Usenet):
        Not only are some of the notoriously foul-mouthed echoes excluded from the BBS message base, but each message is auto-censored for key words that are, in the opinion of the SysOp (me in this case), offensive to a "G" audience. And no, it isn't 100% effective. And no, there is no "thought purification program" that can filter out some folks[sic] obscene ideas that can be expressed w/o written vulgarities. That has to be simply "dealt" with, either by ignoring or twitting the individual that offends habitually.
    4. (obsolete) Followed by it: to speak or write (something) in a taunting or teasing manner.
  2. (intransitive)
    1. To blame or reproach, especially in a good-natured or teasing manner.
      • 1611, Richard Sheldon, Certain General Reasons, Proving the Lawfulnesse of the Oath of Allegiance, [], London: [] Felix Kyngston [and Arnold Hatfield], for William Aspley, →OCLC, page 56:
        [] [Francis] Coster a Ieſuit againſt Luke Oſiander, vvho obiecting out of Peter Lombard thoſe vvords, (Credit oportet, It muſt be beleeued) that the bleſſed Virgins fleſh vvas conceiued in originall ſinne; and pretending by thoſe vvords, to proue a Catholike beliefe therein, Coſter thus tvvitteth and retorteth againſt him; []
    2. (obsolete except British, dialectal) To be indiscreet; to gossip.
Conjugation
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Derived terms
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Translations
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Noun

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twit (plural twits)

  1. A jibe, reproach, or taunt, especially one made in a good-natured or teasing manner.
    • 1528 May 8 (date written; Gregorian calendar), John Strype, “[Appendix: [].] Numb[er] XVII. The Confession of John Tyball a Lollard; Charges with Heresy.”, in Ecclesiastical Memorials; Relating Chiefly to Religion, and the Reformation of It: Shewing the Various Emergencies of the Church of England, under King Henry the Eighth. [], volume I, London: [] John Wyat, [], published 1721, →OCLC, page 38:
      [T]he ſayd Thomas Hilles & this Reſpondent ſhevvyd the Frear Barons of certayne old Bookes that they had: as of iiij Evangeliſtes, and certayne Epiſtles of Peter & Poule in Engliſhe. VVhich Bookes the ſayd Frear dyd litle regard, and made a tvvyte of it, & ſayd, A poynt for them, for they be not to be regarded tovvard the nevv printed Teſtament in Engliſhe.
    • 1664, Geo[rge] Etherege, The Comical Revenge; or, Love in a Tub. [], London: [] Henry Herringman, [], →OCLC, Act V, scene v, page 89:
      Wid[ow]. Novv I have receiv'd you into my Family, / I hope you vvill let my maids go quietly about / Their buſineſs, Sir. / S[ir] Fred[erick Frollick]. Upon condition there be no tvvits of the good man / Departed; no preſcription pleaded for evil cuſtoms / On the VVedding night.
    • 1847, Leigh Hunt, “Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. An Account of Her Life and Writings.”, in Men, Women, and Books; a Selection of Sketches, Essays, and Critical Memoirs, [], volume II, London: Smith, Elder and Co., [] , →OCLC, page 224:
      [S]he, beginning to despair of finally winning him, looked about for other consolations, not, however, without an occasional twit at him for disappointing her.
  2. (informal) An annoying or foolish person.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:fool
  3. (British, dialectal, archaic) A person who chatters or gossips inanely; a chatterer, a gossip or gossiper; also, a person who divulges private information about others or is indiscreet; a tattletale.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:gossiper
    • 1720, Thomas d’Urfey, compiler, “A Song. Set by Mr. Henry Purcell.”, in Wit and Mirth: Or Pills to Purge Melancholy; [], volume VI, London: [] W. Pearson, for J[acob] Tonson, [], published 1720 (2nd printing; republished 19th century), →OCLC, page 241:
      Young Strephon he has Woo'd me long, / And Courted me with Pipe and Song; / But I a silly, silly peevish Twit, / For want of Sense, for want of Wit, / Have phoo'd, and cry'd, / Have pish'd, and fy'd, / And play'd the fool, and lost my Time, / And almost slipp'd, and almost slipp'd, / And almost slipp'd my Maiden Prime.
Usage notes
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  • In Australia, Britain, Ireland, and New Zealand, sense 2 (“annoying or foolish person”) is usually used in an affectionate or humorous manner.
Derived terms
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Translations
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Etymology 2

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Imitative of a bird’s call.[4]

Interjection

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twit

  1. (onomatopoeia) Used to represent the short, high-pitched call of a small bird, or a similar sound made by something else: cheep, tweet.
    Coordinate term: (of a tawny owl) tuwhit tuwhoo
Usage notes
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The word is often reduplicated: see the quotations.

Translations
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Noun

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twit (plural twits)

  1. A short, high-pitched call of a small bird, or a similar sound made by something else; a cheep, a chirp, a tweet.
    • 1820, John Clare, “[Sonnets.] Crazy Nell. A True Story.”, in Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery, London: [] [T. Miller] for Taylor and Hessey, []; and E[dward] Drury, [], →OCLC, page 210:
      The minutes seem'd hours—with impatience she heard / The flap of a leaf, and the twit of a bird; []
Usage notes
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The word is often reduplicated: see the quotations.

Translations
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Etymology 3

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Clipping of twitter.[5]

Noun

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twit (plural twits)

  1. (chiefly US, informal) Chiefly in the form in a twit: clipping of twitter (a state of excitement or nervousness).
Translations
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Etymology 4

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Clipping of twitter.[6]

Noun

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twit (plural twits)

  1. (Northern England, Scotland, weaving, archaic) Clipping of twitter (a knot or other defect in a thread or yarn which hinders spinning or weaving).
    • 1819, James Thomson, “Verses Addressed to Mr John Wright, Tailor in Collington, on the Author’s Being Invited to the Wedding of Mr Joseph Thomson, Builder”, in Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, new edition, Leith, Edinburgh: [] William Reid & Co. for the author, →OCLC, page 27:
      [I]s't a cursed wab o' yarn / That winna work, for knots and twits, / Spun by some thoughtless drabby sluts, / Whase minds on naething else is carried, / But thinking when they will be married; []
Derived terms
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Translations
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References

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  1. ^ twit, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2023; twit2, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  2. ^ atwīten, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  3. ^ twit, n.1”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023; twit1, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  4. ^ twit, int. and n.2”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023.
  5. ^ twit, n.4”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023; twit3, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  6. ^ twit, n.3”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023.

Further reading

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Anagrams

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French

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Pronunciation

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Noun

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twit m (plural twits)

  1. (Quebec, colloquial) twit (foolish person)
  2. a tweet (a message on Twitter)
    Synonym: tweet
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Indonesian

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Etymology

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From English tweet.

Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /ˈtʷɪt̚/
  • Hyphenation: twit

Noun

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twit (first-person possessive twitku, second-person possessive twitmu, third-person possessive twitnya)

  1. (Internet) Tweet, an entry posted on the microblogging service Twitter.
    Synonyms: cuitan, kicauan

Further reading

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Spanish

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Noun

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twit m (plural twits)

  1. Nonstandard spelling of tuit. (tweet, message on Twitter)

Turkish

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Noun

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twit (definite accusative twiti, plural twitler)

  1. Alternative form of tweet (message on Twitter)

Declension

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Inflection
Nominative twit
Definite accusative twiti
Singular Plural
Nominative twit twitler
Definite accusative twiti twitleri
Dative twite twitlere
Locative twitte twitlerde
Ablative twitten twitlerden
Genitive twitin twitlerin
Possessive forms
Nominative
Singular Plural
1st singular twitim twitlerim
2nd singular twitin twitlerin
3rd singular twiti twitleri
1st plural twitimiz twitlerimiz
2nd plural twitiniz twitleriniz
3rd plural twitleri twitleri
Definite accusative
Singular Plural
1st singular twitimi twitlerimi
2nd singular twitini twitlerini
3rd singular twitini twitlerini
1st plural twitimizi twitlerimizi
2nd plural twitinizi twitlerinizi
3rd plural twitlerini twitlerini
Dative
Singular Plural
1st singular twitime twitlerime
2nd singular twitine twitlerine
3rd singular twitine twitlerine
1st plural twitimize twitlerimize
2nd plural twitinize twitlerinize
3rd plural twitlerine twitlerine
Locative
Singular Plural
1st singular twitimde twitlerimde
2nd singular twitinde twitlerinde
3rd singular twitinde twitlerinde
1st plural twitimizde twitlerimizde
2nd plural twitinizde twitlerinizde
3rd plural twitlerinde twitlerinde
Ablative
Singular Plural
1st singular twitimden twitlerimden
2nd singular twitinden twitlerinden
3rd singular twitinden twitlerinden
1st plural twitimizden twitlerimizden
2nd plural twitinizden twitlerinizden
3rd plural twitlerinden twitlerinden
Genitive
Singular Plural
1st singular twitimin twitlerimin
2nd singular twitinin twitlerinin
3rd singular twitinin twitlerinin
1st plural twitimizin twitlerimizin
2nd plural twitinizin twitlerinizin
3rd plural twitlerinin twitlerinin