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noun an·swer \ˈan(t)-sər\

Simple Definition of answer

  • : something you say or write when someone asks you a question

  • : a response to a question that is meant to show whether or not you know something (such as a question asked as part of an exam)

  • : the correct response to a question

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of answer

  1. 1 a :  something spoken or written in reply to a question b :  a correct response <knows the answer>

  2. 2 :  a reply to a legal charge or suit :  plea; also :  defense

  3. 3 :  something done in response or reaction <his only answer was to walk out>

  4. 4 :  a solution of a problem <more money is not the answer>

  5. 5 :  one that imitates, matches, or corresponds to another <television's answer to the newsmagazines>

Examples of answer in a sentence

  1. I asked him a simple question and he gave me a long and confusing answer.

  2. I didn't believe her answer.

  3. They wouldn't give me a straight answer to my question.

  4. I didn't know the right answer.

  5. That is the wrong answer.

  6. Do you know the answer to this question?

  7. He knew the answers to only 3 of the 10 questions.

  8. The answers are listed in the back of the book.

Origin and Etymology of answer

Middle English, from Old English andswaru (akin to Old Norse andsvar answer); akin to Old English and- against, swerian to swear — more at ante-

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of answer

answer, response, reply, rejoinder, retort mean something spoken, written, or done in return. answer implies the satisfying of a question, demand, call, or need <had answers to all their questions>. response may imply a quick or spontaneous reaction to a person or thing that serves as a stimulus <a response to the call for recruits>. reply often suggests a thorough response to all issues, points, or questions raised <a point-by-point reply to the accusation>. rejoinder can be a response to a reply or to an objection <a salesman with a quick rejoinder to every argument>. retort implies a reaction to an implicit or explicit charge, criticism, or attack which contains a countercharge or counterattack <she made a cutting retort to her critics>.



verb an·swer

Simple Definition of answer

  • : to say or write something when someone asks you a question : to give an answer to (a question)

  • : to say or write (something) as a reply

  • : to reply to (someone) : to say or write something as a response to (someone)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of answer



play \ˈan(t)s-riŋ, ˈan(t)-sə-\
  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to speak or write in reply

  3. 2 a :  to be or make oneself responsible or accountable <answer for a debt> b :  to make amends :  atone <must answer for his crimes>

  4. 3 :  to be in conformity or correspondence <answered to the description>

  5. 4 :  to act in response to an action performed elsewhere or by another <the home team scored first but the visitors answered quickly>

  6. 5 :  to be adequate :  serve <an old bucket answered for a sink>

  7. transitive verb
  8. 1 a :  to speak or write in reply to <answer a question> <answer me> b :  to say or write by way of reply <answer yes or no>

  9. 2 :  to reply to in rebuttal, justification, or explanation <answer an accusation>

  10. 3 a :  to correspond to <answers the description> b :  to be adequate or usable for :  fulfill <answer a need>

  11. 4 obsolete :  to atone for

  12. 5 :  to act in response to <answered the call to arms>

  13. 6 :  to offer a solution for; especially :  solve <answer a riddle>


play \ˈan(t)-sər-ər\ noun

Examples of answer in a sentence

  1. She answered all my questions.

  2. He answered only three of the test questions correctly.

  3. When the police asked him his name, he refused to answer.

  4. When I ask you a question I expect you to answer me!

  5. Answer me this: where have you put my money?

  6. I sent her a letter asking for her help, but she never answered.

  7. The phone rang repeatedly, but no one answered.

  8. Would somebody please answer the phone?

  9. I knocked on the door but no one answered.

  10. No one answered the door.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of answer

before 12th century

ANSWER Defined for Kids



noun an·swer \ˈan-sər\

Definition of answer for Students

  1. 1 :  something said or written in reply (as to a question)

  2. 2 :  a solution of a problem <Money is not the answer to improving this situation.>



verb an·swer

Definition of answer for Students



  1. 1 :  to speak or write in order to satisfy a question

  2. 2 :  to write a response to a letter or e-mail

  3. 3 :  to pick up (a ringing telephone)

  4. 4 :  to open (a door) when someone knocks on it

  5. 5 :  to react to something with an action <answer a want ad>

  6. 6 :  to take responsibility <The camp director answered for the children's safety.>

answer back

  1. :  to reply rudely

Law Dictionary



noun an·swer

Legal Definition of answer

  1. 1 :  the defendant's written response to the plaintiff's complaint in a civil suit in which he or she may deny any of the plaintiff's allegations, offer any defenses, and make any counterclaims against the plaintiff, cross-claims against other defendants, or third-party claims against third parties otherwise not involved in the lawsuit

  2. 2 :  a written response to a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim :  reply — see also responsive pleading at pleading 1

Additional Notes on answer

In federal cases, answers are governed by Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under Rule 12, certain defenses (as lack of jurisdiction) may be made by motion rather than included in the answer.



intransitive verb an·swer

Legal Definition of answer

  1. 1 :  to serve or file an answer

  2. 2 :  to make oneself responsible or accountable (as for the debt of another)

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1 :  to reply to in an answer <answer the complaint>

  5. 2 :  to make a defense against (as a charge or accusation)



Seen and Heard

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