adjective \ri-ˈspän(t)-sə-bəl\

: having the job or duty of dealing with or taking care of something or someone

: able to be trusted to do what is right or to do the things that are expected or required

: involving important duties, decisions, etc., that you are trusted to do

Full Definition of RESPONSIBLE

a :  liable to be called on to answer
b (1) :  liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent <a committee responsible for the job>
(2) :  being the cause or explanation <mechanical defects were responsible for the accident>
c :  liable to legal review or in case of fault to penalties
a :  able to answer for one's conduct and obligations :  trustworthy
b :  able to choose for oneself between right and wrong
:  marked by or involving responsibility or accountability <responsible financial policies>
:  politically answerable; especially :  required to submit to the electorate if defeated by the legislature —used especially of the British cabinet
re·spon·si·ble·ness noun
re·spon·si·bly \-blē\ adverb


  1. She is a very responsible worker.
  2. Is he responsible enough to have a car?
  3. If you all die of typhoid I won't be responsible! he snapped. If you die of dullness, neither will I, Helen echoed in her heart. —Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out, 1915


Anglo-French responsable, from respuns (see response)
First Known Use: 1643

Synonym Discussion of RESPONSIBLE

responsible, answerable, accountable, amenable, liable mean subject to being held to account. responsible implies holding a specific office, duty, or trust <the bureau responsible for revenue collection>. answerable suggests a relation between one having a moral or legal obligation and a court or other authority charged with oversight of its observance <an intelligence agency answerable to Congress>. accountable suggests imminence of retribution for unfulfilled trust or violated obligation <elected officials are accountable to the voters>. amenable and liable stress the fact of subjection to review, censure, or control by a designated authority under certain conditions <laws are amenable to judicial review> <not liable for the debts of the former spouse>.


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