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adjective re·spon·si·ble \ri-ˈspän(t)-sə-bəl\

Simple Definition of responsible

  • : 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

  1. 1 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

  2. 2 a :  able to answer for one's conduct and obligations :  trustworthy b :  able to choose for oneself between right and wrong

  3. 3 :  marked by or involving responsibility or accountability <responsible financial policies>

  4. 4 :  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 play \-blē\ adverb

Examples of responsible

  1. “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

  2. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. —Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery, 1900, 1901

  3. He resumed our walk with me, passing his hand into my arm. “Then when AM I going back?” I wore, in turning it over, my most responsible air. —Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, 1898

  4. She is a very responsible worker.

  5. Is he responsible enough to have a car?

Origin of responsible

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>.

Seen and Heard

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February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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