an·​swer | \ˈan(t)-sər \

Definition of answer 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something spoken or written in reply to a question His answer surprised us.

b : a correct response knows the answer

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

3 : something done in response or reaction His only answer was to walk out.

4 : a solution of a problem More money is not the answer.

5 : one that imitates, matches, or corresponds to another The show is television's answer to the newsmagazines.


answered; answering\ ˈan(t)s-​riŋ , ˈan(t)-​sə-​ \

Definition of answer (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to speak or write in reply neglected to answer the letter

2a : to be or make oneself responsible or accountable answer for a debt

b : to make amends : atone He must answer for his crimes.

3 : to be in conformity or correspondence She answered to the description.

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

5 : to be adequate : serve an old bucket answered for a sink The school had to answer for a town hall.

transitive verb

1a : 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

2 : to reply to in rebuttal, justification, or explanation answer an accusation

3a : to correspond to answers the description

b : to be adequate or usable for : fulfill answer a need

4 : to act in response to answered the call to arms

5 : to offer a solution for especially : solve answer a riddle

6 obsolete : to atone for

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Other Words from answer


answerer \ ˈan(t)-​sər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for answer

Synonyms: Noun

comeback, rejoinder, reply, response, retort, return

Synonyms: Verb

complete, comply (with), fill, fulfill (or fulfil), keep, meet, redeem, satisfy

Antonyms: Noun

inquiry, query, question

Antonyms: Verb

breach, break, transgress, violate

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of answer in a Sentence


I asked him a simple question and he gave me a long and confusing answer. I didn't believe her answer. They wouldn't give me a straight answer to my question. I didn't know the right answer. That is the wrong answer. Do you know the answer to this question? He knew the answers to only 3 of the 10 questions. The answers are listed in the back of the book.


She answered all my questions. He answered only three of the test questions correctly. When the police asked him his name, he refused to answer. When I ask you a question I expect you to answer me! Answer me this: where have you put my money? I sent her a letter asking for her help, but she never answered. The phone rang repeatedly, but no one answered. Would somebody please answer the phone? I knocked on the door but no one answered. No one answered the door.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But lawmakers and analysts said those revelations should prompt Mr. Trump to forcefully raise the issue and press Mr. Putin for answers that go beyond simple denials. Vivian Salama, WSJ, "Russian Agents’ Indictment Raises Stakes Ahead of Trump-Putin Summit," 13 July 2018 Flummoxed by this distressing paradox, my editor turned to me for answers. Evelyn Lamb, Smithsonian, "The Scientific Quest For the Perfect S’more," 13 July 2018 As community members continue to press for answers regarding the death of a man who was arrested by National City police, some have raised concerns about the city’s police oversight board, which has not convened since late last year. David Hernandez,, "Residents angry over death of man arrested by police call for full staffing of review board," 9 July 2018 Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter Even those who disagree with the Roe decision sometimes turn to the 14th Amendment for answers. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Trump's Supreme Court Pick Puts Spotlight on Roe v. Wade on 150th Anniversary of the Amendment That Made the Case Possible," 9 July 2018 McCaslin, an Omaha police detective, has been searching for answers about his uncle and his plane. David Owens,, "74 Years Later, Connecticut Airman Shot Down Over France In WW II To Get Proper Burial," 7 July 2018 This is an example of a keyword void, or search void: a situation where searching for answers about a keyword returns content produced by a niche group with a particular agenda. Renee Diresta, WIRED, "The Complexity of Simply Searching for Medical Advice," 3 July 2018 Almost 10 years later, Grand Prairie police remain optimistic that Ray's case will be solved, and a family still waits for answers. Deanna Boyd, star-telegram, "He worked to steer troubled youths from crime, but Ray Hernandez died a murder victim," 2 July 2018 My film, called Ugly Beauty, wandered hopelessly about the territory searching for answers. Waldemar Januszczak, A-LIST, "Kate Moss: The Golden Girl," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If that’s not tantalizing enough, some of the questions can’t be answered for decades more. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Documentary explores a dark family reunion," 13 July 2018 On Friday, Louisville’s players seemed content their wishes had been answered. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville football players applaud stadium name change," 13 July 2018 Those are the questions that need to be answered, Dr. Halzen said. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "It Came From a Black Hole, and Landed in Antarctica," 12 July 2018 Requests for comment from Fowler and a person listed as her attorney were not immediately answered. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Kansas councilwoman allegedly bites corrections officer's thumb hard enough to break it during fight," 10 July 2018 These questions have been answered in the affirmative. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 The reason, along with many of the show's greatest mysteries, will probably never be answered. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "Shay Mitchell on the Secrets Behind Her Great Skin," 5 July 2018 How much better depends on multiple factors, questions to be answered in the coming months: Just how good is 2018 first-round pick Aaron Holiday? Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Tyreke Evans a risk worth taking as Pacers build Eastern Conference contender," 3 July 2018 All will be answered when the second season premieres in August. Kathryn Lindsay,, "The Jersey Shore Gang Is About To Meet A New Tiny Meatball," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'answer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of answer


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for 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-


see answer entry 1

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Statistics for answer

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for answer

The first known use of answer was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for answer



English Language Learners Definition of answer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of answer (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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)


an·​swer | \ˈan-sər \

Kids Definition of answer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

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


answered; answering

Kids Definition of answer (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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

3 : to pick up (a ringing telephone)

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

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

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

answer back

: to reply rudely



Legal Definition of answer 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

Note: 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.

Legal Definition of answer (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to serve or file an answer

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

transitive verb

1 : to reply to in an answer answer the complaint

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

Other Words from answer

answerable adjective

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Comments on answer

What made you want to look up answer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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