an·​swer | \ ˈan(t)-sər How to pronounce answer (audio) \

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 How to pronounce answer (audio) , ˈan(t)-​sə-​ \

Definition of answer (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to speak or write in reply think carefully before answering
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

Other Words from answer


answerer \ ˈan(t)-​sər-​ər How to pronounce answer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for answer

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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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

Noun 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. Verb 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For answers, turn to Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer tool from Oregon State University’s Extension Service. oregonlive, 25 June 2022 The answer, perhaps surprisingly, was birth control. Paige Mcglauflin, Fortune, 25 June 2022 In a question-and-answer session, committee members pressed the New Hampshire officials about how the state would respond if the committee decides to move it later in the process. Brianne Pfannenstiel, USA TODAY, 23 June 2022 Sorvig said many of the screened films' architects will be present throughout the festival for post-screening question-and-answer sessions as well as after-hours events. Rory Appleton, The Indianapolis Star, 23 June 2022 In fact, Musk repeatedly contradicted himself throughout the question-and-answer session. Scott Nover, Quartz, 16 June 2022 The plans of the always unpredictable Mr. Musk could still change and the question-and-answer format could prompt him to expand on these and other topics. Cara Lombardo, WSJ, 15 June 2022 Cleveland’s public-relations headache intensified on Tuesday when the team — apparently coincidentally — invited fans on Twitter to participate in a question-and-answer session just minutes after The Times published its investigation. New York Times, 9 June 2022 Her sister, Officer Andrea Galbraith of the South Euclid Police Department, set up a tour and a question-and-answer session with K9 Kaos for Will and members of his day program. cleveland, 7 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Regardless of whether or not a recession emerges or another tech bubble bursts, there are questions that every startup should ask and answer prior to approaching any VC firm as fundraising kicks off. Mike Ghaffary, Fortune, 15 June 2022 Dahle said Newsom should give less attention to national issues that won’t affect Californians and instead answer to the problems that have gotten worse under his watch: homelessness, crime and the rising cost of gas. Taryn Lunastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2022 Only a small fraction of their time would be spent talking to the people who answer. Jonathan Rosenberg, Forbes, 10 June 2022 While the new plans answer a lot of the concerns raised about the initial plans, there are some downsides. Drake Bentley, Journal Sentinel, 8 June 2022 Growing up in a Catholic household and attending a private Catholic school, Alejandra Campollo had a lot of questions that neither her church nor her teachers would answer: mostly, questions about sexuality. Shahrazad Encinias,, 8 June 2022 After Organized Team Activities on Wednesday, Stefanski had about six occasions to use his go-to answer during his press conference. cleveland, 8 June 2022 Throughout the film, which premiered on June 1 exclusively for Daily Wire subscribers, Walsh struggles to find anyone who can answer what would appear to be a simple question. Jack Wolfsohn, National Review, 7 June 2022 Neher said studying the sequence data alone can’t answer that question. Andrew Joseph, STAT, 3 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for answer

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Answer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for answer


an·​swer | \ ˈan-sər How to pronounce answer (audio) \

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 email
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 job posting
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.


intransitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on answer

Nglish: Translation of answer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of answer for Arabic Speakers


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