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

There’s no magic answer or magic sentence that helps that. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Tigers' growing pains aren't easy but Gardenhire is proud of fight," 14 July 2018 Democracy provided the answer: an election on June 17 put a stark choice before the people. James Stavridis, Time, "Democracy Isn't Perfect, But It Will Still Prevail," 12 July 2018 The answer, per Buzzfeed, is two designers, Andrew Greenbaum and Ian Felton. Emily Wang, Teen Vogue, "This Bright Pink Coffin Pool Float Is Peak Summer 2018," 6 July 2018 Having been exposed to the problem, some gave an immediate answer, some were given time to think, and a third group were given a tricky maths problem to distract them. Daniel Glaser, A-LIST, "Out of Your Mind," 1 July 2018 The Spring 2019 answer to the recently ubiquitous fanny pack? Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The Spring 2019 Men’s Trend Report," 27 June 2018 One possible answer to what swayed voters: the May 27 flood in historic Ellicott City, the second deadly flood to strike the district in less than two years. Kate Magill, Howard County Times, "Political newcomer eyes takedown of Howard County Council incumbent, with 41 votes between them," 27 June 2018 Jets safety Jamal Adams and Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White were answers. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde5: Here's five reasons to feel better about the Miami Dolphins in July," 13 July 2018 But if a reason is a must, then celebrating National Ice Cream Day is the answer. Sunday, July 15, marks the annual holiday, and several Louisville parlors are getting in on the fun with discounts on scoops, cones and shakes. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Celebrate National Ice Cream Day with deals at these Louisville shops," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But if temperature is the main factor, then there’s still one puzzle researchers have to answer. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "The Earliest Mammals Kept Their Cool With Descended Testicles," 28 June 2018 Those are the questions Virginia Tech researchers Mattia Samory and Tanushree Mitra, who study deviant behavior in online discussions, tried to answer by analyzing a decade's worth of Reddit conspiracy talk. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "Here’s One Way to Reform an Internet Conspiracy Theorist," 27 June 2018 Jon Tester and Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly all have to answer questions about Maxine Waters. Fox News, "Democrats call out Maxine Waters for encouraging incivility," 26 June 2018 To mitigate bias, Weissman proposed that potential jurors answer a questionnaire to determine their exposure to coverage of both cases. Abigail Tracy, The Hive, "Is Mueller’s Team Worried that Trump’s Strategy Is Working?," 22 June 2018 Poor Will, meanwhile, has to answer four hundred and thirty-five questions about his mental well-being, posed aloud by a computer. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“Leave No Trace” and “Three Identical Strangers”," 21 June 2018 These are all questions the app will have to answer. Madeline Buxton,, "Instagram Launches IGTV, A New Video Platform You'll Spend Hours On," 20 June 2018 But 4:44, Jay-Z’s best album in a long time, tries to answer those concerns. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Surprise Album Makes Marriage Into a Spectacle," 17 June 2018 Hancock is one of several players who is suing the NCAA and is tired of answering the question about prostitutes nearly every day Louisville Courier Journal Luke Hancock has been wronged. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Ex-Card Luke Hancock sympathetic, but law seems to be on NCAA's side," 11 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

13 Oct 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).


one that holds something together

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