an·​swer·​able ˈan(t)-s(ə-)rə-bəl How to pronounce answerable (audio)
: liable to be called to account : responsible
The specialists who design the programs work for and are answerable to distant development agencies.Samia Altaf
The Fed's prestige is back up, and meanwhile we have a Congress that is elected and is answerable to the people …Adam Smith
: capable of being answered or refuted
There has been a controversy on the question of whether the species was genetically closer to the horse or to the zebra. This question may possibly be answerable now that DNA from the three species is available for comparison.Harold M. Schmeck, Jr.
an answerable assertion
archaic : suitable, adequate
archaic : corresponding, similar
Choose the Right Synonym for answerable

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

Examples of answerable in a Sentence

a powerful businesswoman who seems to think that she's answerable to no one you are answerable for your own conduct at all times
Recent Examples on the Web Protesters demanding royal reform wanted to abolish the lese majeste law, and to ensure the king is answerable to the constitution, with protesters scrutinizing Vajiralongkorn’s immense wealth and power. Helen Regan, CNN, 31 Jan. 2024 That kind of decision is essentially a political decision, and the politically answerable official who heads the executive — the president — is the person ultimately responsible to the public for the results. Michael B. Mukasey, National Review, 9 May 2023 Los Angeles and other big cities are answerable for potholes on the streets (but not highways) within their boundaries. Jon Healey, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2023 These and related measures were meant to make Congress more answerable to the public. Barton Swaim, WSJ, 6 Dec. 2023 Last year, almost 75,000 employees answered a short survey including 24 questions answerable on a seven-point scale that ranges from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Bronwen Latimer, Washington Post, 12 Oct. 2023 Those agencies are also answerable to the president and accountable to Congress—and therefore ultimately responsible to the American people—while unelected judges are not. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 20 July 2023 Having legal advisers in the ministries be answerable and selected by the minister. CBS News, 22 Mar. 2023 An unprecedented demand was royal reform to ensure the King is answerable to the constitution and amendments to the royal insult law. Helen Regan, CNN, 19 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'answerable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of answerable was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near answerable

Cite this Entry

“Answerable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


an·​swer·​able ˈan(t)s-(ə-)rə-bəl How to pronounce answerable (audio)
: getting the credit or blame for one's acts or decisions : responsible
: capable of being answered or proved wrong

More from Merriam-Webster on answerable

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!