answer

noun
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.

answer

verb
answered; answering\ ˈan(t)s-​riŋ How to pronounce answering (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from answer

Verb

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for answer

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for answer

Noun

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 That answer revealed itself midway through the third quarter and carried through to the finish as Clear Springs pulled away to a 54-29 victory to remain unbeaten in its league schedule. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Girls’ basketball: Second-half surge lifts Clear Springs past Clear Brook," 3 Jan. 2020 Here are some questions and answers related to the new law, based off of previous Times stories: Why was the law created? Los Angeles Times, "Seeing those opt-out messages about your personal information on websites? Thank California’s new privacy law," 2 Jan. 2020 Another impending offseason with plenty of questions that have no easy answers. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's reality unchanged after Citrus Bowl loss: Not quite elite," 1 Jan. 2020 Gerwig’s answer is to underscore his real desires by ensuring that the movie’s most romantic beat comes not between Laurie and any of the sisters, but between Laurie and all of them, plus Marmee. Philippa Snow, The New Republic, "The Reinvention of Little Women," 1 Jan. 2020 So, the answer may vary depending your local restaurant. Katie Bourque, Good Housekeeping, "Is McDonald's Open on New Years Day? All We Know About McDonalds' New Year's Hours," 1 Jan. 2020 Acton’s answer to this problem was not to abandon liberalism, but to insist that it be tethered to traditional religion. Yuval Levin, National Review, "The Historian as Moralist," 31 Dec. 2019 While the powers that be have no answers, the mystery aircraft have inspired a wide range of theories online. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "“Weird and concerning”: Mystery drone sightings continue across Colorado and into Nebraska," 27 Dec. 2019 The answer may vary depending on the specifics of your job. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Young and ambitious? Don’t devote nights and weekends to your employer—do this instead," 26 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Founder and Executive Director Barbara Blalock answered questions about her organization's work and how Season for Sharing aided those efforts. Elizabeth Montgomery, azcentral, "Know of a classroom short on school supplies? This Tempe nonprofit provides them year-round," 1 Jan. 2020 Legend has it that it was established by a monk, whose cat answered his prayers to bring his budding temple prosperity, by waving in rich travelers. Laura Studarus, Marie Claire, "Where to Go in Tokyo to Take Instagram-Worthy Pictures," 27 Dec. 2019 The difference between the two sheriffs’ approaches demonstrates the unique power Alabama sheriffs have to set their own rules and answer only to voters. Connor Sheets, ProPublica, "How Some Sheriffs Force Their Inmates Into Medical Debt," 26 Dec. 2019 Most telling, though, and of deep concern for the Bruins, was that Oshie didn’t have to answer for the hit. BostonGlobe.com, "So, who in a Black-and-Gold sweater might respond to such a thing? Monday night, no one. Crickets on an inordinately warm December eve.," 24 Dec. 2019 After agreeing to participate, respondents can offer us their medical records, answer a variety of surveys about their health and lifestyle, and participate in other activities such as syncing their fitness tracker data to our program. Stephanie Devaney, Scientific American, "All of Us," 23 Dec. 2019 Shoup then assigned a duty officer to continue answering calls. Joseph Neese, House Beautiful, "Christmas Is Almost Here: Here Are All the Ways You Can Track Santa With Your Kids," 22 Dec. 2019 As an older woman passing by inquires after her last name, Rey pauses for a moment before answering. Lauren Morgan, EW.com, "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," 21 Dec. 2019 Not many details are known about the film, including the plot or who Washington’s character is, but the time-altering trailer for the thriller presents and answers very few questions. Essence, "John David Washington Faces A Mysterious Threat In New 'Tenet' Trailer," 20 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of answer

Noun

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

Verb

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-

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about answer

Time Traveler for answer

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for answer

Last Updated

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Answer.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/answered. Accessed 17 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for answer

answer

noun
How to pronounce answer (audio)

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

answer

verb

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)

answer

noun
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.

answer

verb
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

answer

noun
an·​swer

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on answer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for answer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with answer

Spanish Central: Translation of answer

Nglish: Translation of answer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of answer for Arabic Speakers

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

a plan in which a last survivor takes all

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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