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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 The Decluttr Store is the answer to all those issues. CNN Underscored, "The Decluttr Store offers a low cost, waste reducing way to upgrade your tech," 26 Feb. 2021 Amid climate change, gas isn’t an answer so much as just another problem. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Get a Heat Pump," 26 Feb. 2021 These makers seem to be in alignment; the puffer scarf is the practical and stylish answer to frigid weather. Rachel Besser, Vogue, "What to Wear to Stay Warm? A Delightfully Practical Puffer Scarf," 23 Feb. 2021 Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Friday that more regulation isn’t the answer to Texas’ power crisis that left millions of residents without electricity or heat this week due to a brutal winter storm. Fox News, "Rick Perry says Biden can't fix Texas power crisis with more regulations," 20 Feb. 2021 But when Kyma tried to call her daughter’s cell phone, there was no answer. NBC News, "Mother fears she'll never get answers in disappearance of daughter Janteyl Johnson who vanished from Delaware home in 2010," 20 Feb. 2021 Divesting out of Myanmar entirely is not the answer. Paul Polman, Fortune, "Business must take a stand on Myanmar’s military coup," 20 Feb. 2021 Tiquella Watson, the mother of a second grader, a sixth grade student and a high school freshman, said remote learning was the right answer for her family. Steve Sadin,, "Zion Elementary District 6 students learning remotely or in classroom: ‘They are all doing the same activities’," 19 Feb. 2021 When asked if the latest guideline was a mistake, Harris didn't give a direct answer. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Kamala Harris's team dodges answers on school reopenings," 17 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Almost everyone in Israel who got the vaccine received their second dose on time, so that study cannot answer the question of how well the protection induced by the first dose of vaccine would last if it was not boosted at the appropriate time. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine performs as well in the real world as in clinical trials, new study concludes," 28 Feb. 2021 The women glanced at one another for several minutes, not sure of how to answer, until Doris Maloney finally broke the silence. Chris Serres, Star Tribune, "COVID-19 vaccines bring joy back to Minnesota's senior homes," 27 Feb. 2021 This gives Buffett more opportunity to expand on the themes of the letter and answer audience questions. Simon Moore, Forbes, "Buffett’s Latest Letter Shows Contempt For Bonds, Portfolio Shift From Airlines To Pharma," 27 Feb. 2021 Here’s the latest installment of our Miami Dolphins Q&A, where South Florida Sun Sentinel writers Safid Deen and Omar Kelly answer questions from readers. Omar Kelly,, "Dolphins Q&A: What are the Dolphins’ top free-agent needs?," 26 Feb. 2021 In the series, Seventeen Editor-in-Chief Kristin Koch interviews these leaders to answer your career questions. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, "How Michelle Morgan is Transforming Advertising & Media," 26 Feb. 2021 She and weekly guests, whether Martha Stewart, Marie Kondo, or the Property Brothers answer your decorating, design and decluttering questions. Jura Koncius, Washington Post, "Jill LaRue of California Closets on dealing with the mess behind the door (March 4)," 25 Feb. 2021 Some of the questions the initiative hopes to answer, Collins said, include, what are the underlying biological causes of the prolonged symptoms and what makes some people vulnerable to them but not others. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "US health leaders are preparing for all scenarios -- including another wave of Covid-19 cases," 25 Feb. 2021 There was no way to answer all the open questions that existed across the prior 119 episodes of the show. Jen Chaney, Vulture, "No, They Weren’t Dead the Whole Time," 25 Feb. 2021

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


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-

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

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Answer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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 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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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