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 Long lines formed for arroz con gandules, rice and peas; alcapurrias, fritters; and pasteles, Puerto Rico’s answer to the tamale. Alexander Thompson,, 31 July 2022 Perhaps one answer lies in the Pentagon’s wholesale embrace of woke politics. Jimmy Byrn, WSJ, 29 July 2022 The answer: Mostly businesses and high-earning individuals. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 28 July 2022 Now, watch Kim Kardashian answer beauty questions from the Internet: Our bad! Sarah Hoffmann, Allure, 24 July 2022 The short answer: movies from the reign of the studio system, from the early days of Hollywood film production in the nineteen-tens to the historical dividing line of 1968. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 23 July 2022 The answer, delivered by this week's Stray, is quite compelling. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 18 July 2022 So there’s the answer for anyone wondering why was Brittney Griner in Russia in the first place? Greg Moore, USA TODAY, 14 July 2022 Now, watch Kim Kardashian answer beauty questions from the internet: Our bad! Tynan Sinks, Allure, 19 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Remote volunteering is needed to answer the shelter’s main phone line and assist with its social media accounts. Karen Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2022 Carman was supposed to meet his mother a few hours later but never showed up and did not answer his phone, the affidavit said. Shelley Murphy,, 2 Aug. 2022 Meanwhile, Bruce – who spent the early Marvel movies grappling with the Hulk for control of his body – believes Jen should answer the call to be a superhero, and provides a crash course on being an Avenger. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 2 Aug. 2022 This third blog in this series identifies key questions that a Board Director can ask of its CEOs, and in turn, the CEO should be well prepared to answer these questions in the boardroom or have his or her CIO/CTO respond in the IT audit committee. Cindy Gordon, Forbes, 31 July 2022 The association sent out a question-and-answer document to its members addressing some questions about the new law. Mike Cason |, al, 30 July 2022 The at-large staff can still answer constituent questions and help with requests related to federal agencies, such as assistance getting passports, Social Security benefits and Veterans Affairs benefits. Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News, 29 July 2022 Earlier this month, the judge ruled that Spears' father, Jamie Spears, does have to provide deposition and answer questions about the controversial legal arrangement that lasted 13 years. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 28 July 2022 Each pair must stand on a ledge hanging off a 30-story building and answer Lavin's questions. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 27 July 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

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Answer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 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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