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

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Other Words from answer

Verb

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for answer

Synonyms: Noun

comeback, rejoinder, replication, reply, response, retort, return

Synonyms: Verb

come back, rejoin, reply, respond, retort, return, riposte

Antonyms: Noun

inquiry, query, question

Antonyms: Verb

ask, inquire, question

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For many children and teens, the answer to this last question is: Every. Bianca Sanchez, chicagotribune.com, "A drowning accident in Lake Michigan claimed the life of their 15-year-old son. Here’s what they and others want you to know about water safety.," 20 June 2019 Asked to identify Madonna’s most scandalous moment, this is not the answer that most people would give. C.m., The Economist, "Madonna remains scandalous, but for the wrong reason," 19 June 2019 The Huskies were 100th in the nation in sacks per game, and repeat could be problematic with so many inexperienced defensive backs … Mammoth sophomore Joe Tryon (266 pounds) might be the answer. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Pac-12 football look-ahead series: Strongest and weakest units in the North," 19 June 2019 In the hands of director and choreographer Diane Lala, the answer is dazzling entertainment with enough of a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that makes every show-biz cliché newly endearing. nola.com, "Summer Lyric presents tap-happy love song to Broadway with ‘42nd Street’," 19 June 2019 For places such as Palu, which has a bloody history of sectarian violence, that has provided an opening for hard-liners and their message that religion, not government is the answer. Stephen Wright, Fox News, "When disaster hits, Indonesia's Islamists are first to help," 11 June 2019 And certainly the way in which this movie deals with it, would not be the answer. Kelsea Stahler, refinery29.com, "Why Oscar-Winner Hilary Swank Agreed To Fight A Robot On Netflix," 7 June 2019 If Humphries isn’t the answer, Harrison doesn’t pan out and the Cardinals project Cunningham more as a reserve swing tackle, the team may be forced to spend its first-round draft pick next year on a left tackle. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Report: Arizona Cardinals adding Desmond Harrison with waiver claim to help offensive line," 6 June 2019 Employees fighting the same cause must grapple with an old question: Is disengagement the right answer? Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Employee activism is great—until it pits colleagues against each other," 1 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Art After Stonewall doesn’t attempt to answer that question neatly, or conclusively. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Lesbian ‘Propagandist’ Who Documented a Movement," 19 June 2019 In one survey on decision-making for nine common medical conditions, fewer than half of the responding patients were able to answer more than one question correctly about their medical condition. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What you need to know about shared decision-making and how it can lead to better health care," 19 June 2019 Essays should answer the question by taking a stance and making a case based on arguments and facts. The Economist, "Our essay competition for young people," 19 June 2019 As Clarke pointed out, there simply isn't enough data to answer that question yet. Ed Christman, Billboard, "Future Looks Bright in Streaming Age, Say Wall Street Experts at AIMP Indie Music Publishing Summit," 11 June 2019 Griffin offers a fresh start for New Orleans, while Rob Pelinka no longer answers to Magic Johnson to make a deal happen. Kyle Goon, Orange County Register, "Purple & Bold: Anthony Davis rumors are circling again. Here’s what’s changed.," 6 June 2019 In today's era of teacher strikes and walkouts, the analysis answers a key question: Can educators in this area afford to live on their take-home pay? USA Today, "'Can't pay their bills with love': For many teaching jobs, teachers' pay can't cover rent," 5 June 2019 There’s enough momentum that even a bad upcoming season can probably be answered by a good 2020-21 season. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Bobby Witt Jr., Ned Yost, Patrick Mahomes and dad’n," 4 June 2019 But still, the Panthers had a big question to answer on their interior defensive line. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Addition of McCoy makes Panthers a true contender, arriving at the perfect time," 3 June 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.

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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-

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Statistics for answer

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for answer

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

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More Definitions for answer

answer

noun

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on answer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with answer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for answer

Spanish Central: Translation of answer

Nglish: Translation of answer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of answer for Arabic Speakers

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