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 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


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


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


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.


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

Here’s the thing: anyone who refuses to take no for an answer with regard to the relatively minor requests probably isn’t great at respecting boundaries in general—which is helpful information to have! Rachel Wilkerson Miller, SELF, "The Art of Saying No to Invites When You REALLY Don't Want to Do Something," 18 July 2019 Read on for her answers to our Big Beauty Questions. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Ariel Winter Is Sick of Comparing Herself With Other Women," 17 July 2019 Their provisional answer should come by the end of next week. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "Donald Trump’s border wall reaches the Supreme Court," 17 July 2019 And why — if the answer was so clear that Jones was suicidal and crazy — was the investigation still open? Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Chapter One: A Quiet Man," 15 July 2019 My answers to his questions grew more and more peremptory. Dale Peck, The New Republic, "My Mayor Pete Problem," 12 July 2019 The governor argues that his answer will cost ratepayers less than inaction. Taryn Luna,, "Wanting to ease utility wildfire costs, Newsom faces biggest test yet with lawmakers," 8 July 2019 Click a question below to jump to its answerWhat is anxiety? The Editors, Marie Claire, "Every Question About Anxiety You've Ever Had, Answered," 8 July 2019 The answer is most of Gen Z, according to a report in CNBC. Bianca Nieves, Teen Vogue, "The 3 Vintage Etsy Shops Teen Vogue Editors Swear By," 3 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This was vintage Bumgarner in every way — dominant on the mound, vigorous in trying to stay in the game, blunt in answering questions. Ron Kroichick,, "Giants’ Madison Bumgarner sparkles, Donovan Solano gets decisive hit in 16-inning win," 19 July 2019 The College Expo entailed two hours of an open forum and each school had a table where the head coaches were there to answer questions and hold prearranged meetings with the players. Gary Curreri,, "Country’s top junior tennis players compete in clay court championships," 19 July 2019 While answering questions at conference media days this week, he was asked to weigh in on whether the move should be considered an unsportsmanlike penalty. The Si Staff,, "'Horns Down' Is Already This Year's Most Controversial College Football Celebration," 19 July 2019 The rally left Republicans once again answering for the president. Weijia Jiang, CBS News, "Trump took heat from Melania and Ivanka over racist chants at rally," 18 July 2019 Gotta do this: No recitation of that night is complete without noting that Eckersley stood at his locker after the game, displaying unparalleled professionalism, and answered questions from wave after wave of reporters from all around the world. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Decades later Kirk Gibson apologizes to Dennis Eckersley, and here’s why," 18 July 2019 Staffers checked in, ran food, stopped to chat, answer questions, offer recommendations. Amy Drew Thompson,, "“Sette" it off: Stellar service, serious portions in the Ivanhood | Review," 17 July 2019 The White House has blocked several witnesses from answering questions. Mary Clare Jalonick, Twin Cities, "Democratic-run House blocks maverick Democrat’s effort to impeach Trump, in show of party’s rift on issue," 17 July 2019 Cutting calorie intake has long been known as a way to extend the lives of rodents and other lab animals, and studies like these are getting us closer to answering whether the same could apply to humans. Samantha Lauriello,, "Cutting Just 300 Calories a Day Can Improve Your Health, Study Finds," 17 July 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


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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Statistics for answer

Last Updated

21 Jul 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



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

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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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