reply

1 of 2

verb

re·​ply ri-ˈplī How to pronounce reply (audio)
replied; replying

intransitive verb

1
a
: to respond in words or writing
b
c
: to make a legal replication
2
: to do something in response
specifically : to return gunfire or an attack

transitive verb

: to give as an answer
replier noun

reply

2 of 2

noun

plural replies
1
: something said, written, or done in answer or response
2
Choose the Right Synonym for reply

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 reply in a Sentence

Verb I called out to them, but no one replied. He didn't reply to her greeting. The company has replied to the recent protests by posting an ad in the local newspaper. She replied to the accusation with a stack of documents proving her innocence. He replied politely that he felt a little better. Noun A timely reply will be appreciated. The invitations have been sent, but we haven't received any replies yet. I asked her what was wrong. In reply, she handed me a letter. He wrote a brief note in reply to her letter.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The 67-year-old fan favorite replied to an Instagram comment on a video of her and former co-star Kathy Swarts discussing the couple’s April 12 announcement. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 13 Apr. 2024 Harvard replied that the ballot had been updated and Hidalgo was placed on it. Noah Alcala Bach, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 12 Apr. 2024 The board’s president replied that the Thursday vote was the first reading of an ordinance to change the name, and as such, officially only signaled the board’s intent to change the name. George Avalos, The Mercury News, 11 Apr. 2024 And Drake, who’s not yet replied in song, has never been one to take the mature path. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 10 Apr. 2024 Now, experts and analysts worry that with generative AI, election deniers could mass-produce FOIA requests at an even greater rate, drowning the election workers legally obligated to reply to them in paperwork and gumming up the electoral process. Vittoria Elliott, WIRED, 10 Apr. 2024 Locke hasn’t confirmed the screenshots or replied to requests for comment, only confirming their company has parted ways with the production. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Apr. 2024 When critics mentioned this, Park replied that the resemblance was accidental. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024 Beyoncé is replying with other national myths: the U.S. as a cultural melting pot, a hotbed of innovation, a place whose future is more interesting than its past. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 2 Apr. 2024
Noun
In fact, these accounts are also eligible for ad-sharing revenue based on the organic impressions on promotions that appear in the replies to their extremist and racist posts. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 11 Apr. 2024 Chat Assist is in the Samsung Keyboard app and offers replies or can help rephrase a message to match certain tones. Iyaz Akhtar, PCMAG, 10 Apr. 2024 Realizing that clarification was in order, Amano trotted out a few online replies. Michael Deeds, Idaho Statesman, 9 Apr. 2024 As of early Friday morning, Smith has deleted his replies. Shane Connuck, Charlotte Observer, 5 Apr. 2024 Pixel fans and watchful Android experts asked the same question: what the heck, Google? The Pixel 8 will get support for Gemini Nano in the next Pixel feature drop as a developer preview, powering on-device recorder summaries and smart replies in Gboard — same as the Pixel 8 Pro. Allison Johnson, The Verge, 28 Mar. 2024 The Bee reached out to the restaurant for comment on Friday morning and left a message with an employee, but had not received a reply as of midday Friday. 12 local restaurants cited for health violations The following Sacramento County restaurants had violations the week of March. Jacqueline Pinedo, Sacramento Bee, 22 Mar. 2024 However, as TechCrunch explains, there are currently limits, such as the inability for Threads users to see replies and likes from other fediverse servers. Rachyl Jones, Fortune, 22 Mar. 2024 Fox News Digital also reached out to Hochul and California Gov. Gavin Newsom's offices but did not receive replies. NYC Mayor Eric Adams' office directed Fox News Digital to the NYPD when asked if there's concern migrants could exploit local squatting laws. Emma Colton, Fox News, 4 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reply.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English replien "to fold back, oppose, repeat, respond verbally, deny, answer a legal charge," borrowed from Anglo-French replier, reploier "to bend back, respond, answer, make a replication," in part continuing continental Old & Middle French repleier, reploier "to refold (something) unfolded," replié "something folded back" (from re- re- + plier "to fold, bend"), in part going back to Latin replicāre "to turn back on itself, bend back, unroll (a papyrus book), go over (a thought, topic) repeatedly, make a replication" (Late Latin also "to restore, repeat, reply") — more at ply entry 3, replicate entry 1

Note: Note that continental Old and Middle French repleier and its variants (continued by modern French replier) refer only to literal folding and lack the metaphoric senses of Latin and Late Latin replicāre. This has led some references (Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, Trésor de la langue française) to treat repleier as a new formation from re- and plier. The Anglo-French verb, however, continues extended senses of Latin replicāre, in particular the legal sense, and suggests that it is either a direct descendant of replicāre or was formed as its equivalent on the model of other verbs ending in -plier (compare etymologies of apply, imply). Anglo-French repliquer was borrowed directly from the Latin verb (with correspondents in Old and Middle French; compare Modern French répliquer) and was apparently not taken up by Middle English.

Noun

derivative of reply entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reply was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near reply

Cite this Entry

“Reply.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reply. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

reply

1 of 2 verb
re·​ply ri-ˈplī How to pronounce reply (audio)
replied; replying
1
: to respond in words or writing
reply to a letter
2
: to do something in response
especially : to return gunfire or an attack
3
: to give as an answer
replied not a word
replier noun

reply

2 of 2 noun
plural replies
: something said, written, or done in answer or response

Legal Definition

reply

noun
re·​ply
: a plaintiff's or complainant's response to a plea, allegation, or counterclaim in the defendant's answer

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