re·​spond | \ ri-ˈspänd How to pronounce respond (audio) \

Definition of respond

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an engaged pillar supporting an arch or closing a colonnade or arcade


responded; responding; responds

Definition of respond (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to say something in return : make an answer respond to criticism
2a : to react in response responded to a call for help
b : to show favorable reaction respond to surgery
3 : to be answerable respond in damages

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Other Words from respond


responder \ ri-​ˈspän-​dər How to pronounce responder (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for respond

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of respond in a Sentence

Verb She hasn't yet responded to my letter. My mother responded to my request with a firm no. The teacher asked a question, but the student didn't respond. “Are you ready?” he asked. “No,” she responded. When I asked him what he was doing, he responded that it was none of my business. Police quickly responded to the call for help. She responded to their decision by threatening to quit.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In Square Haunting and The Equivalents, two rich and powerful new books, the critics Francesca Wade and Maggie Doherty respond to Woolf’s call to rewrite intellectual history by writing women’s history. Ruth Franklin, Harper's Magazine, "Splinters and Mosaics," 25 May 2020 Calls for Dennard to resign, or at least respond, have grown louder a day after the FBI arrested her in front of a downtown Starbucks. Scott Wartman,, "Cranley calls on Tamaya Dennard to resign or show innocence. 'She owes the public an explanation'," 26 Feb. 2020 Choose one photograph and, without reading the caption, respond: What is going on in this picture? Nicole Daniels, New York Times, "Here’s What the First Night of the Subway Shutdown Looked Like," 13 May 2020 But now she's gotten to know their families better, too, as well as respond to some of their needs. Erin Richards, USA TODAY, "Teacher Appreciation Week: They wanted respect. It only took a coronavirus pandemic and worldwide economic collapse.," 4 May 2020 Trump OKs Kentucky disaster declaration President Donald Trump on Saturday approved Beshear's request for a disaster declaration, ordering federal assistance to help the state respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "'The surge is here': Beshear announces leap in Kentucky's coronavirus cases," 28 Mar. 2020 Neither the Russian foreign ministry nor Rosneft responded respond Thursday to requests for comment. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, "In the U.S. embargo on Venezuelan oil, Russia is a clear winner," 6 Feb. 2020 None of the employees who tested positive for COVID-19 or who are in quarantine respond to calls for fires or emergency medical services, Osborne said. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, "League City: 10 municipal employees test positive for virus," 31 Mar. 2020 While there have been no confirmed cases in Ohio to date, this funding will help the state respond to any potential outbreaks, says U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Cleveland police issue no discipline to supervisor who detained Tamir Rice’s sister as he lay dying: The Wake Up for Thursday, March 5, 2020," 5 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Police said officers responded to several shots being fired from a vehicle following a demonstration that had lasted hours. Fox News, "George Floyd death: The cities where people are protesting and rioting," 30 May 2020 Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said fire crews could not safely respond to fires at the precinct station and some surrounding buildings. Jordan Culver, USA TODAY, "Minneapolis protests escalate as police precinct is set on fire and evacuated; Trump lashes out at looters on Twitter: What we know," 29 May 2020 The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said around 2:15 p.m., deputies responded to a small aircraft crash near the 2300 block of Glengary Loop Road. oregonlive, "At least 1 killed in Douglas County helicopter crash," 29 May 2020 Arlington Fire first responded to the report at 8:50 a.m., Fegan said. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Body found in Trinity River near River Legacy Park in Arlington," 29 May 2020 Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner said fire crews could not safely respond to fires at the precinct station and some surrounding buildings. Tim Sullivan And Amy Forliti, The Christian Science Monitor, "Minneapolis protests turn violent as mayor appeals for peace," 29 May 2020 By Thursday, the White House responded with an executive order instructing federal agencies to try to roll back the liability protections afforded online companies by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Noam Cohen, Wired, "There Can Be No Compromise In the Trump vs. Twitter Beef," 29 May 2020 President Donald Trump will later have to invoke the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 to respond with appropriate measures, possible approaches range from economic relations, to restrictions on immigration to cultural and educational exchanges. Joshua Wong, Time, "Joshua Wong: Hong Kong Cannot Prosper Without Autonomy," 29 May 2020 Bryan Reynolds said patrol officers responded to a report of shots fired and arrived to find the two dead. Alana Minkler, azcentral, "2 people found dead outside Scottsdale home after report of shooting," 28 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'respond.' 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 respond


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1572, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for respond


Middle English respounde, literally, reply, from Anglo-French respuns, respunt response


alteration of Middle English respounden, from Anglo-French respundre, from Latin respondēre to promise in return, answer, from re- + spondēre to promise — more at spouse

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Time Traveler for respond

Time Traveler

The first known use of respond was in the 15th century

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Statistics for respond

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Respond.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for respond



English Language Learners Definition of respond

: to say or write something as an answer to a question or request
: to do something as a reaction to something that has happened or been done : to have a particular reaction to something
: to have a good or desired reaction to something


re·​spond | \ ri-ˈspänd How to pronounce respond (audio) \
responded; responding

Kids Definition of respond

1 : to say something in return I called to her, but she didn't respond.
2 : to react in a way that shows some action was successful Did the patient respond to surgery?
re·​spond | \ ri-ˈspänd How to pronounce respond (audio) \

Medical Definition of respond

1 : to react in response
2 : to show favorable reaction respond to chemotherapy

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