re·​sponse | \ ri-ˈspän(t)s How to pronounce response (audio) \

Definition of response

1 : an act of responding
2 : something constituting a reply or a reaction: such as
a : a verse, phrase, or word sung or said by the people or choir after or in reply to the officiant in a liturgical service
b : the activity or inhibition of previous activity of an organism or any of its parts resulting from stimulation
c : the output of a transducer or detecting device resulting from a given input

Synonyms for response


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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 response in a Sentence

He got a response to his letter. I am writing in response to your letter of July 17. When I told him my plan, I wasn't expecting such an enthusiastic response. Her response to their decision was to threaten to quit her job. When you knocked on the door, was there any response?
Recent Examples on the Web Within China, Beijing’s irate response found plenty of support among Chinese. Paul Mozur,, 3 Aug. 2022 One day after California declared a state of emergency because of the growing outbreak, the chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors proclaimed a local emergency to expand the county’s response. Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2022 Try to have at least 10 of these conversations before making any adjustments or response. David Cristello, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 Writing in The New York Times, committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., lambasted China's response to Pelosi's visit. Matthew Lee, ajc, 3 Aug. 2022 The game gleefully anticipates every possible response, undercuts every moment of feeling, undoes every glimmer of progress or development. Gabriel Winslow-yost, The New York Review of Books, 3 Aug. 2022 No one believes the visit could occur at this point without any response. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 Aug. 2022 People in countries with authoritarian governments might be scared to give an honest response. Josh Fischman, Scientific American, 2 Aug. 2022 What Happens Live, the 54-year-old host slammed the government's response to the virus as the United States confirmed 5,811 cases as of August 1. Vanessa Etienne, Peoplemag, 2 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'response.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of response

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for response

Middle English & Latin; Middle English respounce, from Anglo-French respuns, respounce, from Latin responsum reply, from neuter of responsus, past participle of respondēre

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Time Traveler for response

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The first known use of response was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near response



response curve

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Response.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for response


re·​sponse | \ ri-ˈspäns How to pronounce response (audio) \

Kids Definition of response

1 : an act or instance of replying : answer There was no response to my question.
2 : words said or sung by the people or choir in a religious service
3 : a reaction of a living being (as to a drug)


re·​sponse | \ ri-ˈspän(t)s How to pronounce response (audio) \

Medical Definition of response

: the activity or inhibition of previous activity of an organism or any of its parts resulting from stimulation a conditioned response

More from Merriam-Webster on response

Nglish: Translation of response for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of response for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about response


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