re·​sponse ri-ˈspän(t)s How to pronounce response (audio)
: an act of responding
: something constituting a reply or a reaction: such as
: a verse, phrase, or word sung or said by the people or choir after or in reply to the officiant in a liturgical service
: the activity or inhibition of previous activity of an organism or any of its parts resulting from stimulation
: the output of a transducer or detecting device resulting from a given input
Choose the Right Synonym for response

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 In response to this crisis, states like New York and Illinois have amended their medical marijuana laws in recent years, now permitting the use of cannabis as an alternative to prescription opioids. Dr. Khushali Jhaveri, ABC News, 29 Nov. 2023 Nevertheless, in the six weeks since its launch, Brancaster Gin has had a positive response from craft fairs, local pubs, retailers, hotels and restaurants, and early sales have exceeded expectations. Alison Coleman, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Experts who study extremist groups on Telegram tell WIRED that the platform typically moderates these groups’ content in response to pressure from governments, law enforcement, or entities like Google and Apple that have the ability to restrict the app’s availability. Vittoria Elliott, WIRED, 28 Nov. 2023 Many people assumed that the transformation planned by Gee was in response to a budget shortfall. Oliver Whang, The New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2023 Attorneys and organizations assisting applicants for food benefits in Montana, Missouri, and Virginia, for example, said applications have vanished without a response and phone calls to workers determining eligibility frequently go unanswered. Katheryn Houghton, NBC News, 28 Nov. 2023 Ireland's government is newly pushing an anti-hate speech law in the wake of riots that came in response to the stabbing of a woman and three children outside a primary school in Dublin. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 27 Nov. 2023 Notification:: There is a moderate police presence in response to a deceased adult male being found in a vehicle in the 4300 block of King Street. Omari Daniels, Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2023 After sustaining a long note just before the ballad’s cold stop, Palmer the singer didn’t have anything to prove given the audience’s enthusiastic response. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, 27 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near response

Cite this Entry

“Response.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


re·​sponse ri-ˈspän(t)s How to pronounce response (audio)
: an act or instance of replying : answer
: words said or sung by the people or choir in a religious service
: a reaction of a living thing to a stimulus

Medical Definition


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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!