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

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Synonyms for response


answer, reaction, reply, take

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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?
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Recent Examples on the Web

After occupying Weinstein Hall at New York University for nearly a week in response to its homophobic policies, Marsha helped form STAR: Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. Vogue, "Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson’s Fight to Free Incarcerated Trans Women of Color Is Far From Over," 29 June 2019 Well thought out responses, knows how to make a convincing point. Aric Chokey,, "How did the Democratic candidates do in their first round of debates? We rated them.," 28 June 2019 Mayor Bill de Blasio was notably guilty of barging in on other candidates’ response times on the first night of the debates. Tiffany Diane Tso,, ""It's My Turn": Biden & Bernie Couldn't Stop Interrupting Everyone," 28 June 2019 With this being the first census to make use of online responses, lack of internet access may be a challenge for some low-income families. Obed Manuel, Dallas News, "What the Supreme Court’s 2020 census citizenship question ruling means for Dallas and Texas," 27 June 2019 Some saw the surveillance system as an aid to police shortages and slow response times in the city, while others noted the system's potential to further racial bias and privacy violations. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "See where Detroit has placed more than 500 surveillance cameras with Project Green Light," 27 June 2019 Threats, vandalism, rocks thrown through windows and even arson were standard responses, which police often overlooked or indulged. Steve Chapman,, "Column: Chicago’s place in the reparations debate," 26 June 2019 The Superfund program was launched in response to a series of high-profile toxic waste cases in the 1970s. Claire Wolters, National Geographic, "Toxic waste, explained," 26 June 2019 Buttigieg's response to the police shooting in South Bend, said Bill Carrick, one of the country's top Democratic strategists, will be closely scrutinized because of its relevance to the Democratic nomination contest. Matt Pearce, Anchorage Daily News, "Black residents of South Bend unload on Mayor Pete Buttigieg," 23 June 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for response

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for response

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

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More Definitions for response



English Language Learners Definition of response

: something that is said or written as a reply to something
: something that is done as a reaction to something else


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

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