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


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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?
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Recent Examples on the Web The crisis is growing rapidly and demands a coordinated humanitarian response. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Arts & Culture Newsletter: At Lux, Baseera Khan explores identity," 29 Apr. 2021 Glaciers tend to have a faster response to climate change compared with ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, Reuters said, and are currently contributing more to sea-level rise than either individual ice sheet. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "'Alarming': World's glaciers are melting faster than ever because of global warming, study says," 29 Apr. 2021 Understanding how to trigger such a response could be critical in defeating Covid-19. NBC News, "Once a Covid hotspot, Italian village now intrigues researchers with 'super-immune' cases," 29 Apr. 2021 That's why India's Covid outbreak is a global problem that needs a coordinated response. Aditi Sangal, CNN, "India's Covid-19 crisis is a problem for the world," 29 Apr. 2021 But the final straw for Cruz was the corporate response to an election law passed in Georgia. Elizabeth Thompson, Dallas News, "Sen. Ted Cruz won’t accept corporate PACs’ contributions as ‘woke’ CEOs shun conservatives," 29 Apr. 2021 As a response to a too-small stimulus, lavish bank bailout, and sluggish recovery at the start of the Obama administration, Occupy Wall Street put gaping wealth and income inequality in the spotlight. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Biden’s 100-Day Honeymoon With the Climate Left Is Coming to an End," 29 Apr. 2021 But those agencies don't make policy, and the United States has struggled in recent years to produce a truly coordinated response to ransomware. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "An Ambitious Plan to Tackle Ransomware Faces Long Odds," 29 Apr. 2021 For many, that means FCC needs to give a positive response in Saturday's match at Orlando City SC, the third consecutive MLS Cup playoff qualifier Cincinnati will face to begin the 2021 season. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, "FC Cincinnati head coach Jaap Stam: 'I believe in my way of playing'," 29 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for response

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for response

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Response.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on response

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