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 Now chock-a-block with skyscrapers, dams, roads and airports, the country is pivoting to new types of infrastructure in response to fresh economic turbulence. James T. Areddy, WSJ, 28 June 2022 The program was created as a response to violence in the city. Hannah Brock, The Indianapolis Star, 27 June 2022 In other words, the levels of neutralizing antibodies produced in response to vaccination matched those of older kids or young adults. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, 27 June 2022 In my experience, the fullest form of forgiveness is arrived at privately, and not as the response to a request or a demand. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 26 June 2022 Sea sponges, like coral, are also heavily affected by extreme ocean temperatures and turn white as a stress response to temperatures that are too warm. Heather Chen, CNN, 24 June 2022 Senator Cornyn has cast the bill as a response to the atrocity in Uvalde, and yet none of its terms seem to intersect with that incident. The Editors, National Review, 23 June 2022 Over the course of the pandemic, workers have had to create and adapt to new routines—in some cases as a trauma response—and now they are being forced to adapt again. Trey Williams, Fortune, 23 June 2022 As a direct response to police terrorism against Black and brown communities, our organization provides young people with the legal, cultural and neighborhood resources to fight back against police violence and systemic oppression. Rebecca Keegan, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 June 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

30 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Response.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 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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