responsible

adjective
re·​spon·​si·​ble | \ ri-ˈspän(t)-sə-bəl \

Definition of responsible

1a : liable to be called on to answer
b(1) : liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent a committee responsible for the job
(2) : being the cause or explanation mechanical defects were responsible for the accident
c : liable to legal review or in case of fault to penalties
2a : able to answer for one's conduct and obligations : trustworthy
b : able to choose for oneself between right and wrong
3 : marked by or involving responsibility or accountability responsible financial policies
4 : politically answerable especially : required to submit to the electorate if defeated by the legislature used especially of the British cabinet

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from responsible

responsibleness noun
responsibly \ ri-​ˈspän(t)-​sə-​blē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for responsible

responsible, answerable, accountable, amenable, liable mean subject to being held to account. responsible implies holding a specific office, duty, or trust. the bureau responsible for revenue collection answerable suggests a relation between one having a moral or legal obligation and a court or other authority charged with oversight of its observance. an intelligence agency answerable to Congress accountable suggests imminence of retribution for unfulfilled trust or violated obligation. elected officials are accountable to the voters amenable and liable stress the fact of subjection to review, censure, or control by a designated authority under certain conditions. laws are amenable to judicial review not liable for the debts of the former spouse

Examples of responsible in a Sentence

"If you all die of typhoid I won't be responsible!" he snapped. "If you die of dullness, neither will I," Helen echoed in her heart. — Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out, 1915 I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. — Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery, 1900, 1901 He resumed our walk with me, passing his hand into my arm. "Then when AM I going back?" I wore, in turning it over, my most responsible air. — Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, 1898 She is a very responsible worker. Is he responsible enough to have a car?
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

While Cooper is a competent player, a famous musician—Willy Nelson's son Lukas Nelson—is responsible for the music in the movie. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Does Bradley Cooper Really Sing and Play Guitar in A Star Is Born?," 9 Feb. 2019 As recently as last year, scientists have theorized that a giant collision could have been responsible. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Mysterious Iron Exoplanet Could Reveal the Secrets of Our Own Solar System," 5 Feb. 2019 When Simba returns to Prideland to confront Scar, the lionesses are scandalized when Scar claims that Simba is responsible for Mufasa's death. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "11 Disney Movie Plot Holes That Will Forever Be Annoying," 30 Jan. 2019 Makeup artist Daniel Martin was catapulted into the spotlight when it was revealed that his handy work was responsible for creating Meghan Markle's royal wedding makeup in May 2018. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Just Made Avocado Toast for Makeup Artist Daniel Martin & It Looks Delicious," 20 Jan. 2019 The virus, according to the report, can infect the layer of cells in the placenta that's responsible for delivering nutrients to the fetus. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "Rift Valley Fever Could Be the Next Global Health Crisis For Pregnant Women," 10 Jan. 2019 Tim Lee has been responsible for some great coverage of Waymo, Uber, Cruise, and that whole autonomous driving thing. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The 2018 Cars Technica cars and SUVs of the year," 30 Dec. 2018 But Immigration and Customs Enforcement is responsible for detaining immigrants — so migrants apprehended by Border Patrol are supposed to be handed off to ICE as quickly as possible. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump administration to release hundreds of immigrant families from detention," 27 Dec. 2018 The danger in this move is that Japan will be joined by the countries that have supported its past efforts, thus fracturing the organization that is primarily responsible for the survival of many whale species into the 21st century. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Japan restarting commercial whaling, ignoring global moratorium," 26 Dec. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of responsible

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for responsible

Anglo-French responsable, from respuns — see response

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about responsible

Share responsible

Statistics for responsible

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for responsible

The first known use of responsible was in 1643

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for responsible

responsible

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of responsible

used to describe the person or thing that causes something to happen usually + for
: having the job or duty of dealing with or taking care of something or someone
: able to be trusted to do what is right or to do the things that are expected or required

responsible

adjective
re·​spon·​si·​ble | \ ri-ˈspän-sə-bəl \

Kids Definition of responsible

1 : getting the credit or blame for acts or decisions You are responsible for the damage.
2 : reliable responsible teenagers
3 : needing a dependable person a responsible job

Other Words from responsible

responsibly \ -​blē \ adverb

responsible

adjective
re·​spon·​si·​ble

Legal Definition of responsible

1a : liable to be called on to answer
b : liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent
c : liable to legal review or in case of fault to penalties
2 : characterized by trustworthiness, integrity, and requisite abilities and resources awarded the contract to the lowest responsible bidder
3 : able to choose for oneself between right and wrong
4 : marked by or involving accountability a responsible office

Other Words from responsible

responsibility noun
responsibleness noun
responsibly adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on responsible

What made you want to look up responsible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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