re·​spon·​si·​ble | \ ri-ˈspän(t)-sə-bəl How to pronounce responsible (audio) \

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

Other Words from responsible

responsibleness noun
responsibly \ ri-​ˈspän(t)-​sə-​blē How to pronounce responsible (audio) \ 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?
Recent Examples on the Web The marketers — think EVgo, Electrify America, ChargePoint — might be responsible for service and maintenance, or might not. Russ Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 22 Sep. 2022 With more ownership of the offense than last season, Goff is responsible for checking plays at the line of scrimmage based on the defensive look and gettting in and out of different calls. Tony Garcia, Detroit Free Press, 22 Sep. 2022 Their estate will be responsible for paying any remaining rent and will receive the return of the security deposit when the lease ends. Gary Singer, Sun Sentinel, 22 Sep. 2022 In her appointing order, Cannon sets a Nov. 30 deadline for Dearie to complete his review and says Trump is responsible for the fees and expenses stemming from the special master's work. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 22 Sep. 2022 Unsustainable cattle ranching, a good deal of which is used to produce leather, is responsible for 80 percent of destruction in the Amazon rainforest, which is home to over 3 million animals and over 2,500 tree species. Arizona Muse, Vogue, 21 Sep. 2022 Wealthier nations are responsible for much of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Sep. 2022 Authorities believe Brevard was also responsible for attacks on two homeless men in New York City, one of which was fatal. Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2022 Climbing Rope Safety Always defer to a manufacturer’s guidelines when evaluating the lifespan of goods—including climbing ropes—that are responsible for your mortal safety. Joe Knapp, Popular Mechanics, 21 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for responsible

Time Traveler

The first known use of responsible was in 1643

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Responsible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for responsible


re·​spon·​si·​ble | \ ri-ˈspän-sə-bəl How to pronounce responsible (audio) \

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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on responsible

Nglish: Translation of responsible for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of responsible for Arabic Speakers


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