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

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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?
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Recent Examples on the Web

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 Denmark brand Kanel is responsible for bringing them back, and the pastel-color clips have become a must-have here in the Vogue offices. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The Biggest, Most Influential Trends We Saw on Instagram in 2018," 18 Dec. 2018 It's often thought that your Saturn Return is responsible for big life changes that happen in your late 20s and early 30s—like getting married, ending a relationship, or changing your career path. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Nao Navigates Growth and the Galaxy with Saturn," 14 Dec. 2018 According to AccuWeather, jet streams act as an invisible director of the weather, and are responsible for changes across the globe. Cierra Williams, Country Living, "The Weather Channel Predicts a Brutal Winter for Most of the Country," 16 Nov. 2018 The chaplain is responsible for opening the House each day with a prayer and offering counseling to lawmakers and aides on the House side of the Capitol. Fox News, "Ryan allows Rev. Patrick Conroy to keep job after House chaplain rescinds resignation," 2 Oct. 2018 Because all the patients were men who had taken up the newly mass-advertised practice of cigarette smoking as soldiers in World War I, Ochsner and DeBakey had the temerity to suggest that cigarettes were responsible. WSJ, "Who Should Gain From Your Medical Data?," 29 Nov. 2018 Twenty-two members of the Senate — 11 Republicans and 11 Democrats —have triggered investigations into Khashoggi’s death and specifically whether the crown prince was responsible. Deb Riechmann, The Seattle Times, "Trump’s embrace of Saudi Arabia causes GOP rift," 21 Nov. 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.

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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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Last Updated

5 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for responsible

The first known use of responsible was in 1643

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More Definitions for responsible

responsible

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of responsible

: 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

: involving important duties, decisions, etc., that you are trusted to do

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

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