responsible

adjective
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

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Other Words from responsible

responsibleness noun
responsibly \ ri-​ˈspän(t)-​sə-​blē How to pronounce responsibly (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?
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Recent Examples on the Web

Being responsible for our decisions is the cornerstone of liberty. Alyssa Ahlgren, Twin Cities, "Alyssa Ahlgren: Canceling student loan debt is regressive, among other problems," 3 July 2019 As Reuters reported last year, Thailand is among five Asian nations that are responsible for 60 percent of the plastic waste leaking into the world’s oceans. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Friendly Baby Dugong Becomes Conservation Symbol in Thailand," 3 July 2019 Second, because the Starlight Bowl is owned by the city, the city’s facilities maintenance department is responsible for repairing the damage. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Second eucalyptus tree cut down next to historic Balboa Park theater," 3 July 2019 Prosecutors say the gang was responsible for nine murders and sold at least 1,000 grams of heroin around the West Baltimore neighborhood. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, "FBI: West Baltimore gang member arrested in Dominican Republic, will be charged with racketeering," 3 July 2019 The promotion was responsible for selling 75,000 cars. Hannah Denham, Washington Post, "Six ways Lee Iacocca transformed the auto industry," 3 July 2019 The company later estimated that the idea was responsible for selling 75,000 additional cars. Bart Barnes, The Denver Post, "Lee Iacocca, who rescued Chrysler from bankruptcy in the 1980s, dies at 94," 2 July 2019 The attack on the drone came a week after the United States accused Iran of being responsible for explosions that had crippled two tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. Michael Forsythe, BostonGlobe.com, "To circumvent US sanctions on Iran, some cargo ships go off the grid," 2 July 2019 In Arizona, private agencies provide the training for foster homes, while DCS is responsible for ensuring the home is safe for children. Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, "Foster-care 'crisis': More kids entering Arizona system as number of foster homes declines," 2 July 2019

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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Statistics for responsible

Last Updated

6 Jul 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

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 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

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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Comments on responsible

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