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

So much of my younger life was about being responsible for my family. Matthew Sprout, Allure, "Margarita Levieva on Ageism in Hollywood and Playing Characters 10 Years Younger Than Herself," 16 Oct. 2018 Throughout all of this, Herrero developed a passion for circular product development and design, a sustainable practice whereby pieces are made with longevity and responsible material sourcing in mind. Frances Solá-santiago, Glamour, "This Female-Founded Start-up Wants to Rebuild Puerto Rico's Fashion Industry," 16 Aug. 2018 Melanocytes are responsible for making pigment and are found deep in the skin, [and] squamous cells compose the upper layer of the skin and produce keratin. Rebecca Dancer, Allure, "The American Cancer Society's Annual Report Reveals Melanoma Cases Continue to Rise," 5 Apr. 2019 After collecting and analyzing 503 pieces of his navel fluff and interviewing male acquaintances, Steinhauser concluded that abdominal hair is largely responsible for navel lint. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Excuse Me, What Even Is Belly Button Lint?," 1 Mar. 2019 As commissioner of the New York Police Department, Mr. O’Neill is also responsible for securing one of the nation’s top terrorism targets. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "NYPD Chief Guides a Department in Transition," 24 Feb. 2019 Her ’do is basically responsible for a billion-dollar entertainment empire. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Kris Jenner Changed Her Hair, and It's Scary How Much She Looks Like Kim," 8 Jan. 2019 In many parts of Malawi, women are often responsible for fetching water and firewood. Mélissa Godin, Teen Vogue, "Climate Change Is Creating a New Atmosphere of Gender Inequality for Women in Malawi," 20 Dec. 2018 The company is also responsible for the Lexus ad campaign that familiarized America with giant car bows. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "Does anyone really buy the giant car bows you see in every commercial?," 18 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.

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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

11 May 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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