\ ˈsälv How to pronounce solve (audio) , ˈsȯlv \
solved; solving

Definition of solve

transitive verb

1 : to find a solution, explanation, or answer for solve a problem solved the crime
2 : to pay in full solve a debt

intransitive verb

: to solve something substitute and solve for x

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Other Words from solve

solver noun

Examples of solve in a Sentence

They are working to solve the traffic problem. If they'll lend us the money we need, all our problems will be solved. He couldn't solve the math problem. The mystery has been solved. The FBI has been trying to solve the case for years.
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Recent Examples on the Web What is the data that allows us to solve that problem? Nicholas Thompson, Wired, "It's Easy to Be a Jerk on Twitter. And Twitter Wants to Fix That," 13 Jan. 2020 Granting paroles for the sole reason of meeting a quota is a shiftless method to solving the greater problems, not appropriate and not in the best interest of any Alabamian. Mike Cason |, al, "ACLU says steep drop in paroles will worsen Alabama prison crisis," 6 Jan. 2020 To solve this problem, a local Mahoran policeman rounded out the team. Tommy Trenchard, Harper's magazine, "Oceans Apart," 6 Jan. 2020 But one effect of the constant focus and emphasis on national issues and the daily drama of politics in Washington, D.C., can be a loss of agency and confidence to solve local problems. David D. Haynes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What should happen in Wisconsin in the next decade? Eight emerging leaders answer that question.," 3 Jan. 2020 Where an issue might previously have been addressed by firming the response at the front dampers, the new car might require softening the rear to solve the same problem, for example. Dan Carney, Popular Science, "The Corvette is finally the supercar it deserves to be," 2 Jan. 2020 Trying to make drugs more affordable Individual states also are looking to solve the problem. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "Jeremy Crawford couldn't afford his high-priced insulin. That contributed to his death.," 29 Dec. 2019 Two Facebook researchers based in Paris have built a new neural network for Facebook capable of solving complex mathematical equations, even those dealing with calculus. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Facebook's Neural Net Can Solve This Differential Equation in One Second," 18 Dec. 2019 The state Legislature votes to keep them in third grade instead of solving the problem. Rochelle Riley,, "Children in Crisis: What we’re doing, not doing and should be doing," 16 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'solve.' 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 solve

circa 1533, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for solve

Middle English, to loosen, from Latin solvere to loosen, solve, dissolve, from sed-, se- apart + luere to release — more at secede, lose

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Time Traveler for solve

Time Traveler

The first known use of solve was circa 1533

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Statistics for solve

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Solve.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for solve


How to pronounce solve (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of solve

: to find a way to deal with and end (a problem)
: to find the correct answer to (something, such as a riddle)
: to find the correct explanation for (something, such as a mystery)


\ ˈsälv How to pronounce solve (audio) , ˈsȯlv \
solved; solving

Kids Definition of solve

: to find the answer to or a solution for Can you solve the riddle?

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More from Merriam-Webster on solve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for solve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with solve

Spanish Central: Translation of solve

Nglish: Translation of solve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of solve for Arabic Speakers

Comments on solve

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


dull or mediocre

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