\ 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 Editor's Picks Opening up vaccine access doesn't solve existing problems like pharmacy deserts, Brownstein said. Erin Schumaker, ABC News, "Arguments for and against opening vaccinations to all ages, according to experts," 31 Mar. 2021 The Hospital proves that Phil Ennen or any other executive do-gooder can’t solve America’s health care problem. Stephen Rodrick, Rolling Stone, "‘We’re a Sick Nation’: ‘The Hospital’ Author Brian Alexander on America’s Health Care Crisis," 30 Mar. 2021 Critics said the venue change didn’t solve issues of impartiality and only resulted in a jury partial to the officers, deepening cynicism by some that justice can ever be fair when the victims are Black. Michael Tarm And Amy Forliti,, "Derek Chauvin trial: Jurors will feel weight of verdict in death of George Floyd that prompted some of largest US protests ever," 28 Mar. 2021 Fowler also acknowledged her proposal does not solve the broader issue of homelessness. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Homeless woman near school prompts proposal to amend Louisville's camp-clearing ordinance," 26 Mar. 2021 The question is whether the Reds can solve Fulmer’s pitching issues. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, "'He's in a good place': Can the Cincinnati Reds help Carson Fulmer reach his potential?," 26 Mar. 2021 City Council members who want rent control in Minneapolis will have to overcome the opposition of Mayor Jacob Frey, who says capping a landlord's ability to raise rents won't solve the housing crisis. Faiza Mahamud, Star Tribune, "Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey says he opposes rent control ballot measure," 24 Mar. 2021 Seeing the magnetic field will help astrophysicists solve an enduring mystery: how matter, sucked in from a swirling disk around the black hole’s equator, can sometimes feed a powerful jet of matter and energy spewing from its poles. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Detailed image of a black hole’s magnetic field may explain how matter fuels powerful jets," 24 Mar. 2021 This campaign is not simply about the right to vote, and casting a ballot in Maryland doesn’t solve this issue. Washington Post, "D.C. statehood is about more than getting a vote," 22 Mar. 2021

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

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Solve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for solve



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

Nglish: Translation of solve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of solve for Arabic Speakers

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