\ 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 But Amazon isn’t trying to solve the affordable housing problem. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Amazon’s Affordable Housing Pledge Won’t Fix Anything," 11 Jan. 2021 Troopers in Florida who are trying to solve more and more highway shootings search — usually in vain — for evidence from license plate readers, surveillance cameras and gunshot detectors, records show. Megan O'matz,, "Cameras on I-95 erase evidence, let shooters go free," 31 Dec. 2020 Now the 568 kits were down to about 100 that might be used to solve a cold case. Anchorage Daily News, "After 3 years and $1.5 million devoted to testing rape kits, Alaska made one new arrest," 30 Dec. 2020 It’s like trying to solve a riddle while on a roller coaster. Mike Anthony,, "Mike Anthony: UConn’s COVID crisis response highlights great complication of running programs and planning for a college basketball season," 9 Dec. 2020 The decision by would-be passengers like Mr. Rosenberg to avoid public transportation is one of the conundrums large cities are trying to solve. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Big City Conundrum: How to Persuade People to Ride the Subway," 4 Dec. 2020 Wheel of Fortune viewers are trying to solve the puzzle of what was going on with Pat Sajak on Wednesday's episode. Tyler Aquilina,, "Pat Sajak jokingly (but intensely) scolds 'ungrateful' Wheel of Fortune contestant," 26 Nov. 2020 Any focus on economic recovery needs to center on women, with child care folded into job-creation plans, and government and employers alike trying to solve these problems. Lisa Selin Davis, CNN, "Some moms don't have the luxury of dropping out of the workforce," 13 Nov. 2020 Justice in Motion, a group that works closely with human rights attorneys on the ground fighting for migrants' rights, is trying desperately to solve the issue. CBS News, "Migrant families "exposed to so many dangers" at border while hoping to enter the U.S.," 29 Oct. 2020

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

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Solve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on solve

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