\ˈsälv, 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Hinchcliffe, for one, seems to have solved the riddle of Toronto’s streets in recent seasons. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar in Toronto: 'Eh Team' returns home; Conor Daly returns to field," 12 July 2018 The following year, the department failed to solve any of the 19 burglary cases put in front of it. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Florida Police Chief Told Cops to Arrest Random Black People to Boost Stats," 12 July 2018 The brand was recently launched by San Franciscan Hau Yeung to solve the pesky problem of bunching, chaffing panties during workouts., "25 ways to chase your perfect Bay Area summer," 11 July 2018 To enjoy life to that level in this area is to pay homage to the man who once came here to solve his deepest troubles. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "Heaven on earth? This Courier Journal sports writer thinks he found it," 29 June 2018 In this installment, Tommy and his sister are racing against time to solve a mystery in the Acadia National Park in Maine. Carol Motsinger,, "Need a summer read? Check out these five by local authors," 28 June 2018 Mr Trump recognises the problem, but his current approach to solving it needs refining. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Mnuchin is in denial about the pain Trump's tariffs are inducing," 13 July 2018 But there are school and public policy parts to solving this, too. Alan J. Borsuk, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Borsuk: Literacy may not be a constitutional right, but it's a life imperative," 6 July 2018 Miami Gardens police are appealing to the community for help in solving ten shootings in nine days — four of them deadly. Wayne K. Roustan,, "9 days in Miami Gardens: 10 shootings including 4 fatalities; cops seeking help," 26 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about solve

Dictionary Entries near solve



Solvay process





Statistics for solve

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for solve

The first known use of solve was circa 1533

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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, ˈsȯlv\
solved; solving

Kids Definition of solve

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!