\ 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 Graham and academic collaborators had to solve a problem. Christopher Rowland, Washington Post, "A covid-19 vaccine rooted in a government partnership is fueling financial rewards for company executives," 2 July 2020 The threat of the complaint process pushed ISPs to strike more favorable deals and thus helped solve the interconnection-dispute problem, but the FCC under Pai eliminated the net neutrality rules entirely. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Charter seeks FCC OK to impose data caps and charge fees to video services," 23 June 2020 In architecture there’s always the temptation to seek a stable solution, the perfect design that will solve a problem forever, beyond the reach of human foibles. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, "How the Coronavirus Will Reshape Architecture," 17 June 2020 The father who could solve any problem can’t fix this. Enquirer Staff,, "The pandemic's toll is real. Here are a few of those we've lost.," 11 June 2020 Bias lighting is one of the best ways to solve this problem. Whitson Gordon, Popular Science, "How to level-up the picture quality of your cheap TV," 9 June 2020 The world is looking to us to solve the coronavirus problem that is affecting all of us. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "Longtime executive Tony Coles on biotech, racism, and opportunities for change," 5 June 2020 On hold Can’t reach the Employment Development Department to solve your problem? Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: Family of man shot by Vallejo police speaks out," 5 June 2020 But how much can street stalls help Beijing solve its unemployment problem, given competition is probably fierce in this space? Jane Li, Quartz, "Beijing’s sudden love for the humble street vendor shows how worried it is about jobs," 5 June 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

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Solve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 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

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