\ 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 Everybody has a place in this world, and people work together to solve problems. Globe Staff,, "The Fast Forward 2020 Winter Bookies reading list," 4 Jan. 2021 In video study, the Warriors will try to solve the defensive problems that have plagued them in each of their five games this season. Connor Letourneau,, "Porous 3-point defense dooms Warriors in blowout loss to Trail Blazers," 2 Jan. 2021 In the Sun story, Mr. Ecker said that Mr. Henson’s ability to work with people and solve problems that led him to appoint to the human rights job. Jacques Kelly,, "James E. Henson Sr., retired Howard County Human Rights Office chief, dies," 22 Dec. 2020 The confident 6-year-old loves asking questions and finding ways to solve problems. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "Sesame Workshop debuts its first ever Rohingya Muppets for refugee children," 20 Dec. 2020 Engineers and managers had to scramble over unmapped terrain and solve unprecedented problems. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "The automobile industry is discovering it needs a master plan," 16 Dec. 2020 Engineering toys for ages three to seven are mainly focused on building simple machines and other items with moving parts, allowing kids to follow their own creativity while learning to solve problems. Lauren Corona,, "The best engineering toy," 12 Dec. 2020 But as the computer power needed to solve the math problems increased, Chinese mining operations came to dominate. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "The American heartland needs jobs. Could Bitcoin mining become its next savior?," 12 Dec. 2020 Should Americans turn to local institutions and communities to solve their problems? Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Far From Washington, Americans Are Finding Local Solutions," 11 Dec. 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

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Solve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 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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