\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

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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

According to studies by Lenstore, there's some science behind how people solve these puzzles. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Can You Spot the Bat Among the Pumpkins in This Tricky Halloween Puzzle?," 25 Oct. 2018 Michigan hasn't solved its problem, but other states are getting ahead of it. Kaitlin Menza, Redbook, "Everything You Need to Know Before Voting in the Midterm Elections," 10 Oct. 2018 Also, President Yoweri Museveni has addressed the nation with his 10-point plan for restoring security in Uganda, but many are dubious about whether this will solve the problem, according to Global Voices. Paula Rogo,, "Ugandan Women Step Out to Protest Rising Violence Against Women," 2 July 2018 In hiring Shine, Trump may have solved one crisis but created another. Gabriel Sherman, The Hive, "“This Guy Is Up to Eyeballs in Shit”: Bill Shine, Roger Ailes’s Former Enforcer, Has Been Hired to Shake Up the West Wing. But Might Hope Hicks Be Chief of Staff?," 29 June 2018 The delivery system might have changed, but the strategy so often visible in President Trump’s tweets is straight from the Wag the Dog playbook: create a problem then take credit for solving it. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: The Prescient Political Films of 1998," 27 June 2018 These jars of Ortiz anchovies solve this whole dilemma with a resealable lid. Alex Delany, Bon Appetit, "The Best Anchovies Don't Come in a Tin, People," 25 June 2018 That question, known as Denny’s Paradox after the Stanford biologist Mark Denny, was solved by scientists (including me) by studying the fluid dynamics just under the surface as the striders moved. David L. Hu, WSJ, "Robot Design Goes Back to Nature," 9 Nov. 2018 However, that's easily solved with Sizzling Keys, a little app that makes the keys of your choice control iTunes. Iljitsch Van Beijnum, Ars Technica, "Why I use a 20-year-old IBM Model M keyboard," 8 Nov. 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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near solve



Solvay process





Statistics for solve

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for solve

The first known use of solve was circa 1533

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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, 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with solve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for solve

Spanish Central: Translation of solve

Nglish: Translation of solve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of solve for Arabic Speakers

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).


a nest or breeding place

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