\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

This project is about encouraging playfulness and creative problem-solving. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Ryan McGinley's Latest Nude Series Is an Empowering Riff on Selfie Culture," 4 July 2018 In partnership with kids-friendly computer system Tynker, Mattel will also offer six free coding lessons that focus on problem-solving, logic and other coding skills. Niki Mcgloster,, "The Quick Read: Kenya Moore Shows Off Her Growing Baby Bump On Instagram," 2 July 2018 Understand your teen’s developmental stage, pick your battles and problem-solve together. Eva Dwight, USA TODAY, "How do you get teens out of bed during the summer without fighting?," 25 June 2018 The goal is to help bomb squads handle dire situations in the real world, and help test robot operators' problem-solving skills. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Bomb Squads Practice Their Skills at This Robot Rodeo," 23 June 2018 The school system’s problem-solving support group, the Instruction Intervention Team and Student Support Team, develops attendance improvements plans for students, according to the attendance policy. Jess Nocera, Howard County Times, "Howard school absentee rate is lowest in Maryland," 22 June 2018 Borderless problems, including cyberthreats and climate change, are challenging its problem-solving capabilities. Ali Wyne, The New Republic, "Is America Choosing Decline?," 21 June 2018 This is a nationwide epidemic that is tearing apart families and partisan political attacks aren’t going to solve it. Erin Cox,, "Democrats running for Maryland governor stress differences in third televised debate," 5 June 2018 The class is taught by children’s librarian Shanna Kuster, who said the interaction with robots at an early age helps students develop critical thinking, problem solving and storytelling skills. Lisa Maria Garza,, "Kids learn coding skills with Dash robots at Winter Park Library," 3 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.

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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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Learn More about solve

Dictionary Entries near solve



Solvay process





Statistics for solve

Last Updated

7 Nov 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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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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