\ 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 For the second time in four years, experts told top Cleveland police officials that the department needs more detectives in its homicide unit to solve more cases. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "For second time in 4 years, experts tell Cleveland police they need more detectives to solve city’s increasing number of homicides," 7 July 2020 When Justice first announced the error during a Wednesday afternoon news conference, the governor was working with the bank and other state officials to solve the confusion. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "West Virginia to enact more cuts after error overinflated revenue estimates," 2 July 2020 Organizations must think beyond traditional ways of doing business to solve complex problems. Julie Sweet, Fortune, "Accenture’s CEO: 5 rules for rethinking digital transformation during COVID-19," 26 June 2020 Mills said predictive policing could have been effective if it had been used to work with community members to solve problems — that didn’t happen. Kristi Sturgill, Los Angeles Times, "Santa Cruz becomes the first U.S. city to ban predictive policing," 26 June 2020 The pandemic in particular has introduced one problem after another to solve. David G. Allan, CNN, "Homeschooling our kids about life," 26 June 2020 Some 41% of respondents said Washington does too much, rather than too little (27%), to solve world problems. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "Power shift: How America’s retreat is reshaping global affairs," 26 June 2020 That's a philosophy where police and the community work together to solve crimes and improve everyone's quality of life. Erin Richards, USA TODAY, "Defund police in schools? How the movement got momentum after George Floyd's death," 12 June 2020 Our teams are working around the clock to solve this horrific homicide. Bob Sims |, al, "Final victim of 7 identified in Morgan County mass shooting," 6 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

31 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Solve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 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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