resolve

1 of 2

verb

re·​solve ri-ˈzälv How to pronounce resolve (audio)
-ˈzȯlv,
 also  -ˈzäv,
 or  -ˈzȯv
resolved; resolving

transitive verb

1
a
: to deal with successfully : clear up
resolve doubts
resolve a dispute
b
: to find an answer to
c
: to make clear or understandable
d
: to find a mathematical solution of
e
: to split up into two or more components especially in assigned directions
resolve a vector
2
: to reach a firm decision about
resolve to get more sleep
resolve disputed points in a text
3
a
: to declare or decide by a formal resolution and vote
b
: to change by resolution or formal vote
the house resolved itself into a committee
4
a
: break up, separate
the prism resolved the light into a play of color
also : to change by disintegration
b
: to reduce by analysis
resolve the problem into simple elements
c
: to distinguish between or make independently visible adjacent parts of
d
: to separate (a racemic compound or mixture) into the two components
5
: to make (something, such as one or more voice parts or the total musical harmony) progress from dissonance to consonance
6
: to work out the resolution of (something, such as a play)
7
: to cause resolution of (a pathological state)
8
obsolete : dissolve, melt

intransitive verb

1
: to become separated into component parts
also : to become reduced by dissolving or analysis
2
: to form a resolution : determine
3
4
: to progress from dissonance to consonance
resolvable
ri-ˈzäl-və-bəl How to pronounce resolve (audio)
-ˈzȯl-
 also  -ˈzä-və-
 or  -ˈzȯ-və-
adjective
resolver noun

resolve

2 of 2

noun

1
: fixity of purpose : resoluteness
2
: something that is resolved
3
: a legal or official determination
especially : a formal resolution
Choose the Right Synonym for resolve

decide, determine, settle, rule, resolve mean to come or cause to come to a conclusion.

decide implies previous consideration of a matter causing doubt, wavering, debate, or controversy.

she decided to sell her house

determine implies fixing the identity, character, scope, or direction of something.

determined the cause of the problem

settle implies a decision reached by someone with power to end all dispute or uncertainty.

the dean's decision settled the campus alcohol policy

rule implies a determination by judicial or administrative authority.

the judge ruled that the evidence was inadmissible

resolve implies an expressed or clear decision or determination to do or refrain from doing something.

he resolved to quit smoking

Example Sentences

Verb The brothers finally resolved their conflict. The issue of the book's authorship was never resolved. His speech did nothing to resolve doubts about the company's future. They haven't been able to resolve their differences. She resolved to quit smoking. He resolved that he would start dating again. The committee resolved to override the veto. Noun His comments were intended to weaken her resolve but they only served to strengthen it. a naval pilot who has been unwavering in his resolve to become an astronaut See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Because your wife’s brothers aren’t willing to address the issue, nothing can be done to resolve it. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 5 Nov. 2022 The global economy is once again under strain, but this time without the international cooperation that helped resolve previous post-Cold War crises. Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ, 28 Oct. 2022 The commission also said Metro hasn’t turned in a plan for the use of more cars that would resolve the panel’s safety concerns. Justin George, Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2022 But experts couldn’t agree, partly because the fossil’s poor preservation hindered a close look at the telltale features that would resolve the debate. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Oct. 2022 City leaders allegedly knew of lead problems in Jackson’s well water system in 2013 and did nothing to resolve it. Jeneé Osterheldt, BostonGlobe.com, 23 Sep. 2022 Industry experts last year were hopeful that the shortage could resolve itself by this year, but ongoing supply chain snags have delayed the industry’s recovery, affecting automakers’ ability to return production to full volumes. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 22 Sep. 2022 Or, is all of this just a red herring – a temporary quirk of the immune system that will resolve on its own? Matthew Woodruff, The Conversation, 31 Aug. 2022 For its part 3M has offered to fund Aearo Technologies' operations and capital needs during the bankruptcy process, according to court documents, and also create a $1 billion trust that would resolve all valid claims. The Indianapolis Star, 16 Aug. 2022
Noun
And then needed every ounce of resolve developed in the past week to fight off a ferocious Villanova comeback for a 73-71 victory as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games between the Big Ten and Big East. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 19 Nov. 2022 The Tigers' resolve is sure to be tested against a Bearcat team that has reigning Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Defensive Player of the Year Elijah Green and running back Jamar Moya who's been their offensive catalyst all year. Erick Taylor, Arkansas Online, 19 Nov. 2022 This person said no new initiatives to advance bilateral trade or resolve problems were discussed. Yuka Hayashi, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 But McNown showed resolve, scrambling for 21 yards on third and 13 to help UCLA secure a 24-20 victory. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2022 Ernaux’s resolve here seems very like the performance of a child who has vowed to act adult, to be brave in the face of terror. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2022 There was a resolve from the team apparent in his first game, even as Auburn fell to Mississippi State in overtime on the road last week. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, 13 Nov. 2022 The military announcement reflects Kim Jong Un's resolve to not back down against U.S. and South Korean forces. Andrea Vacchiano, Fox News, 7 Nov. 2022 Elevated energy and food prices, and concerns in Europe about supplies of those vital commodities heading into the winter are testing global resolve to support Ukraine’s defense and punish Russia’s aggression. Zeke Miller And, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'resolve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Latin resolvere to unloose, dissolve, from re- + solvere to loosen, release — more at solve

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 8

Noun

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of resolve was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near resolve

Cite this Entry

“Resolve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resolve. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

resolve 1 of 2

verb

re·​solve ri-ˈzälv How to pronounce resolve (audio)
-ˈzȯlv
resolved; resolving
1
: to break up or separate into individual parts
2
a
: to clear up : dispel
resolve doubts
b
: to find an answer or solution to
3
: to reach a decision about : decide
resolve to study harder
4
: to declare or decide by a formal resolution and vote
resolvable adjective
resolver noun

resolve

2 of 2

noun

1
: something resolved : resolution
2
: firmness of purpose

Medical Definition

resolve

verb

re·​solve
ri-ˈzälv, -ˈzȯlv also -ˈzäv or -ˈzȯv
resolved; resolving

transitive verb

1
: to separate (a racemic compound or mixture) into the two components
2
: to cause resolution of (as inflammation)
3
: to distinguish between or make independently visible adjacent parts of

intransitive verb

1
: to become separated into component parts
also : to become reduced by dissolving or analysis
2
: to undergo resolution
used especially of disease or inflammation
resolvable
-ˈzäl-və-bəl, -ˈzȯl- also -ˈzäv-ə- or -ˈzȯv-ə-
adjective

Legal Definition

resolve 1 of 2

verb

re·​solve ri-ˈzälv How to pronounce resolve (audio)
resolved; resolving

transitive verb

1
: to deal with successfully : clear up
resolve a dispute
2
a
: to declare or decide by formal resolution and vote
b
: to change by resolution or formal vote
the house resolved itself into a committee

intransitive verb

: to form a resolution

resolve

2 of 2

noun

1
: something that is resolved
2
: a legal or official determination
especially : a legislative declaration

More from Merriam-Webster on resolve

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