ˈsälv How to pronounce solve (audio)
solved; solving

transitive verb

: to find a solution, explanation, or answer for
solve a problem
solved the crime
: to pay in full
solve a debt

intransitive verb

: to solve something
substitute and solve for x
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.
Recent Examples on the Web But short-term injection of cash won’t solve the Haitian crisis alone. Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, 5 June 2024 If the case can’t be solved, it could be forwarded to detectives. Brianna Taylor, Sacramento Bee, 5 June 2024 Some have criticized these programs as temporary approaches that don’t solve the root cause of the issue, in this case the failing and underfunded wastewater treatment plants that allow sewage flows to taint the Tijuana River and Pacific Ocean. Tammy Murga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 June 2024 And that would be the opposite of solving this problem. John Blackstone, CBS News, 2 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for solve 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'solve.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, to loosen, from Latin solvere to loosen, solve, dissolve, from sed-, se- apart + luere to release — more at secede, lose

First Known Use

circa 1533, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of solve was circa 1533

Dictionary Entries Near solve

Cite this Entry

“Solve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


ˈsälv How to pronounce solve (audio)
solved; solving
: to find a solution for
solve a puzzle

More from Merriam-Webster on solve

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