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

Example Sentences

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 There has to be a better way to solve this, which leads to the importance of software that digitizes operations and hardware that automates tasks. Lior Elazary, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2022 In both cases, the disappearance of a woman from the family home amid marital discord presents the left-behind husband a mystery to solve, and memories to sift through. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 10 Nov. 2022 Still, few would claim climate change is a problem for India alone to solve. Tara Subramaniam, CNN, 7 Nov. 2022 One way to solve that would be immigration, a politically sensitive issue. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 28 Oct. 2022 But offering an olive branch to the taxi industry is also a way for Uber to solve more immediate problems the company has been struggling with. WIRED, 28 Oct. 2022 What became apparent to me was that these weren’t problems that science alone could solve. Shaughnessy Naughton, Scientific American, 26 Oct. 2022 Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures are hoping with Tobin’s return to keep Saw fans guessing over all-new traps and a new mystery to solve. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Oct. 2022 Another mystery for the Thursday Murder Club to solve. Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

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 28 Nov. 2022.

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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