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 His team is good at holding on to the ball for minutes at a time, but often lacks that incisive, genius-level pass that can solve a stubborn opponent. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2022 But the ultimate goal, going back to Feynman’s vision, is a powerful new class of computers that can solve problems and accurately simulate things that today’s computers can’t. Scott Kirsner,, 17 Nov. 2022 Fast forward to today, after several booms and busts, and that community is now a massive global network of very expensive, very powerful computers whose only function is to run algorithms that solve math problems in a process called mining. Allison Morrow, CNN, 15 Nov. 2022 What happens if Minasian is overwhelmed by an offer for Ohtani that can solve a number of team needs? Bernie Pleskoff, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 Humanitarian crises like hurricanes and the catastrophic 2010 earthquake can be cause for compassion and huge outlays of aid that solve momentary problems but not necessarily long-term structural ones. Sophie Hills, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Oct. 2022 This process requires specialized computers that solve complex math problems. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Oct. 2022 But don’t go commando hoping that will solve the issue. Garrett Munce, Men's Health, 3 Oct. 2022 Well, there’s a guest worker program that would solve a lot of it. Ronn Blitzer, Fox News, 20 Sep. 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 30 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.