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 The fashion industry does have a lot of serious problems that need solving. Alden Wicker, WIRED, 20 Nov. 2023 To solve these problems, a team of medical experts, researchers, and engineers at Northwestern University set out to design a new wearable capable of providing highly detailed, continuous, real-time information regardless of a patient’s environment. Andrew Paul, Popular Science, 16 Nov. 2023 Bard will also allow teens to type or upload a math equation and then provide step-by-step instructions on how to solve it. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Nov. 2023 The point in these earlier scenes is less about solving a crime than the Mystery of the Human Heart, and how the couple’s sometimes reckless adventures will bring them together and drive them apart. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2023 And going forward, figuring out how to keep the lights on during heat waves worsened by fossil fuel combustion — especially after sundown, when solar panels stop generating — is a challenge policymakers are still working to solve. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 7 Nov. 2023 Players are challenged to solve 15 mystery missions, as cards prompt them to find objects and follow characters through the game. Maya Polton, Parents, 7 Nov. 2023 And if everybody did the same, in and around their neighborhoods, around their arenas and stadiums, universities and places of business, the problem would certainly be lessened if not solved. Courtland Milloy, Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2023 Then the writers had to solve the challenge of making unfathomable scales of time and change feel intelligible, at least a bit. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 See More

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 28 Nov. 2023.

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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