• (British) IPA: /ˈɑːn.sə/, /ˈan.sə/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈæn.sɚ/
  • (ae-tensing, rhotic) IPA: [ˈeən.sɚ]
  • (ae-tensing, non-rhotic) IPA: [ˈeən.sə]

answer (plural answers)

  1. A response or reply; something said or done in reaction to a statement or question.
    Her answer to his proposal was a slap in the face.
  2. A solution to a problem.
    There is no simple answer to corruption.
  3. (legal) A document filed in response to a complaint, responding to each point raised in the complaint and raising counterpoints.
Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

answer (answers, present participle answering; past and past participle answered)

  1. (ambitransitive) To make a reply or response to.
    • 1593, William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis,
      She answers him as if she knew his mind:
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Books of Kings 18:26,
      […] there was no voice, nor any that answered.
    He answered the question.
  2. (transitive) To speak in defence against; to reply to in defence.
    to answer a charge or accusation
  3. (ambitransitive) To respond to a call by someone at a door or telephone, or other similar piece of equipment.
    She answered the door.
    Nobody answered when I knocked on the door.
  4. (ambitransitive) To suit a need or purpose satisfactorily.
    • 1871, Alexander John Ellis, On Early English Pronunciation, London: Trübner & Co., Part III, Chapter 7, section 1, p. 656, footnote 1,
      Of course for publication in a newspaper, my palaeotype would not answer, but my glossotype would enable the author to give his Pennsylvania German in an English form and much more intelligibly.
    It answers the need.
  5. To be accountable or responsible; to make amends.
    The man must answer to his employer for the money entrusted to his care.
    He has a lot to answer for.
    • circa 1598 William Shakespeare, Henry V (play), Act IV, Scene 8,
      An please your majesty, let his neck answer for it, if there is any martial law in the world.
  6. (legal) To file a document in response to a complaint.
  7. To correspond to; to be in harmony with; to be in agreement with.
    • 1775, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Duenna, Dublin: G. Burnet et al., 1794, Act II, Scene 2, p. 25,
      Egad, I wish she had answer’d her picture as well.
    • 1793, Bryan Edwards (politician), The History, Civil and Commercial, of the British Colonies in the West Indies, Dublin: Luke White, Volume II, Book V, Chapter 2, p. 231,
      The use of dunder in the making of rum, answers the purpose of yeast in the fermentation of flour.
  8. To be opposite, or to act in opposition.
    • 1786, William Gilpin (priest), Observations, relative chiefly to picturesque beauty, made in the year 1772: on several parts of England; particularly the mountains, and lakes of Cumberland, and Westmoreland, London: R. Blamire, Volume II, Section 19, p. 85,
      The windows answering each other, we could just discern the glowing horizon through them […]
  9. To be or act in conformity, or by way of accommodation, correspondence, relation, or proportion; to conform; to correspond; to suit; usually with to.
    • circa 1604 William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act III, Scene 1,
      […] that the time may have all shadow and silence in it; and the place answer to convenience.
    • circa 1608 William Shakespeare, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Act V, Scene 1,
      If this but answer to my just belief,
      I’ll well remember you.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Book of Proverbs 27:19,
      As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.
    • 1727, Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, London: B. Motte, Part I, A Voyage to Lilliput, Chapter 2, pp. 30-31,
      […] I might carry about me several Weapons, which must needs be dangerous things, if they answered the Bulk of so prodigious a Person.
  10. To respond to satisfactorily; to meet successfully by way of explanation, argument, or justification; to refute.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Gospel of Matthew 22:46,
      […] no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
    • 1671, John Milton, Samson Agonistes in Paradise Regain’d, to which is added Samson Agonistes, London: John Starkey, p. 73,
      These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant
      Though by his blindness maim’d for high attempts,
      Who now defies thee thrice to single fight,
    • 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1849, Volume 3, Chapter 14, p. 354,
      The reasoning was not and could not be answered.
  11. To be or act in compliance with, in fulfillment or satisfaction of, as an order, obligation, or demand.
    He answered my claim upon him.
    The servant answered the bell.
    • circa 1597 William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, Act I, Scene 3,
      […] this proud king […] studies day and night
      To answer all the debts he owes unto you
  12. (obsolete) To render account to or for.
    • circa 1597 William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, Act II, Scene 4,
      […] I will, by to-morrow dinner-time,
      Send him to answer thee, or any man,
      For any thing he shall be charged withal:
  13. (obsolete) To atone for; to be punished for.
    • circa 1599 William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (play), Act III, Scene 2,
      […] The noble Brutus
      Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
      If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
      And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
  14. (obsolete) To be or act as an equivalent to, or as adequate or sufficient for; to serve for; to repay.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Ecclesiastes 10:19,
      A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
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