• (British) IPA: /ˈɑːnsəɹəb(ə)l/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈæn.səɹ.ʌ.bl/


  1. Required to justify one's actions (to somebody); accountable, responsible.
    • 1731, Jonathan Swift, “The Sentiments of a Church-of-England Man, with respect to Religion and Government” in Miscellanies, London: Benjamin Motte and Charles Bathurst, Volume I, Section 2, p. 91,
      Should any Man argue, that […] he cannot be justly punished, but is answerable only to God […]
  2. (of a question) Able to be answered.
    • 2013, Marc Moeller, ‎Victor Moeller, Middle School English Teacher's Guide to Active Learning (page 67)
      Is my question answerable on basis of the reading alone or does it go outside the information given in the story?
  3. (archaic) Correspondent, in accordance; comparable (to).
    • 1634, Philemon Holland (translator), The History of the World, Commonly Called the Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus, London, Book 11, Chapter 5 “Of Bees,” p. 312,
      What wit and policie of man is answerable to their discreet and orderly course?
    • 1644, John Milton, Aeropagitica, London, p. 11,
      To this revelation he assented the sooner, as he confesses, because it was answerable to that of the Apostle to the Thessalonians, Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.
  4. (now rare) Proportionate; commensurate in amount; suitable.
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene 1,
      […] at my farm
      I have a hundred milch-kine to the pail,
      Six score fat oxen standing in my stalls,
      And all things answerable to this portion.
    • 1595, George Peele, The Old Wives’ Tale, The Malone Society Reprints, 1908, lines 283-288,
      By my other wife I had a daughter, so hard favoured, so foule and ill faced, that I thinke a grove full of golden trees; and the leaves of Rubies and Dyamonds, would not bee a dowrie aunswerable to her deformitie.
  5. (rare, of an argument) Capable of being answered or refuted; admitting a satisfactory answer.
    • 1755, Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language, London, Volume I, under the entry “Answerable,” sense 1,
      The argument, though subtle, is yet answerable.
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