QUIZZES

Can You Ace This Quiz About “Compliment” vs. “Complement”?
Take this quiz to see if you really know the difference between “compliment” and “complement"!
Question 1 of 11
“Compliment” and “complement” had a shared meaning a long time ago, but today they are no longer interchangeable.

Idioms for answer

    answer the helm, Nautical. (of a vessel) to maneuver or remain steady according to the position of the rudder.

Origin of answer

before 900; Middle English andswerien, Old English andswerian, andswarian derivative of andswaru an answer, equivalent to and- opposite, facing (cf. and, along) + Germanic *swarō, derivative of swear

synonym study for answer

1. Answer, rejoinder, reply, response, retort all mean words used to meet a question, remark, charge, etc. An answer is a return remark: an answer giving the desired information. A rejoinder is a quick, usually clever answer or remark made in reply to another's comment, not to a question. Reply usually refers to a direct or point-by-point response to a suggestion, proposal, question, or the like: a reply to a letter. A response often suggests an answer to an appeal, exhortation, etc., or an expected or fixed reply: a response to inquiry; a response in a church service. A retort implies a keen, prompt answer, especially one that turns a remark upon the person who made it: a sharp retort.

historical usage of answer

In English, the verb answer derives from the noun, though both are equally old and occur in Old English translations of the Gospels. The Old English noun is andswaru “response to a question,” composed of the Old English prefix and- “against, contra-” and -swer with two meanings: the legal sense of “a swearing on oath, as in giving testimony” and the neutral, nonlegal sense of “a reply, a response to a question.” In both its legal and general senses, Old English andswaru parallels the Latin verb respondēre, originally a legal term meaning “to make a formal response,” and then used in the general sense “to answer, reply.”

OTHER WORDS FROM answer

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for answer for (1 of 2)

answer for

verb (intr, preposition)

to be liable or responsible for (a person's actions, behaviour, etc)
to vouch for or speak on behalf of (a person)
to suffer or atone for (one's wrongdoing)

British Dictionary definitions for answer for (2 of 2)

answer
/ (ˈɑːnsə) /

noun

verb

Word Origin for answer

Old English andswaru an answer; related to Old Frisian ondser, Old Norse andsvar; see swear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with answer for (1 of 2)

answer for

1

Take responsibility for, take charge of, as in The new alarm system has to answer for the security of the grounds. [Late 1200s]

2

Take the blame for, as in The kids who were caught shoplifting have a lot to answer for. [c. 1200]

3

To vouch for or sponsor someone, as in I'll answer for John as a reliable employee. [Early 1700s]

Idioms and Phrases with answer for (2 of 2)

answer

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.