Nearby words

  1. ansi,
  2. ansiform,
  3. anson,
  4. ansonia,
  5. anstoss,
  6. answer back,
  7. answer for,
  8. answer print,
  9. answer to,
  10. answerable


    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

Related forms

Synonym study

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for answerless

  • These questions were answerless, like so many of the others; but after the perplexity had been pushed aside, the doubt remained.

    The Quickening|Francis Lynde
  • These crepuscular chambers at Vincigliata are a mystery and a challenge; they seem the mere propounding of an answerless riddle.

    Italian Hours|Henry James
  • The question asked itself a many a time, and was as often answerless, before there came a stir without and voices in the corridor.

    The Master of Appleby|Francis Lynde
  • He fears that I uphold her in this duel of words, of answerless questions.

    A Fascinating Traitor|Richard Henry Savage

British Dictionary definitions for answerless



a reply, either spoken or written, as to a question, request, letter, or article
a reaction or response in the form of an actiondrunkenness was his answer to disappointment
a solution, esp of a mathematical problem
  1. a party's written reply to his opponent's interrogatories
  2. (in divorce law) the respondent's written reply to the petition
a musical phrase that follows the subject of a fugue, reproducing it a fifth higher or a fourth lower


(when tr, may take a clause as object) to reply or respond (to) by word or actto answer a question; he answered; to answer the door; he answered that he would come
(tr) to reply correctly to; solve or attempt to solveI could answer only three questions
(intr usually foll by to) to respond or react (to a stimulus, command, etc)the steering answers to the slightest touch
(tr) to pay off (a debt, obligation, etc); discharge
(when intr, often foll by for) to meet the requirements (of); be satisfactory (for); serve the purpose (of)this will answer his needs; this will answer for a chisel
(when intr, often foll by to) to match or correspond (esp in the phrase answer (or answer to) the description)
(tr) to give a defence or refutation of (a charge) or in (an argument)

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

Word Origin and History for answerless
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with answerless


In addition to the idioms beginning with answer

  • answer back
  • answer for
  • answer to

also see:

  • know all the answers
  • take no for an answer
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.