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verb (used without object)
  1. to reply or answer in words: to respond briefly to a question.
  2. to make a return by some action as if in answer: to respond generously to a charity drive.
  3. to react favorably.
  4. Physiology. to exhibit some action or effect as if in answer; react: Nerves respond to a stimulus.
  5. to correspond (usually followed by to).
  6. Bridge. to make a response.
verb (used with object)
  1. to say in answer; reply.
  1. Architecture. a half pier, pilaster, or the like projecting from a wall as a support for a lintel or an arch, the other side of which is supported on a free-standing pier or column.
  2. Ecclesiastical.
    1. a short anthem chanted at intervals during the reading of a lection.
    2. responsory.
    3. response.

Origin of respond

1350–1400; (noun) Middle English: responsory < Old French, derivative of respondre to respond < Latin respondēre to promise in return, reply, answer, equivalent to re- re- + spondēre to pledge, promise (see sponsor); (v.) < Latin respondēre
Related formso·ver·re·spond, verbun·re·spond·ing, adjective

Synonyms for respond

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for respond

Contemporary Examples of respond

Historical Examples of respond

  • Her heart had not yet received the inevitable summons to respond.


    William J. Locke

  • I could never know—never come to her when she called, or respond to her spirit.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • Amelia's heart did not respond; at that time, she had no reason for thinking she was fond of children.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • His broker called for more margin; he could not respond and was sold out.

  • He is reminded of a toast—a toast to which they will respond.

British Dictionary definitions for respond


  1. to state or utter (something) in reply
  2. (intr) to act in reply; reactto respond by issuing an invitation
  3. (intr foll by to) to react favourablythis patient will respond to treatment
  4. an archaic word for correspond
  1. architect a pilaster or an engaged column that supports an arch or a lintel
  2. Christianity a choral anthem chanted in response to a lesson read at a church service
Derived Formsrespondence or respondency, nounresponder, noun

Word Origin for respond

C14: from Old French respondre, from Latin rēspondēre to return like for like, from re- + spondēre to pledge; see spouse, sponsor
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 respond

c.1300, respound, from Old French respondere "respond, correspond," from Latin respondere "respond, answer to, promise in return," from re- "back" (see re-) + spondere "to pledge" (see spondee). Modern spelling and pronunciation is from c.1600. Related: Responded; responding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper