• synonyms


  1. the branch of rabbinical literature comprised of authoritative replies in letter form made by noted rabbis or Jewish scholars to questions sent to them concerning Jewish law.
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Origin of Responsa

1895–1900; < New Latin; plural of responsum


[ri-spon-suh m]
noun, plural re·spon·sa [ri-spon-suh] /rɪˈspɒn sə/.
  1. the reply of a noted rabbi or Jewish scholar as rendered in the Responsa.
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Origin of responsum

1895–1900; < New Latin, Latin respōnsum a reply; see response
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for responsa

Historical Examples of responsa

  • Second, brief compilations of precepts, like the works of Hefez ben Yazliah and the responsa of some geonim.

    A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy

    Isaac Husik

  • Their replies to these inquiries, or "Responsa" (Shaaloth u-Teshuboth), have been gathered in special collections.

  • The responsa prudentum, the opinions of learned men, published as such, did undoubtedly originate an immense portion of Roman law.

British Dictionary definitions for responsa


noun Judaism
  1. the plural of responsum
  2. that part of rabbinic literature concerned with written rulings in answer to questions
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noun plural -sa (-sə)
  1. Judaism a written answer from a rabbinic authority to a question submitted
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Word Origin for responsum

Latin, literally: reply, response
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