See more synonyms for responsible on
  1. answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power, control, or management (often followed by to or for): He is responsible to the president for his decisions.
  2. involving accountability or responsibility, as in having the power to control or manage: promoted to a responsible position in the firm.
  3. chargeable with being the author, cause, or occasion of something (usually followed by for): Termites were responsible for the damage.
  4. having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable; capable of rational thought or action: The defendant is not responsible for his actions.
  5. able to discharge obligations or pay debts.
  6. reliable or dependable, as in meeting debts, conducting business dealings, etc.
  7. (of a government, member of a government, government agency, or the like) answerable to or serving at the discretion of an elected legislature or the electorate.

Origin of responsible

1590–1600; < Latin respōns(us) (see response) + -ible
Related formsre·spon·si·ble·ness, nounre·spon·si·bly, adverbin·ter·re·spon·si·ble, adjectivenon·re·spon·si·ble, adjectivenon·re·spon·si·ble·ness, nounnon·re·spon·si·bly, adverbpre·re·spon·si·ble, adjectivequa·si-re·spon·si·ble, adjectivequa·si-re·spon·si·bly, adverbsu·per·re·spon·si·ble, adjectivesu·per·re·spon·si·ble·ness, nounsu·per·re·spon·si·bly, adverbun·re·spon·si·ble, adjectiveun·re·spon·si·ble·ness, nounun·re·spon·si·bly, adverb

Synonyms for responsible

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for responsible

Contemporary Examples of responsible

Historical Examples of responsible

British Dictionary definitions for responsible


  1. (postpositive usually foll by for) having control or authority (over)
  2. (postpositive foll by to) being accountable for one's actions and decisions (to)to be responsible to one's commanding officer
  3. (of a position, duty, etc) involving decision and accountability
  4. (often foll by for) being the agent or cause (of some action)to be responsible for a mistake
  5. able to take rational decisions without supervision; accountable for one's own actionsa responsible adult
  6. able to meet financial obligations; of sound credit
Derived Formsresponsibleness, nounresponsibly, adverb

Word Origin for responsible

C16: from Latin rēsponsus, from rēspondēre to respond
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 responsible

1590s, "answerable" (to another, for something), from obsolete French responsible (13c., Modern French responsable, as if from Latin *responsabilis), from Latin respons-, past participle stem of respondere "to respond" (see respond). Meaning "accountable for one's actions" is attested from 1640s; that of "reliable, trustworthy" is from 1690s. Retains the sense of "obligation" in the Latin root word. Related: Responsibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper