[ ri-spon-suh-buhl ]
See 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.

  1. chargeable with being the author, cause, or occasion of something (usually followed by for): Termites were responsible for the damage.

  2. having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable; capable of rational thought or action: The defendant is not responsible for his actions.

  3. able to discharge obligations or pay debts.

  4. reliable or dependable, as in meeting debts, conducting business dealings, etc.

  5. (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

First recorded in 1590–1600; from Latin respōns(us) (see response) + -ible

Other words for responsible

Other words from responsible

  • re·spon·si·ble·ness, noun
  • re·spon·si·bly, adverb
  • in·ter·re·spon·si·ble, adjective
  • non·re·spon·si·ble, adjective
  • non·re·spon·si·ble·ness, noun
  • non·re·spon·si·bly, adverb
  • pre·re·spon·si·ble, adjective
  • qua·si-re·spon·si·ble, adjective
  • qua·si-re·spon·si·bly, adverb
  • su·per·re·spon·si·ble, adjective
  • su·per·re·spon·si·ble·ness, noun
  • su·per·re·spon·si·bly, adverb
  • un·re·spon·si·ble, adjective
  • un·re·spon·si·ble·ness, noun
  • un·re·spon·si·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use responsible in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for responsible


/ (rɪˈspɒnsəbəl) /

  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

  1. (of a position, duty, etc) involving decision and accountability

  2. (often foll by for) being the agent or cause (of some action): to be responsible for a mistake

  3. able to take rational decisions without supervision; accountable for one's own actions: a responsible adult

  4. able to meet financial obligations; of sound credit

Origin of responsible

C16: from Latin rēsponsus, from rēspondēre to respond

Derived forms of responsible

  • responsibleness, noun
  • responsibly, adverb

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