• synonyms


verb (used with object), solved, solv·ing.
  1. to find the answer or explanation for; clear up; explain: to solve the mystery of the missing books.
  2. to work out the answer or solution to (a mathematical problem).
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Origin of solve

1400–50; late Middle English solven < Latin solvere to loosen, free, release, dissolve
Related formssolv·er, nounpre·solve, verb (used with object), pre·solved, pre·solv·ing.un·solved, adjectivewell-solved, adjective


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for solver

Historical Examples

  • A Minnesota solver secured the second prize, which in this case is made $3.

    Harper's Round Table, April 30, 1895


  • One solver answered correctly all save four of the questions.

  • A score of blanched faces were turned to him as though he must be solver of the enigma.

    The Were-Wolf

    Clemence Housman

  • One solver, who lives in Pennsylvania, found all the answers save one, and got the first prize of $10 as his reward.

  • The U has been taken from the second 'surely' instead of the first, to mislead the solver.

British Dictionary definitions for solver


verb (tr)
  1. to find the explanation for or solution to (a mystery, problem, etc)
  2. maths
    1. to work out the answer to (a problem)
    2. to obtain the roots of (an equation)
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Derived Formssolver, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Latin solvere to loosen, release, free from debt
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 solver



late 14c., "to disperse, dissipate, loosen," from Latin solvere "to loosen, dissolve; untie, release, detach; depart; unlock; scatter; dismiss; accomplish, fulfill; explain; remove," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart" (see lose). The meaning "explain, answer" is attested from 1530s; for sense evolution, see solution. Mathematical use is attested from 1737. Related: Solved; solving.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper