- a spoken or written reply or response to a question, request, letter, etc.: He sent an answer to my letter promptly.
- a correct response to a question asked to test one's knowledge.
- an equivalent or approximation: a singing group that tried to be the French answer to the Beatles.
- an action serving as a reply or response: The answer was a volley of fire.
- a solution to a problem, especially in mathematics.
- a reply to a charge or accusation.
- Law. a pleading in which a party responds to his or her opponent's statement of position, especially the defendant's reply to the plaintiff's complaint.
- Music. the entrance of a fugue subject, usually on the dominant, either slightly altered or transposed exactly after each presentation in the tonic.
- to speak or write in response; make answer; reply.
- to respond by an act or motion: He answered with a nod. The champion answered with a right to the jaw.
- to act or suffer in consequence of (usually followed by for).
- to be or declare oneself responsible or accountable (usually followed by for): I will answer for his safety.
- to be satisfactory or serve (usually followed by for): His cane answered for a baseball bat.
- to conform; correspond (usually followed by to): The prisoner answered to the description issued by the police.
- to speak or write in response to; reply to: to answer a person; to answer a question.
- to act or move in response to: Answer the doorbell. We answered their goal with two quick goals of our own.
- to solve or present a solution of.
- to serve or fulfill: This will answer the purpose.
- to discharge (a responsibility, claim, debt, etc.).
- to conform or correspond to; be similar or equivalent to: This dog answers your description.
- to atone for; make amends for.
- to reply or respond favorably to: I would like to answer your request but am unable to do so.
- answer back, to reply impertinently or rudely: Well-behaved children do not answer back when scolded.
- answer the helm, Nautical. (of a vessel) to maneuver or remain steady according to the position of the rudder.
Origin of answer
Synonyms for answerSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Words for unansweredignored, undetermined, unnoticed, unsettled, moot, undecided, debatable, unchallenged, unrequited, pending, tabled, open, uncertain, disputed, unquestioned, unrefuted, unreciprocated, unreturned
Examples from the Web for unanswered
Contemporary Examples of unanswered
Whether he can do it on the national stage is the unanswered question.Can Huckabee Convert the GOP’s Moneymen?
January 4, 2015
He insists that there is a “bottomless warren of unanswered questions surrounding that day and its aftermath.”Celebrity Conspiracy Theorists: Courtney Love Finds Malaysian Flight 370
March 20, 2014
It worked and the team put up 27 unanswered points to defeat the Bears and win the league title.New York City Is the Storied Football Capital of the USA
January 26, 2014
There will always be some little thread, some unanswered question, that will keep the right-wing press going on this.The Benghazi Emails and the Dark Hole
May 16, 2013
Unanswered questions and conspiracy theories about the apartment bombings persist to this day.Tsarnaev Brothers’ Impact on U.S.-Russian Counterterrorism Cooperation
Andrew S. Weiss
April 21, 2013
Historical Examples of unanswered
Return me not this with contempt, or torn, or unanswered, I beseech you.Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
They are ordinary, and leave many questions, which we wanted to ask, unanswered.Murder Point
There was the sharp challenge of a guard, unanswered; the futile hiss of a weapon.The Martian Cabal
Roman Frederick Starzl
My despatches are unreplied to, my questions all unanswered.A Day's Ride
Charles James Lever
Hazlitt slipped like a shadow out of his mind—an unanswered question.Erik Dorn
- not answered or replied tomany unanswered questions
- a reply, either spoken or written, as to a question, request, letter, or article
- a reaction or response in the form of an actiondrunkenness was his answer to disappointment
- a solution, esp of a mathematical problem
- a party's written reply to his opponent's interrogatories
- (in divorce law) the respondent's written reply to the petition
- a musical phrase that follows the subject of a fugue, reproducing it a fifth higher or a fourth lower
- (when tr, may take a clause as object) to reply or respond (to) by word or actto answer a question; he answered; to answer the door; he answered that he would come
- (tr) to reply correctly to; solve or attempt to solveI could answer only three questions
- (intr usually foll by to) to respond or react (to a stimulus, command, etc)the steering answers to the slightest touch
- (tr) to pay off (a debt, obligation, etc); discharge
- (when intr, often foll by for) to meet the requirements (of); be satisfactory (for); serve the purpose (of)this will answer his needs; this will answer for a chisel
- (when intr, often foll by to) to match or correspond (esp in the phrase answer (or answer to) the description)
- (tr) to give a defence or refutation of (a charge) or in (an argument)
Word Origin for answer
Old English andswaru "an answer, a reply," from and- "against" (see ante) + -swaru "affirmation," from swerian "to swear" (see swear), suggesting an original sense of "make a sworn statement rebutting a charge." A common Germanic compound (cf. Old Saxon antswor, Old Norse andsvar, Old Frisian ondser, Danish and Swedish ansvar), implying a Proto-Germanic *andswara-. Meaning "a reply to a question," the main modern sense, was present in Old English. Meaning "solution of a problem" is from c.1300.
Old English answarian "to answer;" see answer (n.). Meaning "to respond in antiphony" is from early 15c.; that of "to be responsible for" is early 13c. Related: Answered; answering. The telephone answering machine is from 1961.
In addition to the idioms beginning with answer
- answer back
- answer for
- answer to
- know all the answers
- take no for an answer