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See more synonyms for solve on Thesaurus.com
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


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

Examples from the Web for unsolved

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Tea-time found him still wrestling with the unsolved problem.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • To what extent this fish is amenable to the influences of temperature is an unsolved problem.

  • This question was yet unsolved in my mind as I drove into the court-yard of the palace.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan

    Charles James Lever

  • To me, this has always been one of the unsolved mysteries of the book-mania.

  • There have been unsolved mysteries, but no man may say when a crime is unsolvable.

    The Grell Mystery

    Frank Froest

British Dictionary definitions for unsolved


  1. not having been solved or explainedseveral unsolved murders
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Derived Formsunsolvable, adjective


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 unsolved



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