• WordNet 3.6
    • v answer understand the meaning of "The question concerning the meaning of life cannot be answered"
    • v answer give the correct answer or solution to "answer a question","answer the riddle"
    • v answer react to a stimulus or command "The steering of my new car answers to the slightest touch"
    • v answer respond to a signal "answer the door","answer the telephone"
    • v answer give a defence or refutation of (a charge) or in (an argument) "The defendant answered to all the charges of the prosecution"
    • v answer react verbally "She didn't want to answer","answer the question","We answered that we would accept the invitation"
    • v answer be satisfactory for; meet the requirements of or serve the purpose of "This may answer her needs"
    • v answer match or correspond "The drawing of the suspect answers to the description the victim gave"
    • v answer be sufficient; be adequate, either in quality or quantity "A few words would answer","This car suits my purpose well","Will $100 do?","A 'B' grade doesn't suffice to get me into medical school","Nothing else will serve"
    • v answer be liable or accountable "She must answer for her actions"
    • n answer a nonverbal reaction "his answer to any problem was to get drunk","their answer was to sue me"
    • n answer the principal pleading by the defendant in response to plaintiff's complaint; in criminal law it consists of the defendant's plea of `guilty' or `not guilty' (or nolo contendere); in civil law it must contain denials of all allegations in the plaintiff's complaint that the defendant hopes to controvert and it can contain affirmative defenses or counterclaims
    • n answer a statement that solves a problem or explains how to solve the problem "they were trying to find a peaceful solution","the answers were in the back of the book","he computed the result to four decimal places"
    • n answer a statement (either spoken or written) that is made to reply to a question or request or criticism or accusation "I waited several days for his answer","he wrote replies to several of his critics"
    • n answer the speech act of replying to a question
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Questions and Answers Questions and Answers

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: About 30% of American admit to talking to their dogs or leaving messages on their answering machines for their dogs while they are away
    • Answer (Law) A counter-statement of facts in a course of pleadings; a confutation of what the other party has alleged; a responsive declaration by a witness in reply to a question. In Equity, it is the usual form of defense to the complainant's charges in his bill.
    • Answer A reply to a charge; a defense. "At my first answer no man stood with me."
    • Answer A solution, the result of a mathematical operation; as, the answer to a problem.
    • Answer Something done in return for, or in consequence of, something else; a responsive action. "Great the slaughter is
      Here made by the Roman; great the answer be
      Britons must take."
    • Answer Something said or written in reply to a question, a call, an argument, an address, or the like; a reply. "A soft answer turneth away wrath.""I called him, but he gave me no answer ."
    • Answer To atone; to be punished for.
    • Answer To be opposite to; to face.
    • Answer To be opposite, or to act in opposition.
    • Answer To be or act an equivalent to, or as adequate or sufficient for; to serve for; to repay.
    • Answer To be or act as an equivalent, or as adequate or sufficient; as, a very few will answer .
    • Answer To be or act by way of compliance, fulfillment, reciprocation, or satisfaction; to serve the purpose; as, gypsum answers as a manure on some soils.
    • Answer To be or act in accommodation, conformity, relation, or proportion to; to correspond to; to suit.
    • Answer To be or act in compliance with, in fulfillment or satisfaction of, as an order, obligation, demand; as, he answered my claim upon him; the servant answered the bell.
    • Answer To be or act in conformity, or by way of accommodation, correspondence, relation, or proportion; to conform; to correspond; to suit; -- usually with to.
    • Answer To be or act in return or response to.
    • Answer To make a satisfactory response or return. "Let his neck answer for it, if there is any martial law."
    • Answer To render account to or for.
    • Answer To respond to satisfactorily; to meet successfully by way of explanation, argument, or justification, and the like; to refute. "No man was able to answer him a word.""These shifts refuted, answer thine appellant.""The reasoning was not and could not be answered ."
    • Answer To speak in defense against; to reply to in defense; as, to answer a charge; to answer an accusation.
    • Answer To speak or write by way of return (originally, to a charge), or in reply; to make response. "There was no voice, nor any that answered ."
    • Answer To speak or write in return to, as in return to a call or question, or to a speech, declaration, argument, or the like; to reply to (a question, remark, etc.); to respond to. "She answers him as if she knew his mind.""So spake the apostate angel, though in pain: . . . And him thus answered soon his bold compeer."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: If you take any number, double it, add 10, divide by 2, and subtract your original number, the answer will always be 5.
    • n answer A reply, response, or rejoinder, spoken or written, to a question (expressed or implied), request, appeal, prayer, call, petition, demand, challenge, objection, argument, address, letter, or to anything said or written.
    • n answer In particular— A reply to a charge or an accusation; a statement made in defense or justification of one's self, with regard to a charge or an accusation; a defense; specifically, in law, a pleading on the part of the defendant, responding to the plaintiff's claim on questions of fact: correlative to demurrer, which raises only questions of law. The word as used in equity nearly, and as used in recent codes of procedure closely, corresponds to the common-law plea.
    • n answer The solution of a problem; the result of a mathematical operation; a statement made in response to a question set for examination: implying correctness, unless qualified.
    • n answer A reply or response in act; an act or motion in return or in consequence, either as a mere result due to obedience, consent, or sympathy, or as a hostile procedure in retaliation or reprisal.
    • n answer Specifically— In fencing, the return hit.
    • n answer In fugue-music, the enunciation of the subject or theme by the second voice.
    • n answer Often abbreviated to ans. and adjective Synonyms Reply, rejoinder, replication, response, retort, defense.
    • answer To make answer; speak or write in reply to a question (expressed or implied), request, appeal, petition, prayer, call, demand, challenge, address, argument, letter, or anything said or written; reply; respond: used with to, or absolutely.
    • answer In particular— To reply to a charge or an accusation; make a statement in defense or justification of one's self, with regard to a charge or an accusation; specifically, in law, to interpose a pleading responsive to plaintiff's allegations of fact: sometimes used to include also the interposing of a demurrer: formerly sometimes with with.
    • answer To give a solution of a problem; find the result; give an answer, as to a question set for examination: as, he answered correctly in most instances.
    • answer To reply or respond in act; act or move in response; do something in return for or in consequence of some speech, act, or movement from another source.
    • answer To speak in behalf of another; declare one's self responsible or accountable, or give assurance or guaranty, for another; be responsible or accountable: used with for, rarely absolutely: as, I will answer for his safety; I am satisfied, but I cannot answer for my partner.
    • answer To act or suffer in consequence of responsibility; meet the consequences: with for, rarely absolutely.
    • answer To meet, satisfy, or fulfil one's wishes, expectations, or requirements; be of service: with for; absolutely, to serve the purpose; attain the end; suit; serve or do (well or ill, etc.).
    • answer To conform, correspond; be similar, equivalent, proportionate, or correlative in character, quality, or condition: with to.
    • answer To make answer to; speak or write in reply to; reply or respond to.
    • answer In particular— To reply to a charge or an accusation by; make a statement to, or in reply to, in defense or justification of one's self with regard to a charge or an accusation.
    • answer To solve; find the result of; give an answer to, as to a question set for examination: as, he answered every question.
    • answer To say or offer in reply, or in reply to; utter, or enunciate to, by way of response.
    • answer To reply or respond to in act; act or move in response to or in consequence of: either as a mere result, in obedience to or sympathy with, or as a hostile act in retaliation or reprisal against: as, to answer prayer; to answer a summons; to answer a signal, as a ring at the door: hence, to answer the bell, or the door; to answer the helm (said of a ship when she obeys her rudder).
    • answer To be responsible for; be accountable for.
    • answer To act or suffer in consequence of responsibility for; meet the consequences of; atone for; make amends for; make satisfaction for.
    • answer To meet, satisfy, or fulfil one's wishes, expectations, or requirements with regard to; satisfy (a claim); repay (an expense); serve (the purpose); accomplish (the end); serve; suit.
    • answer To conform to; correspond to; be similar, equivalent, proportionate, or correlative to in quality, attributes, position, etc.
    • answer To meet or confront.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: What word can you take the first letter of, put it as the last letter, and make it the past tence of the original word? Answer: Eat (ate)
    • v.t Answer an′sėr to reply to: to satisfy or solve: to repay: to suit: to suffer the consequences of
    • v.i Answer to reply: to reply favourably: to act in conformity with, as 'to answer the helm:' to be accountable for (with for): to correspond: to be advantageous to: to turn out well
    • n Answer a reply: a solution
    • ***


  • Plutarch
    “When Demosthenes was asked what were the three most important aspects of oratory, he answered, Action, Action, Action.”
  • English Proverb
    English Proverb
    “If you want a thing done, go. If not, send. The shortest answer is doing.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “The best answer to anger is silence.”
  • Francois De La Rochefoucauld
    “Our desires always disappoint us; for though we meet with something that gives us satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers our expectation.”
  • Robert Half
    Robert Half
    “Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.”
  • Christopher Morley
    “In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.”


Answers on a postcard - This idiom can be used to suggest that the answer to something is very obvious or that the person would really like to hear what people think.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. andsware, AS. andswaru,; and, against + swerian, to swear. √177, 196. See Anti-, and Swear, and cf. 1st un-


In literature:

Her sobs alone answered me, and their answer was enough.
"The King's Mirror" by Anthony Hope
Confucius answered, Lift up the straight, put away the crooked; and the people will be won.
"The Sayings Of Confucius" by Confucius
A maid answered at last and ushered him into the dimly lighted parlour.
"The Root of Evil" by Thomas Dixon
No one answering, Alan said they had found the door open on their return from boating, and had looked in.
"Chatterbox, 1906" by Various
And now, having answered the gentleman frankly, as he desired, I wish to ask him a question, and I wish also an explicit and frank answer.
"A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention" by Lucius Eugene Chittenden
When she brought up the subject, he answered impatiently that he did not intend to go.
"Fairy Fingers" by Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
And all her answer was a frown and a quick movement away from the glass.
"Robert Elsmere" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
The father answered with a sigh.
"The Manxman A Novel - 1895" by Hall Caine
Clarissa had given thrice that answer, which of all answers is the most grievous to the true-hearted lover.
"Ralph the Heir" by Anthony Trollope
You could not answer me then; you gave me no answer; you did not know your own heart, you said.
"The Bertrams" by Anthony Trollope

In poetry:

Yea, and the midge's hymn
Answers the seraphim
Thy body's court!
"Any Saint" by Francis Thompson
Jezebel answered,
Her voice rang clear,
"Hide an ye will, slaves,
Does a queen fear?"
"Jezebel" by Ethel Clifford
Not just nothing,
Not there's no answer,
Not it's nowhere or
Nothing to show for it -
"Zero" by Robert Creeley
And the rider started,
And with peering eye
Urged his horse in answer
To the haunting cry.
"Fairy Tale" by Boris Pasternak
They ask us how to live!
We answer: Again try
Being the drops we sieve.
What death it is to die!
"To The Romantic Traditionists" by Allen Tate
"Nay!" answered Randi.
A slapping she gave him,
And from her she drave him:
"Here take what I owe!"
"Marit's Song" by Bjornstjerne Bjornson

In news:

Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman answers readers' questions on series.
Martha Teichner has a surprising answer: The naked truth is that, more often than not, the women considered the most beautiful in all of Western art would qualify as plus-size.
I don't want to answer this right now.
When it comes to staying healthy into old age, one man seems to have the answer.
Author, TV host, and the founder of Martha Stewart Omnimedia answers your questions in the Dec 8 issue of Fortune.
All we want are answers, Tom.
The flagship of Argentina's navy has been ordered held in Africa by a judge answering a complaint from a US hedge fund.
When medical device designers asked for custom components with improved performance properties, Rubber Industries answered with its Liquid Silicone Molding and Bonding service.
The magazine posed a question about romance to the Twittersphere today, and the mayor answered.
One of America's oldest, and too often forgotten, aircraft manufacturers introduces its answer to the ever-tightening supply of avgas.
The folks at Brazen Careerist Inc created a social-recruiting " boot camp" designed to answer that very question.
AT wineries in Bordeaux, the question of what food to serve with the wine is easily answered.
In Bordeaux, the country's oldest and most iconic wine-growing region, the answer is yes.
In the intervening 150 years, researchers have tried—and failed—to answer that question.
Gryfft took one look at this answer and immediately called Kalika out as a bot .

In science:

Chai and Oort show that the answer is yes if k is the algebraic closure of a finite field, and Mori and Zarhin show that the answer is also yes if k has characteristic zero.
On the existence of absolutely simple abelian varieties of a given dimension over an arbitrary field
The global questions are much easier to answer and free probability theory has provided powerful tools to answer such questions for many random matrix model [V2, V3, VDN, Sh].
Gaussian Random Matrix Models for q-deformed Gaussian Random Variables
Thus, with high probability, the algorithm gives a correct positive answer (it always gives correct negative answers).
When Can You Fold a Map?
The optimal measurement is then to measure in this basis and whenever one of the positive eigenstates is obtained return the answer ρ1 and whenever a negative eigenstate is obtained return the answer ρ2 .
Optimal local discrimination of two multipartite pure states
If the same question is put to nature sufficiently rapidly and the initial answer is Yes, then any noise-induced diffusion, or force-induced motion, of the system away from the subensemble where the answer is ‘Yes’ will be suppressed: the system will tend to be confined to the subensemble where the answer is ‘Yes’.
Quantum theory and the role of mind in nature