Answers back


[an-ser, ahn-]
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.
verb (used without object)
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.
verb (used with object)
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.
Verb phrases
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.

before 900; Middle English andswerien, Old English andswerian, andswarian derivative of andswaru an answer, equivalent to and- opposite, facing (cf. and, along) + Germanic *swarō, derivative of swear

answerer, noun
answerless, adjective
unanswered, adjective
unanswering, adjective
well-answered, adjective

1. riposte. Answer, rejoinder, reply, response, retort all mean words used to meet a question, remark, charge, etc. An answer is a return remark: an answer giving the desired information. A rejoinder is a quick, usually clever answer or remark made in reply to another's comment, not to a question. Reply usually refers to a direct or point-by-point response to a suggestion, proposal, question, or the like: a reply to a letter. A response often suggests an answer to an appeal, exhortation, etc., or an expected or fixed reply: a response to inquiry; a response in a church service. A retort implies a keen, prompt answer, especially one that turns a remark upon the person who made it: a sharp retort. 6. defense, plea. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
answer (ˈɑːnsə)
1.  a reply, either spoken or written, as to a question, request, letter, or article
2.  a reaction or response in the form of an action: drunkenness was his answer to disappointment
3.  a solution, esp of a mathematical problem
4.  law
 a.  a party's written reply to his opponent's interrogatories
 b.  (in divorce law) the respondent's written reply to the petition
5.  a musical phrase that follows the subject of a fugue, reproducing it a fifth higher or a fourth lower
vb (usually foll by to) (for) (to)
6.  (when tr, may take a clause as object) to reply or respond (to) by word or act: to answer a question; he answered; to answer the door; he answered that he would come
7.  (tr) to reply correctly to; solve or attempt to solve: I could answer only three questions
8.  to respond or react (to a stimulus, command, etc): the steering answers to the slightest touch
9.  (tr) to pay off (a debt, obligation, etc); discharge
10.  to meet the requirements (of); be satisfactory (for); serve the purpose (of): this will answer his needs; this will answer for a chisel
11.  to match or correspond (esp in the phrase answer (or answer to) the description)
12.  (tr) to give a defence or refutation of (a charge) or in (an argument)
[Old English andswaru an answer; related to Old Frisian ondser, Old Norse andsvar; see swear]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. andswaru "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 Gmc. compound (cf. O.S. antswor, O.N. andsvar,
O.Fris. ondser), implying a P.Gmc. *andswara-. Meaning "a reply to a question," the main modern sense, was in O.E. The verb is from O.E. answarian. Answerable "liable to be held responsible" is from 1540s. The telephone answering machine is from 1961.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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