9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ri-spon-suh-buh l] /rɪˈspɒn sə bəl/
answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power, control, or management (often followed by to or for):
He is responsible to the president for his decisions.
involving accountability or responsibility, as in having the power to control or manage:
promoted to a responsible position in the firm.
chargeable with being the author, cause, or occasion of something (usually followed by for):
Termites were responsible for the damage.
having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable; capable of rational thought or action:
The defendant is not responsible for his actions.
able to discharge obligations or pay debts.
reliable or dependable, as in meeting debts, conducting business dealings, etc.
(of a government, member of a government, government agency, or the like) answerable to or serving at the discretion of an elected legislature or the electorate.
Origin of responsible
1590-1600; < Latin respōns(us) (see response) + -ible
Related forms
responsibleness, noun
responsibly, adverb
interresponsible, adjective
nonresponsible, adjective
nonresponsibleness, noun
nonresponsibly, adverb
preresponsible, adjective
quasi-responsible, adjective
quasi-responsibly, adverb
superresponsible, adjective
superresponsibleness, noun
superresponsibly, adverb
unresponsible, adjective
unresponsibleness, noun
unresponsibly, adverb
1. liable. 4. competent. 5. solvent. 6. honest, capable, reliable, trustworthy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for responsibly
  • Fortunately, you have several avenues through which you can responsibly dispose of your television.
  • It's at the point now where people have to learn to live responsibly around these remaining crocs.
  • First there's headlines that responsibly mention both the promise and the animals.
  • Lots of companies these days provide take-back programs that let consumers get rid of old gear responsibly.
  • Government can expand its social services, but it must be done responsibly and within our national means.
  • We need to conserve, act responsibly, and plan ahead using the best information that science provides.
  • Overall, the practice is safe when done correctly and responsibly.
  • People rarely get taught how to drink booze and learn their limits responsibly.
  • Thirdly, that eating or not eating meat is a personal choice, but everybody should have to eat responsibly.
  • So let's all stop using seat belts and try to drive responsibly instead.
British Dictionary definitions for responsibly


(postpositive) usually foll by for. having control or authority (over)
(postpositive) foll by to. being accountable for one's actions and decisions (to): to be responsible to one's commanding officer
(of a position, duty, etc) involving decision and accountability
(often foll by for) being the agent or cause (of some action): to be responsible for a mistake
able to take rational decisions without supervision; accountable for one's own actions: a responsible adult
able to meet financial obligations; of sound credit
Derived Forms
responsibleness, noun
responsibly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin rēsponsus, from rēspondēre to respond
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for responsibly



1590s, "answerable" (to another, for something), from obsolete French responsible (13c., Modern French responsable, as if from Latin *responsabilis), from Latin respons-, past participle stem of respondere "to respond" (see respond). Meaning "accountable for one's actions" is attested from 1640s; that of "reliable, trustworthy" is from 1690s. Retains the sense of "obligation" in the Latin root word. Related: Responsibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for responsible

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for responsibly

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with responsibly