2 verb
answer2 S1 W2


[intransitive and transitive] to say something to someone as a reply when they have asked you a question, made a suggestion etc:
She thought for a moment before answering.
He still hadn't answered my question.
'Why don't you just leave?' 'I'd like to,' she answered, 'but I have nowhere else to go.'
answer (that)
When questioned, Hughes answered that he knew nothing about the robbery.
How much was it? Come on, answer me.


[intransitive and transitive] to write or say the answer to a question in a test or competition:
Answer as many questions as possible in the time provided.

answer the phone/a call/the door

to pick up the telephone and speak when it rings or open the door when someone knocks or rings the bell


[transitive] if you answer a letter or advertisement, you write a letter to the person who has written it:
Simon got the job by answering an advert in the paper.

answer criticism/charges/accusations etc

to explain why you did something when people are criticizing you - used in news reports:
How do you answer the criticism that your government has done nothing to help the homeless?

react to something

[intransitive and transitive] to do something as a reaction to criticism or an attack [= respond]:
The army answered by firing into the crowd.

deal with a problem

[transitive] to be a way of dealing with or solving a problem:
'You can borrow my car if you like.' 'Well, that answers one problem.'

answer a need

to provide something that is needed:
Our transportation system is designed to answer the needs of the city's commuters.

answer a description

if someone answers a description, they match that description:
A man answering the police's description was seen entering the building.

answer back

phrasal verb
to reply in a rude way to someone that you are supposed to obey
answer somebody back
Don't answer me back young man!

answer for somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to explain to people in authority why you did something wrong or why something happened, and be punished if necessary:
Their coach must answer for the team's poor performance.

have a lot to answer for

informal to be responsible for causing a lot of trouble

can't answer for somebody

spoken used to say that you cannot make a decision for someone who is not there, or give their opinion:
I'm sure John will help us - I can't really answer for the others.

answer to somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to give an explanation to someone, especially about something that you have done wrong:
Phipps answers to me and me alone.

answer to the name of something

to be called a particular name - used humorously:
a well-dressed young woman answering to the name of Suzanne

Dictionary results for "answer"
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