Etymology: Anglo-French responsable, from respuns
a. liable to be called on to answer
(1) liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent <a committee responsible for the job> (2) being the cause or explanation <mechanical defects were responsible for the accident> c. liable to legal review or in case of fault to penalties 2. a. able to answer for one's conduct and obligations ; trustworthy b. able to choose for oneself between right and wrong 3. marked by or involving responsibility or accountability <responsible financial policies> <a responsible job> 4. politically answerable; especially required to submit to the electorate if defeated by the legislature — used especially of the British cabinet • responsibleness noun • responsibly adverb Synonyms: responsible, answerable, accountable, amenable, liable mean subject to being held to account. responsible implies holding a specific office, duty, or trust <the bureau responsible for revenue collection>. answerable suggests a relation between one having a moral or legal obligation and a court or other authority charged with oversight of its observance <an intelligence agency answerable to Congress>. accountable suggests imminence of retribution for unfulfilled trust or violated obligation <elected officials are accountable to the voters>. amenable and liable stress the fact of subjection to review, censure, or control by a designated authority under certain conditions <laws are amenable to judicial review> <not liable for the debts of the former spouse>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.