Etymology: Middle English, from Old English andswaru (akin to Old Norse andsvar answer); akin to Old English and- against, swerian to swear — more at ante-
Date: before 12th century
a. something spoken or written in reply to a question
b. a correct response <knows the answer> 2. a reply to a legal charge or suit ; plea; also defense 3. something done in response or reaction <his only answer was to walk out> 4. a solution of a problem <more money is not the answer> 5. one that imitates, matches, or corresponds to another <television's answer to the news magazines> Synonyms: answer, response, reply, rejoinder, retort mean something spoken, written, or done in return. answer implies the satisfying of a question, demand, call, or need <had answers to all their questions>. response may imply a quick or spontaneous reaction to a person or thing that serves as a stimulus <a response to the call for recruits>. reply often suggests a thorough response to all issues, points, or questions raised <a point-by-point reply to the accusation>. rejoinder can be a response to a reply or to an objection <a salesman with a quick rejoinder to every argument>. retort implies a reaction to an implicit or explicit charge, criticism, or attack which contains a countercharge or counterattack <she made a cutting retort to her critics>. II. verb (answered; answering) Date: before 12th century intransitive verb 1. to speak or write in reply 2. a. to be or make oneself responsible or accountable <answer for a debt> b. to make amends ; atone <must answer for his crimes> 3. to be in conformity or correspondence <answered to the description> 4. to act in response to an action performed elsewhere or by another <the home team scored first but the visitors answered quickly> 5. to be adequate ; serve <an old bucket answered for a sink> transitive verb 1. a. to speak or write in reply to <answer a question> <answer me> b. to say or write by way of reply <answer yes or no> 2. to reply to in rebuttal, justification, or explanation <answer an accusation> 3. a. to correspond to <answers the description> b. to be adequate or usable for ; fulfill <answer a need> 4. obsolete to atone for 5. to act in response to <answered the call to arms> 6. to offer a solution for; especially solve <answer a riddle> • answerer noun
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.