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answer - definition and synonyms


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verb answer pronunciation in British English /ˈɑːnsə(r)/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleanswering
past tenseanswered
past participleanswered
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  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to give a spoken reply to a question

    I’m still waiting for you to answer.

    I want you to answer one simple question.

    ‘I don’t know,’ she answered truthfully.

    What’s the matter? Answer me!

    answer that:

    I could only answer that I’d seen them leaving together.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to send a written reply to something such as a letter or an advertisement
    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] to come to the door when someone calls at your house, or pick up the phone when it rings

      I knocked and a young man answered the door.

      The phone rang and rang but she couldn’t bring herself to answer it.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to try to give the correct reply to a question in a test or competition

    Answer one question from each section.

    answer correctly/incorrectly:

    Not everyone answered correctly.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to explain your actions to someone who has accused you of something
    answer charges/criticisms:

    How would you answer charges that your company puts profit before safety?

    The Prime Minister made no attempt to answer their criticisms.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to provide what is needed, wanted, or asked for, especially in order to deal with a bad situation

    Their request for help was answered by the Red Cross.

    answer a need:

    The estate was built to answer a need for low-cost housing.

    answer someone’s prayers:

    When they saw the plane, they knew their prayers had been answered.

  5. 5
    [intransitive/transitive] to do something as a reaction to what someone else has done
    answer (something) with something:

    He answered her look with a smile.

    be answered by something:

    The attack was answered by an immediate military crackdown.


sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

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