Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

solve - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] solve pronunciation in British English /sɒlv/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlesolving
past tensesolved
past participlesolved
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to find a solution to something that is causing difficulties
    solve a problem:

    We can help you solve your financial problems.

    solve a crisis/dispute/conflict:

    It is hoped that diplomatic efforts can solve the crisis peacefully.

  2. 2
    to find the reason or explanation for something
    solve a mystery/puzzle/riddle:

    He hopes to solve the mystery of the plane’s disappearance.

    solve a case/crime/murder (=find out who committed a crime):

    The case was solved 25 years later using DNA evidence.

    1. b.
      maths to find the answer to a problem in mathematics


to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play