American English

Definition of answer verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they answer
    he / she / it answers
    past simple answered
    -ing form answering
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to say, write, or do something as a reaction to a question or situation synonym reply I repeated the question, but she didn't answer. He answered as truthfully as he could. answer something You haven't answered my question. to answer a letter/an advertisement to answer the phone (= to pick up the phone when it rings) to answer the door (= to open the door when someone knocks/rings) My prayers have been answered (= I have got what I wanted). He refused to answer the charges against him. We are grateful to all those people who answered our call for help with fund-raising. answer (somebody) Come on, answer me! Where were you? He answered me with a smile. + speech “I'd prefer to walk,” she answered. answer somebody + speech “I'd prefer to walk,” she answered him. answer (somebody) that… She answered that she would prefer to walk. answer somebody something Answer me this: How did they know we were here?
  2. 2[transitive] answer something (formal) to be suitable for something; to match something Does this answer your requirements?
  3. Which Word?answer / replyAnswer and reply are the most common verbs used for speaking or writing as a reaction to a question, letter, etc.Note that you answer a person, question, or letter, not “answer to” them, but you reply to someone or something:I’m writing to answer your questions I’m writing to reply to your questions. I’m writing to answer to your questions.Answer can be used with or without an object:I haven't answered her e-mail yet. I knocked on the door but no one answered.Reply is often used with the actual words spoken:“I won’t let you down,” he replied.Respond is less common and more formal:The directors refused to respond to questions.You can only answer a door or a phone.Idioms
    answer (to)/fit a description (of somebody/something)
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    to be like a particular person or thing A child answering the description of the missing boy was found safe and well in Chicago yesterday.
    answer to the name of something
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    (especially of a pet animal) to be called something The dog was an ugly brute, answering to the name of Spike.
    Phrasal Verbsanswer backanswer backanswer for somethinganswer for somebodyanswer to somebody (for something)
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: answer