Definition of reply verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    reply

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//rɪˈplaɪ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈplaɪ//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they reply
    BrE BrE//rɪˈplaɪ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈplaɪ//
     
    he / she / it replies
    BrE BrE//rɪˈplaɪz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈplaɪz//
     
    past simple replied
    BrE BrE//rɪˈplaɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈplaɪd//
     
    past participle replied
    BrE BrE//rɪˈplaɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈplaɪd//
     
    -ing form replying
    BrE BrE//rɪˈplaɪɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈplaɪɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to say or write something as an answer to somebody/something reply (to somebody/something) (with something) to reply to a question/an advertisement He never replied to any of my letters. She only replied with a smile. + speech ‘I won't let you down,’ he replied confidently. reply that… The senator replied that he was not in a position to comment. Which Word?answer / replyVerbs Answer 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 somebody 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 email yet. I knocked on the door but nobody 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 were unwilling to respond to questions. You can only answer a door or a phone. see also rejoin2, retort, get back to somebodyNouns Note the phrases in answer to and in reply to:I’m writing in answer to your letter. see also response, rejoinder, retort
  2. 2[intransitive] reply (to something) (with something) to do something as a reaction to something that somebody has said or done Italy took an early lead but Brazil replied with two goals in the last five minutes. The terrorists replied to the government's statement with more violence.
  3. Word Origin late Middle English (as a verb): from Old French replier, from Latin replicare ‘repeat’, later ‘make a reply’, from re- ‘back, again’ + plicare ‘to fold’.Extra examples ‘I know!’ she replied matter-of-factly. ‘I really don’t care!’ he replied nonchalantly. ‘It was your fault!’ she replied angrily. ‘No, you’re not!’ Graham replied bluntly. ‘OK, ’ he replied at length. Calvin was insulted and replied in kind= by insulting them back. Charles was insulted and replied in kind. He did not reply to my letter. He simply replied that he hadn’t the faintest idea. She did not reply directly to the allegations. She didn’t even bother to reply. She replied at length, but not to the point. She replied with a smile. Well, you weren’t expecting him to reply personally, were you? ‘I won’t let you down,’ he replied confidently.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: reply

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