answer


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

answer on a postcard

1. A brief, concise answer, reply, or opinion, especially one meant as a quick response to a general question. I'd like to get people's opinions on where to go for a summer vacation. Answers on a postcard, please!
2. An answer that is considered obvious or self-evident. We'd like to get into more complex reasons for inequality, so please avoid just giving answers on a postcard.
See also: answer

won't take no for an answer

Will not stop with what one has planned or desires, regardless of others' lack of agreement. Once my brother gets his mind made up, he won't take no for an answer, so don't bother trying to reason with him. It's nice of you to refuse, sweetheart, but this car is a gift from your grandmother and me—we won't take no for an answer!
See also: answer, take

a civil question deserves a civil answer

If someone asks a reasonable question, then it warrants an answer. Often used as a reprimand. Why won't you answer me, Alice? A civil question deserves a civil answer! All Jim did was ask about your day. Come on, a civil question deserves a civil answer.

answer the bell

To meet a challenge with success. The phrase alludes to boxing, as boxers come out of their respective corners to "answer the bell" that signals the start of each round. This project has been a massive undertaking, but I've answered the bell by staying late every night this week, and things are progressing nicely. Stacy, you really answered the bell this semester and did some excellent research for us.
See also: answer, bell

ask a silly question and you get a silly answer

If one asks a strange or nonsensical question, the listener will probably respond with a similarly strange or nonsensical answer. A: "What the heck are you talking about? All I did was ask if you think I should dress my cat up for Halloween!" B: "Well, ask a silly question and you get a silly answer!
See also: and, answer, ask, get, question, silly

answer back (to someone)

 and answer someone back
to talk back (to someone); to argue (with someone). (Fixed phrase.) I wish you wouldn't answer back to me that way. Please don't answer me back like that! Don't answer backer I'll ground you for a week!
See also: answer, back

answer for someone

 
1. Lit. to speak for another person. I can't answer for Chuck, but I do have my own opinion. I will answer for my friend in his absence.
2. Fig. to vouch for someone; to tell of the goodness of someone's character. Mr. Jones, who had known the girl all her life, answered for her. He knew she was innocent. I will answer for Ted. He could not hurt a flea.
See also: answer

answer for someone or something

Fig. to explain or justify the actions of someone or some act; to take responsibility or blame for someone or something. You will have to answer for your children's bad behavior. I will answer only for my own misdeeds.
See also: answer

answer someone's purpose

 and serve someone's purpose
to fit or suit someone's aim or goal. This piece of wood will answer my purpose quite nicely. The new car serves our purpose perfectly.
See also: answer, purpose

answer the call

 
1. Euph. to die. Our dear brother answered the call and has gone to his eternal rest.
2. answer the call (of nature) Euph. to find and use the toilet. We stopped the car long enough for Jed to answer the call of nature. You had better answer the call of nature when you feel it coming.
See also: answer, call

answer the door

Fig. [after hearing the doorbell or a knock] to go to the door to see who is there. Would you please answer the door. I am busy. I wish someone would answer the door. I can't stand to hear the knocking.
See also: answer, door

answer to someone

 
1. Fig. to explain or justify one's actions to someone. (Usually with have to.) If John cannot behave properly, he'll have to answer to me. The car thief will have to answer to the judge.
2. Fig. [in the hierarchy of the workplace] to be under the supervision of someone; to report to someone. (See also report to (someone or something).) You will answer directly to Mr. Wright. I answer only to the boss.
See also: answer

answer to the description of someone

Fig. to match a particular set of physical or facial characteristics. Chuck answers to the description his sister gave us. The man in police custody answers to the description of the burglar.
See also: answer, description, of

answer to the name (of) something

to respond to a particular name. I answer to the name Walter. She answers to the name of Claire.
See also: answer, name

not take no for an answer

Fig. not to accept someone's refusal. (A polite way of being insistent.) Now, you must drop over and see us tomorrow. We won't take no for an answer. I had to go to their party. They just wouldn't take no for an answer.
See also: answer, not, take

pat answer

a quick, easy answer; a simplified or evasive answer. Don't just give them a pat answer. Give some more explanation and justification. Otherwise you will just end up answering a lot more questions.
See also: answer, pat

soft answer turneth away wrath

Prov. If you speak softly and meekly to someone who is angry with you, that person will calm down. (Biblical.) It won't do any good for you to yell at John because he yelled at you. Remember that a soft answer turneth away wrath.
See also: answer, away, soft, wrath

talk back (to someone)

to challenge verbally a parent, an older person, or one's superior. Please don't talk back to me! I've told you before not to talk back!
See also: back, talk

answer for something

to admit responsibility for causing a problem or situation He may not go to jail, but someday he is going to have to answer for what he did before God. If you mix art and politics critics get upset and you have to answer for it.
Related vocabulary: have a lot to answer for
See also: answer

answer to somebody

to be responsible to someone else If you own your own company, you do not have to answer to stockholders.
See also: answer

somebody's answer to somebody/something

something intended to be as good as another similar person or thing The European Film Awards are Europe's answer to the Academy Awards.
See also: answer

not take no for an answer

to be unwilling to accept a refusal She sent faxes, made phone calls, sent e-mail - she just wouldn't take no for an answer.
See also: answer, not, take

the answer to your prayers

exactly what is needed or wanted These new artificial hearts are amazing, but are they the answer to our prayers?
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form the answer to something's prayers: Each new technology has been introduced as the answer to education's prayers.
See also: answer, prayer

have all the answers

also know all the answers
to be ready with all the available information about something There's one kid in my class who always has her hand up and always has all the answers. I don't know what can be done - I don't have all the answers, but I do have a lot of questions.
Usage notes: often used to describe someone who wants other people to recognize their intelligence: I used to date someone who had all the answers, and he was such a bore.
See also: all, answer, have

have a lot to answer for

to have much of the responsibility for a situation The owners forced a strike, but the workers have a lot to answer for, too.
Related vocabulary: answer for something
See also: answer, have, lot

talk back (to somebody)

to answer rudely They were arrested on minor charges after talking back to a police officer. In my family, kids just never talked back.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of talk back (to answer someone)
See also: back, talk

answer the call of nature

  (humorous)
to urinate (= pass liquid from the body) I had to go into the woods to answer the call of nature.
See also: answer, call, nature, of

not take no for an answer

if someone will not take no for an answer, they continue asking for something although their request has already been refused I've told her again and again that you're too busy to see her, but she won't take no for an answer.
See also: answer, take

somebody's answer to somebody/something

someone or something that is just as good as a more famous person or thing in the place where it comes from The Kennedy clan was America's answer to the royal families of Europe.
See also: answer

the answer to somebody's prayers

someone or something that someone has needed very much for a long time A new supermarket delivery service was the answer to my prayers.
See have a lot to answer for
See also: answer, prayer

have a lot to answer for

to be the main cause of a problem or an unpleasant situation People who sell drugs to kids have a lot to answer for.
See also: answer, have, lot

answer for

1. Take responsibility for, take charge of, as in The new alarm system has to answer for the security of the grounds. [Late 1200s]
2. Take the blame for, as in The kids who were caught shoplifting have a lot to answer for. [c. 1200]
3. To vouch for or sponsor someone, as in I'll answer for John as a reliable employee. [Early 1700s]
See also: answer

answer to

Explain or justify something to someone, as in If Mary doesn't help us finish this project, she'll have to answer to the boss. This expression was at first used mainly for replying to legal charges. [c. a.d. 950]
See also: answer

ask a stupid question and you'll get a stupid answer

Also, ask a silly question. Your query doesn't deserve a proper answer, as in Am I hungry? ask a stupid question! One authority believes this idiom is a variant of ask me no questions and I'll tell you no fibs, which appeared in Oliver Goldsmith's play She Stoops to Conquer (1773) and was frequently repeated thereafter. [Early 1800s]
See also: and, answer, ask, get, question, stupid

know all the answers

Also, know a thing or two; know it all; know one's way around. Be extremely knowledgeable or experienced. These idioms may be used somewhat differently, expressing overconfidence, as in Helen always knew all the answers, or thought she did, or competence, as in Bob knows a thing or two about battery technology, or ruefulness, as in I thought I knew it all about plants and then I got poison ivy, or genuine expertise, as in John knows his way around tax forms. The first term dates from the early 1900s, the second from the later 1700s, the third from the later 1800s, and the fourth, also put as know one's way about, dates from the 1500s. Also see know one's stuff; know the ropes; under tricks of the trade.
See also: all, answer, know

take no for an answer, not

Not accept a refusal, be persistent in demanding something, as in I want you to show me the statements and I won't take no for an answer. This idiom was first recorded in 1930 in Winston Churchill's My Early Life: "Don't take no for an answer, never submit to failure."
See also: not, take

talk back

Also, answer back. Reply rudely or impertinently, as in She was always in trouble for talking back, or The teacher won't allow anyone to answer back to her. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: back, talk

answer back

v.
1. To respond to a question or request; reply: After I requested a catalog from the clothing company many times, they finally answered back, saying they didn't have any catalogs left. We leave message after message with them, but they never answer us back.
2. To respond rudely or inappropriately: Don't answer back to your mother like that!
See also: answer, back

answer for

v.
1. To speak on behalf of someone else: I think my friend would agree to your offer, but I must speak with him first, since I can't answer for him.
2. To accept responsibility or blame for something: When your parents come back, you'll have to answer for the mess you made.
See also: answer

answer to

v.
1. To be called some name: His real name is Edward, but he usually answers to Ted.
2. To be liable or accountable to someone or something: The treasurer answers directly to the vice president.
See also: answer

talk back

v.
1. To respond to someone rudely or inappropriately: The servants were not supposed to talk back to their masters.
2. To make a hostile response: The enemy's guns are talking back.
3. To respond to a signal or transmission, especially through a path of electronic communication: My computer is sending information through the modem, but the network computer is not talking back.
See also: back, talk
References in periodicals archive ?
However, it is necessary to build the good discussion culture first so that no one gets embarrassed when his or her answer turns out to be incorrect.
Employees who comprise the second category by virtue of their failure to answer work-related questions after being properly compelled can be disciplined for their refusal to cooperate.
Once such individuals are identified, we would then be able to study what types of remedial procedures would be required to help raise these individuals' thinking levels to the point at which they could answer more of the higher-level questions.
com/, where visitors can submit questions, offer answers or peruse existing answers.
com, a pioneer in the industry, is the only social Q&A platform where members ask questions, share answers, collaboratively evaluate information and build a permanent archive of knowledge and experience for the benefit of its visitors and the visitors of its partner sites.
With three other key people - including two former managers of Executive Life - Snyder laid the ground work for Answer Financial as early as July 1997.
For some questions, keywords are just too evasive or the database containing the answer is unavailable in electronic form.
But is the "yes" or "no" answer computed by the program correct?
To support this growing initiative, Answer has established a new volunteer program known as Community Answer that will continue to provide opportunities for associates to give back to their communities.
NEW YORK, May 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Answers Corporation (NASD: ANSW), creators of Answers.
Virgin Atlantic Airways is introducing a new inflight texting service allowing passengers to send a question via their seatback IFE and receive an answer within minutes.
The answer to one or more of these questions can be found at each of these pages:
Students would often say that the teacher should know the answer, and, most importantly, tell them.
Media training," she writes, "teaches people all the fancy steps they need to answer the questions they want to answer, not those of an inquisitive reporter.