Also found in: Dictionary, Legal.
1. verb To report to a superior. Now that I'm your boss, you answer to me in all matters.
2. verb To respond to a name. My daughter Margaret has decided that she only answers to "Calliope" now.
3. verb To explain one's actions, decisions, or misdeeds to a person in authority who may consider punishment. If you continue to neglect your schoolwork, you'll have to answer to the headmaster.
4. noun A person or thing that is intended to be the equivalent of something else. That style of dress is the American answer to French fashion.
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.
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]
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.