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1. To accept responsibility for one's misdeeds. Now that he's been caught, the thief will answer for his crimes.
2. To speak on another person's behalf. My parents used to answer for me, but now I'm old enough to speak for myself. I'm pretty sure Tom is coming tonight, but I can't answer for Abby.
3. To endorse another person. With popular political figures answering for our candidate, I think she has a much better chance at success.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.