- answer (v.)
- Old English answarian "make a statement in reply," from and- "against" (see ante) + swerian "to swear" (see swear), suggesting an original sense of "make a sworn statement rebutting a charge."
Meanings "conform, correspond" and "be responsible for" are from early 13c; that of "suffer the consequences of" is from late 13c.; that of "respond in antiphony" is from early 15c. Sense of "respond in act or action, give back in kind" is from 1570s; that of "solve, find the result of" is from 1742. Related: Answered; answering. The telephone answering machine so called from 1961.
- answer (n.)
- Old English andswaru "a response, a reply," from and- "against" (see ante-) + -swaru "affirmation," from swerian "to swear" (see swear), suggesting an original sense of "sworn statement rebutting a charge."
A common Germanic compound (cognates: Old Saxon antswor, Old Norse andsvar, Old Frisian ondser, Danish and Swedish ansvar), implying a Proto-Germanic *andswara-. Meaning "a reply to a question," the main modern sense, was in Old English. Meaning "solution of a problem" is from c. 1300.