"make answer, give a reply in words," c. 1300, respounden, from Anglo-French respundre, Old French respondere "respond, correspond" and directly from Latin respondere "respond, answer to, promise in return," from re- "back" (see re-) + spondere "to pledge" (see sponsor (n.)). Modern spelling and pronunciation is from c. 1600. From 17c. also "make a liturgical response." Related: Responded; responding.