Definition of responsible in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈspänsəb(ə)l/


1Having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one’s job or role: the department responsible for education
More example sentences
  • The engineers responsible for control systems care about around-the-clock reliability.
  • Acute care nurse practitioners are responsible for routine management of patients in the step-down units.
  • The general practitioner provided the nurse specialist with a workplace in the practice and was ultimately responsible for patients' care.
in charge of, in control of, at the helm of, accountable for, liable for
1.1Being the primary cause of something and so able to be blamed or credited for it: the gene was responsible for a rare type of eye cancer
More example sentences
  • We must do all we can to bring back a system where the person who is primarily responsible for his own misfortune must bear the full blame for that misfortune.
  • According to them, the people blaming them are actually responsible for the stream's present condition.
  • Several former bank directors and owners found responsible for misusing credits have also been prosecuted.
accountable, answerable, to blame, guilty, culpable, blameworthy, at fault, in the wrong
1.2 [attributive] (Of a job or position) involving important duties, independent decision-making, or control over others.
Example sentences
  • But more surprising is the number of independent people wanting to take on such a responsible position.
  • He was a highly respected attorney who held a number of responsible positions in city and county governments.
  • But what about the poor driver, with no better accommodation, despite his responsible job?
important, powerful, executive
1.3 [predicative] (responsible to) Having to report to (a superior or someone in authority) and be answerable to them for one’s actions: the team manager is responsible to the league president
More example sentences
  • The staff at various levels would be responsible to and report to the governing board.
  • The Cabinet would be responsible to the President, but answerable to Parliament.
  • Or do they help ensure that our representatives are responsible to the people who elected them?
answerable, accountable
1.4Capable of being trusted: a responsible adult
More example sentences
  • He also agreed that the head nurse in obstetrics was a highly capable, responsible, and conscientious nurse.
  • Fireworks should be completely avoided, although if people did insist on using them, it should only be by a reliable and responsible adult.
  • Even if the ice is considered safe, a responsible adult should always supervise children playing on or near ice.
trustworthy, sensible, mature, reliable, dependable
1.5Morally accountable for one’s behavior: the progressive emergence of the child as a responsible being
More example sentences
  • The law holds that such blame and censure are only appropriate if the offender was morally responsible for his behaviour.
  • They called instead for a morally serious art, which would teach responsible behaviour by example.
  • Western culture is based on an idea of an integrated, coherent, solid-state self and on the related idea that we are all equally morally responsible.



Example sentences
  • That aside, the responsibleness the council has shown would be required of it under the provisions of the Local Government Act 2002, which other speakers have talked about, too.
  • He could be distant, private, sensitive, fiery, but he was a man also governed by impressive kindness and responsibleness.
  • In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'answering to, corresponding'): from obsolete French, from Latin respons- 'answered, offered in return', from the verb respondere (see respond).

Words that rhyme with responsible


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·spon·si·ble

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