Definition of solve in English:

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Pronunciation: /sɒlv/


[with object]
Find an answer to, explanation for, or means of effectively dealing with (a problem or mystery): the policy could solve the town’s housing crisis a murder investigation that has never been solved
More example sentences
  • At the same time this policy solves their problems in re-entering the workforce.
  • They are a great partner, we are happy together, we will solve the problem together.
  • He is hoping to work with others such as the town council to try to solve the problem in various ways.
find an/the answer to, find a/the solution to, answer, resolve, work out, puzzle out, fathom, find the key to, decipher, decode, break, clear up, interpret, translate, straighten out, get to the bottom of, make head or tail of, unravel, disentangle, untangle, unfold, piece together, explain, expound, elucidate
informal figure out, suss out, crack



Pronunciation: /ˈsɒlvəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Norbert, a reverse question to that, in some ways: what has gone wrong, how curable, how solvable is it?
  • Was it too much to ask to contemplate only solvable troubles like arranging repairs for the roof?
  • ‘If a problem is solvable,’ he says ‘then there is no need to worry.’


Pronunciation: /ˈsɒlvə/
Example sentences
  • But if there's anything you should know about Americans by now, it's that we're problem solvers.
  • Tonight, another astounding story of citizen crime solvers, all thanks to the shocking power of the media.
  • They are the solvers of problems, so long as the problems aren't their own.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'loosen, dissolve, untie'): from Latin solvere 'loosen, unfasten'.

  • The early senses of solve were ‘loosen, dissolve, untie’; the source is Latin solvere ‘loosen, unfasten’. Other words sharing this base are late Middle English soluble and solution, and mid 17th century solvent. From the same Latin root come absolve (Late Middle English) ‘loosen from’; dissolve (Late Middle English) ‘loosen apart’; dissolute (Late Middle English) of loose morals; and resolve (Late Middle English) ‘thoroughly loosen’.

Words that rhyme with solve

absolve, devolve, evolve, exsolve, involve, revolve

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: solve

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