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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English resolven, from Old French resolver, a learned borrowing of Latin resolvō (loosen, thaw, melt, resolve), equivalent to re- +‎ solve.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɹɪˈzɒlv/, /ɹiːˈzɒlv/
  • Rhymes: -ɒlv or Rhymes: -ɒlv
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɹɪˈzɑlv/
  • (file)


resolve (third-person singular simple present resolves, present participle resolving, simple past and past participle resolved)

  1. (transitive) To find a solution to (a problem).
  2. (transitive) To reduce to simple or intelligible notions; to make clear or certain; to unravel; to explain.
    to resolve a riddle
  3. (intransitive) To make a firm decision to do something.
    I resolve to finish this work before I go home.
    • 1762, Charles Johnstone, The Reverie; or, A Flight to the Paradise of Fools[1], volume 2, Dublin: Printed by Dillon Chamberlaine, OCLC 519072825, page 202:
      At length, one night, when the company by ſome accident broke up much ſooner than ordinary, ſo that the candles were not half burnt out, ſhe was not able to reſiſt the temptation, but reſolved to have them ſome way or other. Accordingly, as ſoon as the hurry was over, and the ſervants, as ſhe thought, all gone to ſleep, ſhe ſtole out of her bed, and went down ſtairs, naked to her ſhift as ſhe was, with a deſign to ſteal them []
  4. (transitive) To determine or decide in purpose; to make ready in mind; to fix; to settle.
    He was resolved by an unexpected event.
  5. To come to an agreement or make peace; patch up relationship, settle differences, bury the hatchet.
    After two weeks of bickering, they finally resolved their differences.
  6. (transitive, intransitive, reflexive) To break down into constituent parts; to decompose; to disintegrate; to return to a simpler constitution or a primeval state.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      Ye immortal souls, who once were men, / And now resolved to elements again.
    • 2013 July-August, Fenella Saunders, “Tiny Lenses See the Big Picture”, in American Scientist:
      The single-imaging optic of the mammalian eye offers some distinct visual advantages. Such lenses can take in photons from a wide range of angles, increasing light sensitivity. They also have high spatial resolution, resolving incoming images in minute detail.
  7. To cause to perceive or understand; to acquaint; to inform; to convince; to assure; to make certain.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Alexander Pope
      Resolve me, Reason, which of these is worse, / Want with a full, or with an empty purse?
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir Walter Raleigh
      In health, good air, pleasure, riches, I am resolved it can not be equalled by any region.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      We must be resolved how the law can be pure and perspicuous, and yet throw a polluted skirt over these Eleusinian mysteries.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
      She was proceeding in this manner when the surgeon entered the room. The lieutenant immediately asked how his patient did. But he resolved him only by saying, "Better, I believe, than he would have been by this time, if I had not been called; and even as it is, perhaps it would have been lucky if I could have been called sooner."
  8. (music) To cause a chord to go from dissonance to consonance.
  9. (optics) To render visible or distinguishable the parts of something.
  10. (computing) To find the IP address of a hostname, or the entity referred to by a symbol in source code; to look up.
  11. (rare, transitive) To melt; to dissolve; to liquefy or soften (a solid).
  12. (rare, intransitive, reflexive) To melt; to dissolve; to become liquid.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Arbuthnot
      When the blood stagnates in any part, it first coagulates, then resolves, and turns alkaline.
  13. (obsolete, transitive) To liquefy (a gas or vapour).
  14. (medicine, dated) To disperse or scatter; to discuss, as an inflammation or a tumour.
  15. (obsolete) To relax; to lay at ease.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)
  16. (chemistry) To separate racemic compounds into their enantiomers.
  17. (mathematics, archaic, transitive) To solve (an equation, etc.).
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit


resolve (countable and uncountable, plural resolves)

  1. Determination; will power.
    • 2019 May 12, Alex McLevy, “Westeros faces a disastrous final battle on the penultimate Game of Thrones (newbies)”, in The A.V. Club[2]:
      Stripped of all bravado, Cersei breaks, and shows the very scared, vulnerable woman who has kept her emotions at bay. “I don’t want to die,” she whimpers, “Not like this.” It’s all the more moving for coming from a character who built her identity on steely resolve and contempt for such hoary conceits as fear.
    It took all my resolve to go through with the surgery.
    • 2011 October 1, Saj Chowdhury, “Wolverhampton 1 - 2 Newcastle”, in BBC Sport[3]:
      Alan Pardew's current squad has been put together with a relatively low budget but the resolve and unity within the team is priceless.
  2. A determination to do something; a fixed decision.
    • 1995, William Arctander O'Brien, Novalis, Signs of Revolution (page 56)
      His resolve to die is weakening as he grows accustomed to Sophie's absence, and all his attempts to master irresolution only augment it.
  3. (countable) An act of resolving something; resolution.
    • 2008, Matt Lombard, SolidWorks 2007 Bible (page 956)
      Some operations require data that, in turn, requires that lightweight components be resolved. In these cases, this option determines whether the user is prompted to approve the resolve or whether components are just resolved automatically.
See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

re- +‎ solve



resolve (third-person singular simple present resolves, present participle resolving, simple past and past participle resolved)

  1. (transitive) To solve again.
    I’ll have to resolve the equation with the new values.







  1. Third-person singular (ele, ela, also used with tu and você?) present indicative of resolver
  2. Second-person singular (tu) affirmative imperative of resolver