English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle French responsable, from Old French responsable, responsible, formed from the root of Latin responsus, from respondere. The spelling of the English word is taken from the Old French variant responsible.

Pronunciation edit

  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ɹɪˈspɒnsəbəl/, [ɹɪˈspɒnsəbl̩]
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɹɪˈspɑnsəbəl/, [ɹɪˈspɑnsəbl̩]
  • (file)

Adjective edit

responsible (comparative more responsible, superlative most responsible)

  1. (postpositive, followed by "for") Having the duty of taking care of something; answerable for an act performed or for its consequences; accountable; amenable, especially legally or politically.
    Parents are responsible for their child's behaviour.
  2. (postpositive, followed by "for") Being a primary cause of a situation or action and thus able to be blamed or credited for it.
    Who is responsible for this mess?
    • 2018 May 26, Daniel Taylor, “Liverpool go through after Mohamed Salah stops Manchester City fightback”, in The Guardian (London)[1]:
      [] Karius was a danger to his own team, responsible for Madrid’s two other goals and last seen wandering aimlessly around the pitch – alone, distraught and clearly traumatised – to ask forgiveness, hands clasped, from the thousands of Liverpool supporters.
  3. (followed by "to") Answerable to (a superior).
  4. (of a job or position) Involving important duties; involving a degree of personal accountability on the part of the person concerned.
    She has a responsible position in the firm.
  5. Having good judgment in decision-making.
    • 2012 March, William E. Carter, Merri Sue Carter, “The British Longitude Act Reconsidered”, in American Scientist[2], volume 100, number 2, page 87:
      But was it responsible governance to pass the Longitude Act without other efforts to protect British seamen? Or might it have been subterfuge—a disingenuous attempt to shift attention away from the realities of their life at sea.
  6. Able to be trusted; reliable; trustworthy.
    He looks like a responsible guy.
  7. Capable of rational conduct and thus morally accountable for one's behavior.

Usage notes edit

The meaning of the word changes to almost the opposite depending on whether it is used before or after a noun. For example:

The powerful Russians who didn't oppose Putin's successful grab for absolute power and the normal Russians who didn't protest against the first persecutions of journalists long ago are equally responsible for the destruction of Russia's first democracy, i.e. the citizens responsible were not responsible citizens.

Antonyms edit

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun edit

responsible (plural responsibles)

  1. (archaic) The individual who bears the responsibility for something.
    • 1899, The Harlequin, volume 1, page 12:
      Were this not so, long since would we have traced directly home the responsibility for the war on Freedom in the Philippines. Long since, would we have hanged the responsibles as traitors to our country.
  2. (theater) An actor taking on the lesser roles in repertory theatre.
    • 1907, The Green Room Book; Or, Who's Who on the Stage, page 9:
      [] first appeared on August Bank Holiday, 1901, at Grand Theatre, Llandudno, playing "responsibles" with Edward Compton; []
    • 1926, Arthur Machen, Dreads and Drolls:
      'Well, the Cardinal is the heavy part, isn't it?' 'I know.' 'Then,' said I, 'you'd better go'; and one of the Responsibles took it on, and was perfect on the night.

Translations edit

References edit