To solve something is to find a solution, like figuring out the answer to a complex riddle.

The verb solve is often used in mathematics, and it means to answer a math problem. You can solve other, non-mathematical problems too — like the question of what to wear when you've run out of clean clothes (your sibling's clothes!). The word solve originally came from the Latin solvere, which meant "to loosen or untie." If you think of any kind of complex problem as a knot, then the original definition of solve still makes sense!

Definitions of solve
  1. verb
    find the solution to (a problem or question) or understand the meaning of
    “did you solve the problem?”
    synonyms: figure out, lick, puzzle out, work, work out
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    answer, resolve
    understand the meaning of
    explain a riddle
    arrive at after reckoning, deliberating, and weighing
    guess, infer
    guess correctly; solve by guessing
    give the correct answer or solution to
    find the solution or key to
    discern or comprehend
    type of:
    know and comprehend the nature or meaning of
  2. verb
    find the solution
    solve an equation”
    solve for x”
    synonyms: resolve
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    factorise, factorize
    resolve (a polynomial) into factors
    type of:
    calculate, cipher, compute, cypher, figure, reckon, work out
    make a mathematical calculation or computation
  3. verb
    settle, as of a debt
    solve an old debt”
    synonyms: clear
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    type of:
    determine, settle, square off, square up
    settle conclusively; come to terms
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