One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A (typically automated) response to a transmitted message confirming receipt of the message and identifying the device which has received it; a device or system which issues such a response.
2(A) A responsive action. (b) A rejoinder, a reply.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in U.S. Patents. Partly from answer + back, and partly from answer + back.
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