Definition of responsible in US English:



  • 1predicative Having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one's job or role.

    ‘the department responsible for education’
    • ‘The engineers responsible for control systems care about around-the-clock reliability.’
    • ‘Stonehenge still exerts a powerful fascination over people, but on none more than the officials of English Heritage, who are responsible for its care.’
    • ‘Others see women's values more as learned skills, as women are almost always those responsible for the care of children, health and community.’
    • ‘Acute care nurse practitioners are responsible for routine management of patients in the step-down units.’
    • ‘Finally, because women are often responsible for the care taking needs of their parents and elders, elder care services are also needed.’
    • ‘The general practitioner provided the nurse specialist with a workplace in the practice and was ultimately responsible for patients' care.’
    • ‘He was responsible for the care of four churches in the area and had a congregation numbering more than 100.’
    • ‘He was also responsible for the care of two other children.’
    • ‘They had been worried after one doctor altered Thomas's treatment without consulting a junior colleague responsible for his care.’
    • ‘Mothers are ultimately responsible for the care and raising of children.’
    • ‘His wife was ill with depression and he was responsible for caring for the children ranging in age from a teenager to a toddler.’
    • ‘The custom is that the eldest brother inherits the largest share of the property and is responsible for taking care of the parents and ancestors.’
    • ‘Mothers are responsible for the care of young children, and older daughters take an active part in raising their siblings.’
    • ‘Older children are responsible for the care of younger children.’
    • ‘Nurses have become directly responsible for rationing care.’
    • ‘Among herders, men are responsible for the care of the animals.’
    • ‘The ministry responsible for health care in prisons is usually not the ministry of health for example, the ministry of justice or the ministry of interior.’
    • ‘Wives gave birth to large numbers of children - on average five or six live births - and were responsible for their early care and moral guidance.’
    • ‘He didn't know this was their agreement, but with his wife gone, he was solely responsible for the care of a newborn infant.’
    • ‘Each monk or nun is responsible for the care and training of one dog, and that dog sleeps in the monk's or nun's bedroom at night.’
    in charge of, in control of, at the helm of, accountable for, liable for, charged with
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    1. 1.1 Being the primary cause of something and so able to be blamed or credited for it.
      ‘the gene was responsible for a rare type of eye cancer’
      • ‘For over 40 years he was one of the men responsible for literally bringing thousands of sick people to hospitals all over the country.’
      • ‘The defendants are therefore responsible for one primary cause of the second flood, though not for the other.’
      • ‘His team alone was responsible for bringing in a third of the company's annual revenue, the hearing was told.’
      • ‘They are primarily very much responsible for a steep decline in youth smoking.’
      • ‘Several former bank directors and owners found responsible for misusing credits have also been prosecuted.’
      • ‘Bringing those responsible for these criminal acts to justice, however senior they may be, will be embarrassing.’
      • ‘Of course, vaccination is primarily responsible for the low incidence rates.’
      • ‘The modest hero has asked not to be identified, but police praised his selfless action and pledged to bring those responsible for the attack to justice.’
      • ‘The primary agent responsible for respiratory disease is obviously microbial.’
      • ‘This is the group responsible for bringing live music to elevators all over campus in past weeks.’
      • ‘He was responsible for bringing so much new music to the airwaves.’
      • ‘Vandals with an air rifle may have been responsible for bringing a major section of the Metrolink tram system to a standstill.’
      • ‘That person was responsible for bringing this crisis about and for tarnishing the reputations of all of us who work for the Corporation.’
      • ‘According to them, the people blaming them are actually responsible for the stream's present condition.’
      • ‘We must do all we can to bring back a system where the person who is primarily responsible for his own misfortune must bear the full blame for that misfortune.’
      • ‘Water transport is ruled out as the primary process responsible for removing skeletal elements based on abrasion data.’
      • ‘There was never any serious intention to bring to justice those responsible for the May riots.’
      • ‘He is also responsible for bringing a number of actors out of obscurity and into the limelight, including James Dean in the film East of Eden.’
      • ‘It is known that the bacteria responsible for UTI reside primarily in the feed flora.’
      • ‘My view is that the cyclist was primarily responsible for this collision and I apportion his blame at 60%.’
      accountable, answerable, to blame
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    2. 1.2attributive (of a job or position) involving important duties, independent decision-making, or control over others.
      • ‘He is a businessman of ability and has a responsible position he takes very seriously.’
      • ‘These houses are occupied by senior citizens who have held responsible positions during their working lives.’
      • ‘He has a very responsible job and I am sure his salary is quite enviable.’
      • ‘He was a highly respected attorney who held a number of responsible positions in city and county governments.’
      • ‘A person in a responsible position is definitely the person to educate those under his/her control.’
      • ‘He said the PBTA would like those in responsible positions to exercise more control, and to apply the same rules to everyone.’
      • ‘How many other regular jobs require people to work for this many hours in such a highly responsible position?’
      • ‘But what about the poor driver, with no better accommodation, despite his responsible job?’
      • ‘But the King would not appoint him to responsible positions and the Academie Francaise would not accept him as a member.’
      • ‘A trained nurse, she had held down responsible jobs all her life, and had travelled widely in the US and Canada.’
      • ‘He had a responsible job, a comfortable home, a wife, a young daughter and a second child on the way - yet he knew there must be more to life than this.’
      • ‘It is unbelievable that anyone would have the nerve to even suggest this - especially someone who has a responsible position in Government.’
      • ‘How could a guy like this have held a responsible position at the CIA?’
      • ‘But more surprising is the number of independent people wanting to take on such a responsible position.’
      • ‘This is a highly responsible job and anyone thinking of applying should think long and hard about the time commitments this job entails.’
      • ‘It's a responsible position to take and I'm proud to carry it through.’
      • ‘It turns out that it's a pretty responsible job indeed, with a staff of people to manage, and control of a number of titles.’
      • ‘He is no different to anyone else coming into a responsible position in a big organisation.’
      • ‘Surely, that can only be cheap publicity, and it would be dangerous to entrust such people with responsible positions.’
      • ‘She held a responsible job in community economic development, and she was bright, charming and comely.’
      important, powerful, authoritative, executive, decision-making, high
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    3. 1.3responsible topredicative Having to report to (a superior or someone in authority) and be answerable to them for one's actions.
      ‘the team manager is responsible to the league president’
      • ‘The colonies were not democracies and the governors were not responsible to an electorate.’
      • ‘We are responsible to God if by our carelessness or neglect we lead our children into a life or crime or other social evils.’
      • ‘They will be responsible to the Minister, and it is the Minister, in fact, who has the power to make decisions and act.’
      • ‘The Cabinet would be responsible to the President, but answerable to Parliament.’
      • ‘Or do they help ensure that our representatives are responsible to the people who elected them?’
      • ‘The sovereign finally is responsible to God, if not to his subjects, for the proper discharge of his office.’
      • ‘The staff at various levels would be responsible to and report to the governing board.’
      • ‘The press is not responsible to the government, but to their readers and listeners or viewers.’
      • ‘A good student newspaper needs to be ultimately responsible to the student population it is relevant to.’
      • ‘The press is chosen by and responsible to its readership, at any moment its consumers can choose it or toss it away.’
      • ‘The head of state is responsible to his people and must obey the law.’
      • ‘He will be directly responsible to the chief executive.’
      • ‘Do we not have a system of responsible government, whereby the government is responsible to parliament?’
      • ‘The abbot in turn is responsible to the council of deans - half elected by the community and half appointed by the abbot.’
      • ‘They were confident that an executive responsible to parliament would not be able to infringe rights.’
      answerable, accountable
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    4. 1.4 Capable of being trusted.
      ‘a responsible adult’
      • ‘That is why all of us have a responsibility to treat the electorate as mature and responsible adults.’
      • ‘Now she was one of the most level headed, responsible adults I knew.’
      • ‘He also agreed that the head nurse in obstetrics was a highly capable, responsible, and conscientious nurse.’
      • ‘Children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.’
      • ‘All bonfires should be supervised by a responsible adult this weekend.’
      • ‘Children absorb the tenets of morality from parents, relatives, teachers and other responsible adults.’
      • ‘These are not children, they're meant to be responsible adults.’
      • ‘Now he had matured into a dependable, conscientious, responsible citizen.’
      • ‘Free market society needs not only consumers but also responsible individuals, capable of hard work and creative action.’
      • ‘Even if the ice is considered safe, a responsible adult should always supervise children playing on or near ice.’
      • ‘Making all pupils feel they are valued and have a contribution to make to the school community is vital in helping children become responsible adults.’
      • ‘Any damage to these children will have been caused by damaged adults and it's up to responsible adults to support young people in making sense of what has happened to them.’
      • ‘Fireworks should be completely avoided, although if people did insist on using them, it should only be by a reliable and responsible adult.’
      • ‘Children have always needed to be able to trust responsible adults, often outside the family, when they face difficult issues.’
      • ‘Are they fully responsible adults, or are they more like children?’
      • ‘Today's young men and women are more mature, responsible and competent.’
      • ‘The group shares openly their struggles and ultimately their triumphs as they behave as responsible young adults.’
      • ‘If we fail to teach them these things, and fail to help them grow into responsible adults, we are failing our children and we are failing ourselves.’
      • ‘They grow up to be mature, responsible, happy adults with good jobs that they enjoy and a family who loves them very much.’
      • ‘I'd always had an impression of Charlotte as being somehow responsible and capable.’
      trustworthy, capable of being trusted, trusty, level-headed, rational, sane, reasonable, sensible, sound, stable, mature, adult
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    5. 1.5 Morally accountable for one's behavior.
      ‘the progressive emergence of the child as a responsible being’
      • ‘The law holds that such blame and censure are only appropriate if the offender was morally responsible for his behaviour.’
      • ‘There is a moral crime of the highest order being committed, and somebody is morally responsible.’
      • ‘They are adults standing for, one presumes, responsible behaviour and the higher values of civility and democracy.’
      • ‘It is hoped the updated Countryside Code, will encourage responsible behaviour.’
      • ‘They called instead for a morally serious art, which would teach responsible behaviour by example.’
      • ‘Alcohol and drug free activities will be set up in the major locations to encourage responsible behaviour.’
      • ‘Inalienable rights are not a reward for responsible behaviour.’
      • ‘They are, nevertheless, as socially and morally responsible as was possible at the time.’
      • ‘Political correction and human rights have superseded responsible behaviour and respect for others and their property.’
      • ‘Also, abstinence is placed much lower than responsible behaviour on the totem pole of values.’
      • ‘Litter louts, owners of uncontrolled dogs and people who ignore red flags and danger signs must conform to the rules of responsible behaviour.’
      • ‘While the motives of the founders of these organisations vary, the theme of socialising youth and encouraging responsible behaviour is a common one.’
      • ‘It can ensure transparency and accountability within parameters of responsible journalism.’
      • ‘We're all in this together - equally responsible and equally accountable.’
      • ‘Western culture is based on an idea of an integrated, coherent, solid-state self and on the related idea that we are all equally morally responsible.’
      • ‘Practise positive parenting by giving praise where it is due and reward your children for sensible and responsible behaviour.’
      • ‘If one accepts the view, one will have to grant that it is impossible to know whether any human being is ever morally responsible.’
      • ‘New Zealand First believes that this bill will encourage more responsible activities and more accountability to public donors.’
      • ‘Beneath all this is essentially the point of responsible behaviour.’
      • ‘The aim of this initiative is to raise awareness and encourage more responsible behaviour by dog owners in the county.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘answering to, corresponding’): from obsolete French responsible, from Latin respons- ‘answered, offered in return’, from the verb respondere (see respond).