Meaning of “responsible” in the English Dictionary

"responsible" in British English

See all translations

responsibleadjective

uk /rɪˈspɒn.sə.bəl/ us /rɪˈspɑːn.sə.bəl/

responsible adjective (DUTY)

be responsible for sb/sth/doing sth

More examples

  • The city council is responsible for keeping the streets clean.
  • Our practice is responsible for about five thousand patients in this part of Leeds.
  • Council employees are responsible for the upkeep of the gardens.
  • The Forestry Commission is responsible for preserving over 2 million acres of woodland.
  • Nurseries are responsible for the children in their care.

B1 to have control and authority over something or someone and the duty of taking care of it, him, or her:

Paul is directly responsible for the efficient running of the office.
Her department is responsible for overseeing the councils.
be responsible to sb/sth

to be controlled by someone or something:

In Australia, the prime minister and the Cabinet are responsible to the House of Representatives.

responsible adjective (BLAME)

be responsible for sth/doing sth

More examples

  • The company claims (that) it is not responsible for the pollution in the river.
  • To some extent, she was responsible for the accident.
  • Those responsible for these crimes must be brought to court and punished.
  • The car is responsible for causing a lot of damage to our environment.
  • The police seem certain (that) they will find the people responsible for the attack.

B2 to be the person who caused something to happen, especially something bad:

Who is responsible for this terrible mess?
Last month's bad weather was responsible for the crop failure.
hold sb/sth responsible

to blame someone or something:

He held me personally responsible whenever anything went wrong in the project.
be responsible for your actions

to be in control of yourself so that you can fairly be blamed for your bad actions:

The defendant was depressed and therefore not fully responsible for her own actions.

Thesaurus: synonyms and related words

responsible adjective (GOOD JUDGMENT)

B2 having good judgment and the ability to act correctly and make decisions on your own:

a hard-working and responsible employee
Let's stay calm and try to behave like responsible adults.
Many big companies are now becoming more responsible about the way they operate.
Opposite

B2 A responsible job or position involves making important decisions or doing important things.

More examples

  • He's grown into a fine, responsible young man.
  • He seemed to be a responsible person, so I left him to his own devices.
  • The company is currently trying to burnish its socially responsible image.
  • The company is regarded as an extremely responsible employer.
  • They were looking for someone responsible enough to be left alone with the children.
responsibly
adverb uk /rɪˈspɒn.sə.bli/ us /rɪˈspɑːn.sə.bli/

When he saw the crash, the young boy acted very responsibly and called the police.

(Definition of “responsible” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"responsible" in American English

See all translations

responsibleadjective

us /rɪˈspɑn·sə·bəl/

responsible adjective (DUTY)

having the duty of taking care of something:

The government’s Energy Regulatory Board is responsible for nuclear safety.

A responsible job/position is an important one involving control and authority over something.

responsible adjective (BLAME)

being the cause of a particular action or situation, esp. a harmful or unpleasant one:

We are not responsible for things getting lost in the mail.

responsible adjective (GOOD JUDGMENT)

having good judgment and the ability to act correctly and make decisions on your own:

We want to be responsible citizens.

(Definition of “responsible” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"responsible" in Business English

See all translations

responsibleadjective

uk /rɪˈspɒnsəbl/ us

used to describe something, for example, a job, where you are able to act and make decisions on your own:

It's a responsible job for which I've been well rewarded.
be responsible for sb/sth

to have control and authority over someone or something and the duty to take care of them:

He is responsible for the council's waste management department.

to make something happen, especially something bad:

She was responsible for causing the accident.
be responsible to sb/sth

to be controlled by someone or something:

Only our elected representatives, responsible to us, can make these big decisions.
hold sb/sth responsible

to blame someone or something for something bad that happened:

He was held responsible for the accident.
be responsible for your actions

to be able to be fairly blamed for bad things that you do or mistakes that you make:

Although he was ill at the time, he was still responsible for his actions.

(Definition of “responsible” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)