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1 : the defendant's written response to the plaintiff's complaint in a civil suit in which he or she may deny any of plaintiff's allegations, offer any defenses, and make any counterclaims against the plaintiff, cross-claims against other defendants, or third-party claims against third parties otherwise not involved in the lawsuit
2 : a written response to a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim
: reply see also responsive pleading at pleading NOTE: In federal cases, answers are governed by Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under Rule 12, certain defenses (as lack of jurisdiction) may be made by motion rather than included in the answer.
vi 1 : to serve or file an answer
2 : to make oneself responsible or accountable (as for the debt of another)
1 : to reply to in an answer [ the complaint]
2 : to make a defense against (as a charge or accusation)
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.