What is Answer?

Legal Definition
Generally, an answer is a reply to a question. It can be solution, a retaliation or a response to it.

In law, an answer was originally a solemn assertion in opposition to someone or something, and thus generally any counter-statement or defense, a reply to a question or response, or objection, or a correct solution of a problem.

In the common law, an answer is the first pleading by a defendant, usually filed and served upon the plaintiff within a certain strict time limit after a civil complaint or criminal information or indictment has been served upon the defendant. It may have been preceded by an optional "pre-answer" motion to dismiss or demurrer; if such a motion is unsuccessful, the defendant must file an answer to the complaint or risk an adverse default judgment.

In a criminal case, there is usually an arraignment or some other kind of appearance before the defendant comes to court. The pleading in the criminal case, which is entered on the record in open court, is usually either guilty or not guilty. Generally speaking in private, civil cases there is no plea entered of guilt or innocence. There is only a judgment that grants money damages or some other kind of equitable remedy such as restitution or a permanent injunction. Criminal cases may lead to fines or other punishment, such as imprisonment.

The famous Latin Responsa Prudentium ("answers of the learned ones") were the accumulated views of many successive generations of Roman lawyers, a body of legal opinion which gradually became authoritative.

In music an "answer" (also known as countersubject) is the technical name in counterpoint for the repetition or modification by one part or instrument of a theme proposed by another. During debates of a contentious nature, deflection, colloquially known as 'changing the topic', has been widely observed, and is often seen as a failure to answer a question.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A defendant's first pleading in a case, which addresses the dispute on the merits and presents any defenses and counterclaims. A typical answer denies most of the plaintiff's allegations and claims complete defenses to allegations that are not denied.
Overview
After receiving a plaintiff's complaint, a defendant must respond with a pleading called an answer. In the answer, the defendant must address each allegation in the complaint. Some jurisdictions allow defendants to make a general denial of all allegations in the complaint. The defendant may also raise counterclaims or affirmative defenses.

If a defendant does raise counterclaims in her answer, the plaintiff must respond to those counterclaims with a pleading called an "answer to a counterclaim." The form and content of an "answer to a counterclaim" is similar to that of an answer. In the federal courts, if the defendant does not plead a counterclaim, plaintiffs may only file a "reply to an answer" with the court's permission. See the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See also the federal courts' website for sample complaints.

See Civil Procedure.
Legal Definition
Pleading in equity. A defence in writing made by a defendant, to the charges contained in a bill or information, filed by the plaintiff against him in a court of equity. The word answer involves a double sense; it is one thing when it simply replies to a question, another when it meets a charge; the answer in equity includes both senses, and may be divided into an examination and a defence. In that part which consists of an examination, a direct andfull answer, or reply, must in general be given to every question asked. In that part which consists of a defence, the defendant must state his, case distinctly; but is not required to give information respecting the proofs that are to maintain it. Gresl . Eq. Ev. 19.

2. As a defendant is called by a bill or information to make a discovery of the several cbarges it contains, he must do so, unless he is protected either by a demurrer a plea or disclaimer. It may be laid down as an invariable rule, that whatever part of a bill or information is not covered by one of these, must be defended by answer. Redesd. Tr. Ch. PI. 244.

3. In form, it usually begins, 1st, with its title, specifying which of the defendants it is the answer of, and the names of the plaintiffs in the cause in which it is filed as answer; 2d, it reserves to the defendant all the advantages which might be taken by exception to the bill; 3d, the substance of the answer, according to the defendant's knowledge, remembrance, information and belief, then follows, in which the matter of the bill, with the interrogatories founded thereon, are answered, one after the other, together with such additional matter as the defendant thinks necessary to bring forward in his, defence, either for the purpose of qualifying, or adding to, the case made by the bill, or to state a new case on his own behalf; 4th, this is followed by a general traverse or denial of all unlawful combinations charged in the bill, and of all other matters therein contained 5th, the answer is always upon oath or affirmation, except in the case of a corporation, in which case it is under the corporate seal.

4. In substance, the answer ought to contain, 1st, a statement of facts and not arguments 2d, a confession and avoidance, or traverse and denial of the material parts of the bill 3d, its language ought to be direct and without evasion. Vide generally as to answers, Redes. Tr. Ch. PI. 244 to 254; Coop. Pl. Eq. 312 to 327; Beames PI. Eq. 34 et seq.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t. For an historical account of this instrument, see 2 Bro. Civ. Law, 371, n. and Barton's Hist. Treatise of a Suit in Equity.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Practice. The declaration of a fact by a witness after a question has been put asking for it.

2. If a witness unexpectedly state facts against the interest of the party calling him, other witnesses may be called by the same party, to disprove those facts. But the party calling a witness cannot discredit him, by calling witnesses to prove his bad character for truth and veracity, or by proving that he has made statements out of court contrary to what he has sworn on the trial; B. N. P.; for the production of the witness is virtually an assertion by the party producing him, that he is credible.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
In pleading. Any pleading setting up matters of fact by way of defense. In chancery pleading, the term denotes a defense in writing, made by a defendant to the allegations contained in a bill or information filed by the plaintiff against him.

In pleading, under the Codes of Civil Procedure, the answer is the formal written statement made by a defendant setting forth the grounds of his defense; corresponding to what, in actions under the common-law practice, is called the "plea."

In Massachusetts, the term denotes the statement of the matter intended to be relied upon by the defendant in avoidance of the plaintiff's action, taking the place of special pleas in bar, and the general issue, except in real and mixed actions. Pub. St. Mass. 1882, p. 1287.

In matrimonial suits in the (English) probate, divorce, and admiralty division, an answer is the pleading by which the respondent puts forward his defense to the petition. Browne, Div. 223. Under the old admiralty practioe in England, the defendant's first pleading was called his "answer." Williams & B. Adm. Jur. 246.

In practice. A reply to interrogatories ; an affidavit in answer to interrogatories. The declaration of a fact by a witness after a question has been put, asking for it. As a verb, the word denotes an assumption of liability, as to "answer" for the debt or default of another.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A pleading by way of defense raising an issue of fact.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary