Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A pleading by way of defense raising an issue of fact.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    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 practiœ 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.
    —Voluntary answer, in the practice of the court of chancery, was an answer put in by a defendant, when the plaintiff had filed no interrogatories which required to be answered. Hunt, Eq.