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noun (1)

dil·​i·​gence ˈdi-lə-jən(t)s How to pronounce diligence (audio)
: steady, earnest, and energetic effort : devoted and painstaking work and application to accomplish an undertaking : assiduity
showed great diligence in tracking down the story
He had earned universal respect for his integrity, fairness, and diligence.John L. Sanders
obsolete : speed, haste
Go, hence with diligence!Shakespeare
law : the attention and care legally expected or required of a person (such as a party to a contract) see also due diligence


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noun (2)

: stagecoach
The railway had driven coach companies out of business …. Once, the journey had taken three days by diligence.Graham Robb

Examples of diligence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Prosecutors sought to issue another Allen charge, but the judge said that because of the jury’s diligence and limited questions for the court, the implication was that the jury was knowledgeable on relevant parts of the case and another Allen charge was not necessary. Tesfaye Negussie, ABC News, 16 Nov. 2023 Bryant wrote: Thanks to the diligence and expertise of Intel security researchers, a vector was later discovered that could allow a possible escalation of privilege (EoP). Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 14 Nov. 2023 Investors and organizations playing in this area will need to maintain constant diligence and caution. Essence, 9 Nov. 2023 The diligence and extraordinary reflexes brought him 15 Gold Gloves. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Oct. 2023 The patience and diligence of a true Virgo are reflected in Elba's recent insights on his own career path. Zoey Lyttle, Peoplemag, 2 Nov. 2023 Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo praised his detectives for their diligence during an investigation that lasted more than two years. Antonio Planas, NBC News, 21 Oct. 2023 Over the past three seasons, Levinson became known as much for his diligence in breaking down tape and disseminating it to his teammates as for his skills on the court, which also were impressive. Matt Le Cren, Chicago Tribune, 14 June 2023 These officials spend a lot of time in the occupied areas, regardless of the personal risks, thereby demonstrating their courage and diligence in action to Putin and the elites in general. Tatiana Stanovaya, Foreign Affairs, 8 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'diligence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin diligentia, from diligent-, diligens — see diligent

Noun (2)

French, literally, haste, from Middle French, persevering application

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1742, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of diligence was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near diligence

Cite this Entry

“Diligence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diligence. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: careful and continued work : industry

Legal Definition


dil·​i·​gence ˈdi-lə-jəns How to pronounce diligence (audio)
: earnest and persistent application of effort especially as required by law
also : care sense 1 see also due diligence

More from Merriam-Webster on diligence

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