due diligence


law : the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property
failed to exercise due diligence in trying to prevent the accident
business : research and analysis of a company or organization done in preparation for a business transaction (such as a corporate merger or purchase of securities)

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Doing Your Due Diligence

Due diligence has been used since at least the mid-fifteenth century in the literal sense “requisite effort.” Centuries later, the phrase developed a legal meaning, namely, “the care that a reasonable person takes to avoid harm to other persons or their property”; in this sense, it is synonymous with another legal term, ordinary care. More recently, due diligence has extended its reach into business contexts, signifying the research a company performs before engaging in a financial transaction. This meaning may also apply to individuals: people are often advised to perform their due diligence before buying a house, signing a loan, or making any important purchase.

Examples of due diligence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web From deal sourcing to due diligence to deal structuring to portfolio management to exit strategies, there is an opportunity to get involved in every part of the value chain. Eleanor Pringle, Fortune, 28 June 2024 Notably, companies based in countries with human rights legislation in place scored a whopping 60 percent higher on average on human rights due diligence (HRDD) than countries without such regulations. Kate Nishimura, Sourcing Journal, 2 July 2024 So please do your due diligence and approve it tonight. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 1 July 2024 The whole thesis of the book is that neither party understands our community, and neither party has given due diligence to it. Fidel Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for due diligence 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'due 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

First Known Use

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of due diligence was in 1598

Dictionary Entries Near due diligence

Cite this Entry

“Due diligence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/due%20diligence. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Legal Definition

due diligence

: such diligence as a reasonable person under the same circumstances would use : use of reasonable but not necessarily exhaustive efforts

called also reasonable diligence

Note: Due diligence is used most often in connection with the performance of a professional or fiduciary duty, or with regard to proceeding with a court action. Due care is used more often in connection with general tort actions.

: the care that a prudent person might be expected to exercise in the examination and evaluation of risks affecting a business transaction
: the process of investigation carried on usually by a disinterested third party (as an accounting or law firm) on behalf of a party contemplating a business transaction (as a corporate acquisition or merger, loan of finances, or especially purchase of securities) for the purpose of providing information with which to evaluate the advantages and risks involved
the greatest exposure…for failure to conduct adequate due diligence arises in the context of public offerings of securitiesG. M. Lawrence
: the defense (as to a lawsuit) that due diligence was conducted

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